It seems like every (fitness) influencer is announcing their pregnancy at the moment – with the lovely, Australian vlogger, Sarah’s Day, being the very latest to break her news and share her journey to the ultimate “milflife” (Congratulations Sarah!). 

As a new Mum myself, it’s amazing to have so many likeminded women in the industry who are going through a similar life stage, which is why I’ve decided to launch my very own fit Mum series just for you. 

As part of the #fitmumdiaries I’ll be speaking to some of my favourite health and fitness influencers to bring you everything from working out during pregnancy to returning to exercise postpartum. 

So to kick us off, I got in touch with the beautiful Carly Rowena, to catch up on her fit Mum (to be) journey and to help me dispel the myth that working out when pregnant can be harmful to your baby.

Carly Rowena

Welcome Carly.

I’m so excited to have you on my blog to impart some of your wisdom on my readers. You’ve been a favourite fitness influencer of mine for years now and I, along with thousands of others, can’t wait to follow your journey into motherhood.

You’ve famously exercised throughout your pregnancy and I’d love to find out a bit more about what you’ve been doing differently at the gym and how you feel about your new body and beyond…

I Crossfitted myself for years so know how brutal some of the wods can be, how have your workouts changed since you became pregnant?

I am so thankful for my CrossFit box as in all honesty I feel so supported and lucky that I am still smashing WODS at 32 weeks pregnant. To be completely honest you judge your body, your mind and the workouts daily. During trimester one I felt nauseous and light headed so kept the same weights but increased rest time, during trimester two I felt like superwoman so reduced the rest time, upped the weights but removed core movements and now in trimester three I feel much more breathless, less energy and of course my bulging bump gets in the way so most of my exercises have been scaled, no core, gymnastics or overhead heavy movements.

You’re trademark abs have become infamous online, how have you coped with the constant changes pregnancy has made to your body? 

I remember when i first found out that I was pregnant that I had a little panic about ‘who’ I was going to be on social media, not because my abs define me but because to be totally honest Im not a model, I don’t know how to pose and that body was all I’d known since being on social media so I worried that I didn’t know what my identity was going to be moving forward. I think the first trimester is hardest because you’re trying to keep it a secret, you’re permanently anxious and feel ridiculously bloated, I was so aware that someone would comment. Then once it’s public I think you’re just itching to have that first sign of a bump, I’m truly going to miss it and somedays think that perhaps I don’t want to go back to abs! 
 

carly rowena abs 

You’re a PT yourself, so what advice do you have for anyone wanting to workout during pregnancy?

Simply put, do as you always have. Once finding out I was pregnant all I did was adapt and scale the workouts I had always done, I maintained my daily dog walks and added a couple of swimming or yoga sessions as the pregnancy progressed. So if you have always ran, loved a certain class or gone to the gym keep doing it throughout your pregnancy as it will help you maintain routine, boost endorphins, mental health and of course maintain a strong, healthy body for labour. If you didn’t do any exercise prior to falling pregnant then I wouldn’t recommend starting CrossFit or marathon training, I would however book yourself into some pregnancy yoga classes or perhaps invest in a pre & postnatal qualified trainer. 
 
 
I love your 360 approach to health and fitness. 

Outside of the gym, which three things do you think have helped you to maintain a strong and healthy body throughout your pregnancy?

I’m all about functionality and for me exercise isn’t a chore, it’s as important to my day as eating, sleeping. Exercise is simply movement so if I can’t make it to my CrossFit box or to the gym I’ll go for a longer walk, park further away from my next meeting so that I can walk there or follow a routine online when I get home. Since falling pregnant I’ve definitely noticed that your back, glutes, shoulders and pelvis need a lot more love so I’ve been focusing on moving those parts as soon as I wake up and before I go to bed which I think has really helped. 

I received some negative comments about how I might be harming my baby by working out whilst pregnant, this must have been especially hard for you being online. 

How do you cope with these type of comments?

It was something I new was going to happen and to be honest it’s only 0.01% of my following yet for some reason those comments always stick with you the most. The thing is that pregnancy and motherhood is something so many people have gone through so EVERYONE has an opinion and it’s very easy to type it from behind a screen or phone. I had people telling me that I was killing my baby, that I was putting pressure on women, that all I cared about was keeping my abs, these people simply don’t know me and I just had to brush it off and focus on the positive. 
 
And finally, what are you most looking forward to about being a Mum?
 
I’m just so excited to be a kid again, i always think that children bring back your fun, carefree side and I’m so excited to be silly, switch off from social media and grow with him or her. 

Thanks Carly, I’m sure all our readers will be wishing you all the best in the final stages of your pregnancy and we can’t wait to be introduced to baby Bustin!

Did you workout during pregnancy like Carly? We’d love to hear your experience below… 

‘You’re eating for two these days’.

Growing up, when I was first starting to become conscious of my body, weight and looks, I used to think to myself, ‘man, I can’t wait to be pregnant so I can eat anything I want and not care’. Fast forward 10 years with a real life baby growing inside of me and I’ve realised that simply isn’t the case. 

Yes, I may let myself have a few more treats than I did before I was preggers, but I’m conscious that I need to be nurturing my body, and my baby, as much as possible, so aim to keep my main meals full of veggies!

Breakfast

I’ve always been a breakfast person, but these days I wake up absolutely ravenous. 

My breakfast would normally consists of a bowl of oats, mixed berries, honey and peanut butter; all consumed at my desk. But as I was working from home on this particular day, I decided to make use of the extra time by making a nutritious home cooked breakfast (it’s always nice to mix it up a bit midweek).

So for breakfast today I had a 2 egg turmeric omelette with mashed avocado mixed with lemon, salt, and chilli flakes. Accompanied with a banana, peanut butter, and nut-milk shake. 

Snack

I’d love to say that breakfast filled me up, and it did for a while, but as I had my breakfast early (around 7am) I was hungry again by 11am so I decided to make myself a little snack. 

I had an Alpro soya yoghurt, and a small tangerine (I am obsessed with all things orange at the moment, in fact, it’s the only craving I’ve had during this pregnancy).

Lunch 

Most days I have lunch already prepped, ready to pop in the microwave and go, and today was no exception.

I had a small bowl of vegetable Paella from one of my current favourite books – ReNourish. I’m hoping to do a full review of this book once I’ve read from cover to cover, but for now I’ve tried several recipes and can honestly say I love each and everyone one of them.

Some healthy eating recipes contain an insane amount of ingredients, some of which simply aren’t store cupboard friendly, but this book contains a variety of easy to make recipes. This Paella recipe in particular will last you for days, I can easily get 6 or more meals out of it.

…today I topped it off with some rocket – gotta get those greens in.

Dinner

Today we had some friends over, so ate quite late. We had another recipe from the ReNourish book – a delicious Shepherd’s pie topped with sweet potato and a side of veg. 

What I love about this book is that most of the recipes can be made with meat, or without. The Shepherd’s pie is a prime example and details the substitution. As you know I don’t eat meat, so made this with Quorn mince and lentils.

Choc O’clock! 

Before I fell pregnant I used to be quite strict with my treats, only allowing myself a square (or two) of dark chocolate during the week, but allowing myself to relax a little at the weekend.

Now I’m pregnant, I have released the chocolate fiend inside of me and allow myself to eat some everyday – without feeling guilty.

Today’s treat came in the form of a Malteser’s bunny – one of my favourites.

What do you eat in day? Do you allow yourself to have daily treats?

 
If you haven’t already guessed from the title of this post… my husband and I are expecting our first baby!! As this blog post goes live I’ll be nearly 18 weeks pregnant and counting – that makes the baby the size of a Pomegranate.
 
The last few months have been a complete and utter whirlwind. From finding out I was pregnant to my first bout of morning sickness. And finally, that all important first scan.
 
If you’ve read my latest post on writers block then this post might help to explain part of my motivational loss. For those of you who haven’t been pregnant before – the first trimester is considered the worst of the three with a high percentage of women experiencing symptoms such as sickness, nausea and tiredness.
 

Discover my top tips to surviving your first trimester below.

Learn how to beat nausea 

Nausea is a bitch. Whether it’s full on morning sickness or a nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach from morning til night. It can be the worst part of your first trimester.
 
If you’ve not suffered to date then congratulations… but if you are suffering, all is not lost. I found the following three things the most helpful.
 
– Getting something into my stomach first thing – be it a rice cake or a bowl of cereal, it can help to stave off any sickness.
– Ginger – try some ginger tea or a ginger biscuit (no-one said it had to be healthy!).
– Eating small, frequent meals. It can be hard to keep down a full meal, so to keep your blood sugar up try eating smaller meals throughout the day.

Just Eat

I had visions of being the picture of health during pregnancy – and although I’m starting to get back into a healthy routine, the first trimester didn’t quite fit my ideals.
 
I was in the ‘nauseous from noon til night’ camp and, believe it or not, eating was the only thing that brought me back to life. And by eating I don’t mean green juices or nutritious salads – I’m talking beige food, out of a bag.
 
In her book, How To Grow a Baby and Push It Out, Midwife Clemmie Hooper says that it can be ‘difficult to eat healthy foods when most of them make you gag… if you manage to get one piece of fruit or veg into your daily diet then you are doing better than most… so try not to worry too much as you’ll make up for it later in pregnancy when your body will be saying ‘I’m starving’.

Get some shut eye

You will feel tired during your first trimester, think about it, your body is going through a lot of changes. You’re making the placenta and your hormone levels and metabolism are changing each day. And don’t forget all that sickness taking away your energy resources.
 
So don’t feel guilty about getting an extra forty winks in the middle of the day or going to bed whilst it’s still light. Just listen to your body and give it what it needs.

Get moving 

Exercise might not be the top of everyone’s list – it certainly wasn’t on mine – but it’s important to keep moving throughout your first trimester. And by exercise I’m not saying you should be in the gym busting your ass in the free-weights, but you should be keeping active during the week.
 
I can count on both hands the amount of times I made it to the gym in those first 12 weeks. Instead I tried to walk as much as possible. That means at least 30 minutes walking during the week, and longer, more brisk walks with the family at the weekends (Yoga and swimming are also great forms of exercise during this period).
 
But, if you do feel up to the gym then why not. But please, make sure you consult a doctor or your midwife first and don’t take up a new exercise routine if you’re body isn’t used to it. And, the thing I’ve found most important… listen to your body!

Don’t panic  

Easier said then done, I know. Up until my scan date I was constantly paranoid (& still am even) – taking pregnancy tests on a weekly basis to reassure myself it was real; checking my toilet roll for blood every time I had a wee, and Googling my symptoms to an unhealthy level (sorry if that’s tmi, but it can be comforting to know someone is going through the same things as you).
 
Try to remind yourself that it’s normal to have some anxiety during pregnancy, especially if it’s a new experience for you. But, too much stress isn’t good for you, or the baby. So if you are worried or suffering from any unexplained symptoms then get in touch with your midwife or doctor straight away. At the very least they can help put your mind at ease or offer you an early scan to check that everything is okay.
 

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