First Trimester

Intro to ‘My Pregnancy & Pole Dance Diary’

Firstly I would like to point out that I am not a Doctor, or of the medical profession. This is not a medical journal and in this diary I am in no way recommending that other women (whether they do or do not pole) continue their activities in the way that I have.

I simply want to share my pregnancy experiences in an honest blog/diary as reference for other possible pregnant women – who pole dance.

I found a lot of the advice from books and various people very confusing, and very little information about my particular situation, which as the popularity of pole dancing grows will become a greater concern over time I have no doubt.

A little bit about me and my fitness background….

I have been pole dancing for about 4 years now, in the beginning it was barely even once a week, then I started regular lessons, and once I started teaching it went up to three times a week, every week, for about two or three years. So by the time I found out I was pregnant, my body was already quite conditioned to pole dance fitness, the ONLY reason I decided it would be even remotely sane to continue throughout pregnancy.

I never planned for a baby; I’m not the most maternal type. Whenever people have handed me a child I’d hold it at arms length and stare at it, not really knowing what to do! I love puppies, hand me a puppy and I’ll go all mushy and try to squish it into my face and play with it but babies….I just don’t get them. So this has been a very emotional journey for me, and a huge learning curve.

I had been off the pill for a year an a half for medical reasons, so my fiancée and I had tried to be extra careful…..but one slipped through the net! So you can imagine how ‘surprised’ I was to find out I was pregnant!

This is my first time, and I have probably done all sorts wrong, but it’s the truth none the less and I hope it provides some use to someone.

I have divided it into 3 sections (The Three Trimesters) and then three sections again – 4 weeks at a time. I have also included some information about what happens to your body each week, taken from www.babycentre.co.uk which I found to be a VERY useful site, particularly the foetal development section.

** 2017 UPDATE **  The lovely people at Ultrasound Dimensions got in touch with me after reading this blog, and offered me a link to this amazing video they created to show exactly what happens on the inside of your body throughout the course of ’40 Weeks in the Womb’, using the latest scanning techniques … and I must say – it’s bloody fascinating!  So here it is …

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First Trimester

Weeks 1-4 – How Can you tell?

It took over 4 weeks before I knew really so I don’t have much to report for this section, but I’ll tell you how it all started.

I had really STINGY boobs straight away, now they get sensitive normally every month anyway so I just passed this off for weeks….until they got bigger too. I was very pleased with myself! I also needed to wee – A LOT. So I thought maybe I should do a test, just in case.

I want to clear up for the record, pregnancy tests kits are not as straight forward to read as you might think! I did one, it showed a strong vertical line and a very faint horizontal line….now a strong HORIZONTAL line means ‘not pregnant’ and a clear cross means ‘pregnant’….well what the hell was I? The horizontal line was so faint it looked like it could just be a seeping stain, not an obvious mark. I did another test, sure that it would show a negative result…….SAME THING!

So I did the only thing I could think of…..phoned a friend. My best friend couldn’t tell, my sister came round; my Mum….we all stood around it scratching our heads – no idea what it meant. We collectively decided that I should get a digital one that actually says in writing ‘Pregnant’ AND how many weeks gone.

Hmmmm….. Well it was definitely a positive result, and 3+ weeks gone indicator – which means it could be anything between 3 and 5 weeks already!

I instantly crapped myself and tried to come to terms with the idea. ‘I’m – not – ready’ was my first thought. Quickly followed by ‘Oh-My-God-what-about-pole?!’. Pole to me, is not just my fitness regime, but it is also my hobby and my job too! So in case you were thinking I am being a bit dramatic, this is why!

So I sat down and had a cry. And a cigarette…then I cried that I had had a cigarette whilst pregnant! I started thinking about all the things I had done in the last few weeks, smoked, ate junk, ate shellfish and peanuts, flung myself upside down for hours, trained until I felt like collapsing, smoked some more!

But then I thought about it…..I’m nearly 30, that’s a good age to have a child, I was in a stable 5 year relationship, we lived together in a stable home, had bedrooms to spare, the business was just starting to take off, I work from home and manage my own time during the day, have lots of family and friends support……..Actually, everything was perfect. But I worried about pole.

Exercise guidelines for previously athletic people – taken from www.babycentre.co.uk

It may seem an odd time but in fact it’s a great idea to start an exercise routine now. Exercise helps you develop good muscle tone, strength and endurance. It helps you manage the extra weight you’ll put on (or prevent you putting to much more on if you’re already overweight), gets you fit for labour – and makes getting your figure back after birth easier too. Choose a safe, moderately vigorous activity you enjoy: walking and swimming are fine when you’re pregnant.
You might also want to do some easy yoga stretches – there are special classes adapted for pregnancy. Make sure the exercise instructors who teach you are qualified to instruct pregnant women and, if it isn’t a class specifically for pregnancy, let the instructor know that you are pregnant. Know your limits and make sure you don’t overdo it if you are new to exercise. If you are a bit of an athlete normally, we also have some tips for you…..

The fact that you were so fit before becoming pregnant may mean you can carry on exercising in a similar way. But before you start lifting weights or signing up for aerobics classes, talk through your routine with your doctor, midwife or a physiotherapist.

Try to lower the intensity of your routine. Now that you’re pregnant, your body will use up more oxygen. Although you’ll breathe more deeply, there’ll be less oxygen available to your body for aerobic exercise. As long as you can talk during your workout and do not feel out of breath, it’s probably about right for you.

Weight training is thought to be safe during pregnancy if you take care not to lift heavy weights. Aim to maintain muscle tone rather than building muscle bulk. As a rule, go for lighter weights and more repetitions (reps) rather than a few reps of heavy weights.

Towards the end of your pregnancy it’s best to stop weight lifting and try a different form of exercise. The type of muscle activity used in weight lifting may raise your blood pressure, because it forces your heart to pump harder to circulate blood through your system (Van hook 1993).

No matter how fit or active you were before becoming pregnant, it’s best to stick to low-impact aerobics during pregnancy. High-impact exercise, which involves a lot of jumping, hopping and running, may put too much of a strain on your body.

There are a few basic guidelines which you and other pregnant women can follow:

Carry on with exercise but stick to mild to moderate exercise routines. It’s best to exercise about three times a week.
However sporty you are, you still need to look after your pelvic floor. Running or any type of vigorous sport where you’re on your feet, such as tennis or badminton, can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to you leaking a little urine, or stress incontinence. Keep doing your pelvic floor exercises regularly. Do them before, during and after exercise.
Stop exercising when you’re tired. You may find that you’re able to carry on doing weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and low-impact aerobics throughout your pregnancy. However, some women find that non-weight-bearing exercise, such as swimming, easier.
You need about 200 extra calories a day during the third trimester, so if you’re exercising, remember to eat well. Pregnant women use up more carbohydrates during exercise than women who aren’t pregnant. So you’ll need to eat plenty of carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, pasta and potatoes, if you’re exercising often.
Make sure that you don’t lie flat on your back for a long time when exercising, particularly after the first trimester. Lying on your back may reduce the supply of blood to your uterus (womb) and make you feel dizzy or faint.
Stay cool when exercising. Drink enough water, wear light exercise clothes, and don’t work out in hot, humid conditions.
Don’t do exercise that risks you getting a blow to the stomach. This could include tennis and squash.
Don’t do exercises in which you could lose your balance, especially in the third trimester.
After your baby is born, get back to your pre-pregnancy exercise routine gradually. Talk to an exercise teacher or physiotherapist. You may even want to use a personal trainer who is an expert in exercise for pregnant women and new mums.

Weeks 5-8 – What about pole?!

So – I asked my GP (who was my first point of contact), she told me that as I am an exercise professional and do pole dance on a regular basis, there’s no reason why I should stop unless my body tells me to. In fact, it is generally encouraged that women who exercise continue to exercise as it promotes an easier birth, but it is not recommended to START a new exercise regime if you don’t already, or increase the intensity/difficulty of what you currently do.

My midwife pretty much said the same thing, although they BOTH advised me to take it easy if possible in the first 12 weeks so the baby can become well embedded in the womb.

As I talked to more people about it I started to learn just how thickly shrouded in superstition being pregnant was. People told me…

* DON’T exercise AT ALL, take it easy.
* Exercise away – just be normal.
* Never go upside down.
* Go upside down – it doesn’t make a difference – just don’t fall!
* If you fall, it will die!
* If you get kicked, it will die!
* If you fall – it will be fine as it is so protected, but go get checked out anyway.
* Won’t you be too big anyway?
* Won’t you be too heavy?
* DON’T do high impact.
* Carry on as you are.

 

Pfft….so much conflicting stuff, my head was spinning! Also, I had planned and paid for a pole photo shoot to be done in week 8 which COULD NOT be cancelled, apart from the sickness I looked and felt totally normal to do it, but I was so scared that it might be so dangerous…things were looking really ropey! So I took the reigns and decided to speak to another professional in the field of a different kind.

(The above picture is from the photo shoot, you can still see my abs at 8 weeks pregnent!).

Katie Coates was the only woman in pole at the time who had had a very ‘public’ pole-baby (so to speak). She ‘broke’ all the ‘rules’ and did as she saw fit….and gave birth to a VERY healthy little girl after teaching pole, becoming a body builder AND doing various performances.

Katie was very honest with me and she also told me that she had had several women with the same concerns as me call her in the last few months…….that’s what helped me decide to do this diary.

As a pole dancer and fitness professional, it’s VERY hard to accept that your body will be going through so much drastic changes, the thought of putting weight on was upsetting, the thought of getting too heavy to pole, loosing my flexibility, my training going backwards, loosing my strength and ability, not being able to take all the polling opportunities that I really wanted to……it was soul destroying.

But Katie put me at ease and gave me her opinion and told me of her experience, after which I decided on a plan!

I decided that during the first 12 weeks, apart from the photo shoot, I would take it easy as suggested by health professionals – luckily that first 12 weeks fell on the Christmas close down period anyway so I had the whole of the next 8 weeks to do nothing and stuff myself with food anyway!

When classes start back again in the new year I would be only just entering the second Trimester and be ‘medically allowed’ to exercise as I normally would – so I decided to go back to teaching 3 times a week, doing all levels of difficulty as normal – until I started to get bigger and feel off balance or unsafe.

As soon as that happens, I would continue to only teach beginner level myself and employ experienced help for the more difficult lessons.

Around the time of birth, I would slow lessons to a stop, take a short amount of time off for recovery, and then ease back into things as I felt safe to. That was my plan.

This trimester I also got about a million colds – colds when you’re pregnant are the WORST, if someone close to you has a sniffle, you catch it immediately – only it morphs into a mega cold, and what’s even more sad is, you can’t even take anything to speed up your recovery!

Body & Baby Info:

5 Weeks Pregnant

6 Weeks Pregnant

7 Weeks Pregnant

8 Weeks Pregnant

Weeks 9-12 – Pole Withdrawal Misery

What I didn’t budget for was the sickness……OH MY GOOOOOD! The sickness!

I’m lucky that I’m not much of a puker, but oh my word the ‘Morning sickness’ feeling I had lasted ALL DAY, and ALL NIGHT! I felt constantly sea sick and couldn’t eat a thing without my tummy turning. It feels like that stage of a hangover where it’s 4pm in the afternoon and you think to yourself…’I should eat something but I have no idea what I can hold down’…..I felt like this until week 10, then it was reduced to every OTHER day.

I was so tired too – I felt utterly wiped out all of the time and slept for on average 14 hours a day, and it still didn’t feel like enough.

So I spent most of the first 4 weeks indoors, too sick and tired to do anything, go anywhere, or eat well…. I CERTAINLY didn’t want to exercise and I was MISERABLE!

About that time Deb Riley opened up her studio with a huge show – including trollyfulls of performances and masterclasses from famous pole dancers like Jenyne Butterfly, Elena Gibson , Sally Ann Giles , Alesia Vazmitzel, Miss Glory Pearl , Tracey Simmonds, Chantelle Pritchard , Jannine Wilkering , Sasha Kavaleva, Bridgette Sachil and Sabrina Pankow.

I cried that I couldn’t go.

I wanted to work on my stretching so badly but it’s dangerous to stretch without first warming up the joints with some cardio – and the thought of moving that much made me green.

FINALLY, by the end of the first trimester, I started to feel a bit better – and began to eat more. I felt so happy that I could do things again and eat normally that I went overboard! And got BIG within a week!

So in the last week – I went for my first scan to find out EXACTLY how far gone I was and see if the baby was alive and kicking still – that’s all I was arsed about. Read on to the ‘Second Trimester’ to see the result…

Body & Baby Info:

9 Weeks Pregnant

10 Weeks Pregnant

11 Weeks Pregnant

12 Weeks Pregnant

Recommendations Bit:

* Orange Juice – At this stage, orange juice was the only thing I could face and to be honest it tasted like the most beautiful thing in the world. I drank buckets of it, and when I was feeling a bit like I had drank it too much, I switched to Del Monte pure orange ice lollies!

* Travel Sickness Bands – Being as you can’t take the tablets, most people swear by these.

13 thoughts on “First Trimester

  1. That was absolutely AWESOME! I know I’ve been pregnant before but it was totally different the first time, no sickness, nothing. This time, apart from not having seen my abs in months, I’m suffering exactly the same sickness and tiredness right down to the orange juice! I also had the exact same concerns. Thanks so much for making me feel much MUCH better 🙂 PK xxx

    1. Ah I’m glad it’s been useful to someone so far!
      Just as a precaution again – Please don’t follow this blog as a recommendation of how YOU should carry out your pregnancy. It’s not meant to be advisary. I broke a lot of rules in my pregnancy, and pole dance exercise whilst pregnant is very taboo, very un-tested, and I have probably done everything wrong. In fact if there was a diary on how NOT to behave whilst pregnant – this might be it!
      BUT…
      We are not cripples (the whole time at least) and we have jobs to do and some previous fitness history, muscle memory, good health and all that jazz so it’s not too ‘dangerous’ to continue as you are for as long as you can – as I was advised – just KNOW YOUR LIMITS and as soon as the though of quitting enters you mind, DO IT. Also, know when you are taking on too much, and ask for help, cut out anything you could do without and eat well!

      Oh and with the sickness – the trick is to eat – eventhough it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Eat just little bits or whatever you think you could handle – dry toast or dighestive biscuits are good if you can’t face a thing. Eating a little SOMETHING keeps the sickness at bay. And…. it won’t last forever….

      🙂

  2. 15 weeks pregnant here and I just lost my shoulder mount. I just cant lift all this weight anymore. I am beyond devastated! In your experience, are moves which you’ve neglected during pregnancy hard to “get back” afterward?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I guess it would depend on whether it was something you struggled like hell with in the first place.
      I took 2 months off straight after giving birth – I just couldn’t be arsed, pole was the least of my worries at the time!
      I started to teach beginner level again (assisted) in month 3. I didn’t hop on the pole for myself until month 4 and even then it was basic stuff, but month 5 is when I started to tackle the old nasties like shoulder mount and hand spring.
      I can tell you that it will take less time to get it back than it did to learn – that’s for sure. I got the shoulder mount back after about 2 weeks of practising (in month 5), but it was messy, not graceful, not controlled, just alley-oop! The handspring took longer – I think I was into month 6 when I got that back and it was still 1 in 3 tries for a while. Again it was messy and wobbly to start off with but it took me 2 or 3 years to learn it in the first place! So to have it back after a month or two’s practising was really good going for me.

      So I guess if we were going to write a basic rule of thumb for now, it would be:

      If it took you 1 year to get, it will take 1 month to regain – but ONLY when you are fully recovered and have control of everything below it.
      If it took 2 years to learn, 2 months of solid practise and it should come back to how it was etc….

      Total guesstimates of course but hey …. if it helps….

  3. Thank you for the reassurance! My shoulder mount was not a struggle to learn, but has always been a struggle to do with much control. I still rely on a good alley-oop to get me up, although once I’m up, I can hold a good, solid V ( or could, until now!).
    Also, seeing what you are able to do and knowing it took you awhile to get your handspring is reassuring as well…I’ve been working on mine for 8 months and still haven’t nailed it! For now I’ll take a break from the shoulder mount and focus on other, safer moves that aren’t yet compromised by my pregnancy! Thank you so much for your response! It was very reassuring!

    1. I would also say though – Don’t make big plans to make a muscle mad comeback in record timing. I had it all planned out. I figured because I pole and it keeps me in shape that the weight would come off quicker and easier than most people etc…. NOT TRUE!
      The thing is, if you are ALREADY conditioned to pole, and you train say 3 times a week, after recovery, if you go back to 3 times a week on the pole again – you THINK after a short time you’ll be right back to where you were, with pole being so demanding n all – THIS IS A LIE. All you’ll do by training in your normal way is MAINTAIN the flab you have. You need to work TWICE AS HARD to shift it, like any normal Mum I’m afraid, it might even be harder for us because we are already conditioned to working out a certain amount.
      BUT – Of course, training 6 times a week to shift the weight not long after having a baby is madness, and could do you more harm than good. So don’t stress yourself out by making all these plans to train and get rock solid again, it’s gonna be a slow process and yunno what – THAT’S THE BEST IDEA – EMBRACE IT.
      I only know of 2 ladies in pole that have got their bodies back within a year of giving birth – but they both went through hell to get there and worked incredibly hard. I don’t believe what they did was particularly damaging, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for everybody.
      So don’t pressure yourself, hold onto those curves for just a bit longer, embrace the idea that gradual is best and enjoy coming back to pole at a relaxed and manageable pace – you don’t have to be superwoman, and you’re not a failure if the weight doesn’t fly off you, or if you can’t get your moves looking the way they did within a few weeks!

      Look after yourself xxx

  4. Thanks so much for this really helpful blog and for all your advice. After really carefully considering everything you’ve said, looking at other information on the internet and talking with my pole teacher, we’ve now worked out a plan and I’m feeling much better about gradually cutting back on pole. The information on here made me realise the importance of telling my pole teacher (even though I was scared she would ask me to stop coming to class) and of taking things easy at this key stage. It was also really encouraging to hear about someone else’s experiences as I was feeling pretty alone in my dilemmas and my doctor just didn’t understand what this sport involves and how tough it is on your body (despite me trying to explain). Thanks again! xx

    1. Hi Helen,

      You’re very welcome, and thank you for the kind comments.
      You’re welcome to stay in touch with me if you feel you need to throughout your pregnancy, anytime.
      Good luck with life, pole and EVERYTHING!

      XXX

  5. Hi, just wanted to say a BIG thank you for posting this diary entry. My boyfriend really wants a baby and I was wondering how on earth I could give up pole for 9 months !! Now I know I dont have to 🙂 x

  6. wow thanks me and my husband were thinking about trying for another baby,but i have been putting the idea of as i didn’t want to give up pole !xx

  7. Pole Dance and pregnancy is really a difficult thing. I would stop training if i would get a baby. But love pole dancing and so i will wait a few years.
    Sorry for my bad english but i come from germany and have just found your website and blog. I like it very much.

    Best wishes
    Jean Pole

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