All posts tagged pregnancy

Baby Cj’s Birth Story

Published October 30, 2014 by coachkatriel

I wasn’t afraid of labor.

I imagined that I would be walking around town and would notice some cramping and that over time, it would get more intense until I got to the 5-1-1 and I would know it was time to go to the hospital.

I wasn’t afraid of the pain. I’ve done painful things before. I worked out through my pregnancy and assumed I would labor hard for a few hours and be able to focus on my breathing and relaxing and be able to manage just fine. I had decided there was NO WAY I would have an epidural. I “knew” I could do without.

I felt ready. I felt confident. I felt anxious for it all to start.

I felt pretty cocky about it all, to be honest.

And what’s that saying? Pride comes before the fall?

So, the night before my due date, at about 10:30, I noticed a strange “trickling” sensation. I’d heard that water breaking didn’t necessarily mean a big gush so we called the hospital. They told us to come right in.

Since contractions hadn’t started, they had us walk around and bounce on a ball to see if we could get anything happen. When that didn’t work after a few hours, the nurse hooked me up to pitocin to get things going.

When the contractions started, I had Seth put counter pressure on my lower back and I’d breathe slowly and calmly. That worked fine for awhile, but as they raised the amount of pitocin, the contractions got increasingly more intense. I felt like my body was being torn to pieces. It felt like the contractions were coming each one on top of the last and getting progressively worse. Contractions that painful HAD to be making a huge difference. I HAD to be almost there. According to all the books I’ve read and everything I’d heard, when the pain starts to get so bad that you don’t think you could it anymore, that meant you were almost there.


After 11 hours on pitocin, I was dilated to a three.

A three.

For those who don’t know, you’re supposed to get to a ten before the baby can come out. Which means the amount of pain I was in then was just going to get a lot worse.

I was completely emotionally and physically fatigued. I felt defeated. There was no way I could keep going.

I felt like my body was failing me, that I was failing my body, but the doctor basically said I could have epidural then or need surgery later, that if I kept forcing my body to endure that level of pain without relief, I would wear it out and we would have to have a c-section. I’d heard so many horror stories about the epidural and am terrified of needles. But my doctor said it would give me the best chance of having an uncomplicated delivery which would be what was best for my baby girl.

They placed the epidural at about 4:00 in the afternoon. And after all the monitors and sensors and things were in place, I was able to sleep for two fabulous hours. At 6:30pm, there was a shift change for the nurses and when the new nurse came in she said that one way or another, I would have a baby on her shift. Which was true-I had 4 hours left to be ready to push since my broken water meant I had a 24 hour time cap. I was at a four when she checked me at 6:30, and had progressed to a ten three hours later. I felt so blessed that the epidural had been placed well so I wasn’t in pain and that the epidural hadn’t slowed progress at all and that my sweet girl’s heart rate stayed perfect the whole time.

We started pushing at 10:00, and even though I had no sensation down there to tell if I was pushing effectively, my nurse told me I was a champion and that my strength training was paying off. My beautiful daughter was born at 10:42pm, healthy and beautiful with a full head of dark hair.

My Beautiful Little Girl

My Beautiful Little Girl

Holding her for the first time was incredible. I have such love for her already and love seeing my husband be a daddy as well. And when I try to be bitter about my birth experience not going the way I’d planned, I look at this beautiful girl snuggling on my chest and know that my birth experience was perfect because it brought me my baby. She’s so sweet and so precious and she came into the world according to God’s plan. I don’t know why it had to happen the way it did. Maybe because I needed to learn to not be so prideful or to learn to trust God better. Mostly I feel grateful for that last nurse for being so positive and encouraging, and to the rest of the hospital staff for taking such good care of both of us. I feel grateful for my family members and friends who send me their positive thoughts and prayers. I’m grateful for my husband for standing by me and being there for me-I know it wasn’t an easy day for him either. I’m grateful for my Heavenly Father for His hand in keeping us both safe and for giving me the most special little girl to love forever.

It’s been three weeks since she was born and we are both doing great. In three more weeks, when I get the go ahead from my doctor, I’m going to share with you all my journey as I work back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ll get back into blogging more consistently then. For now, I’m going to keep enjoying my bonding and recovery time with my sweet girl.


Thoughts at 21 weeks

Published May 30, 2014 by coachkatriel

I’ve been really, really, really lucky and blessed with this pregnancy so far.
For one, we got pregnant really quickly after we started trying.
For two, the doctor’s never had any trouble finding our baby’s heart beat.
For three, at the ultrasound, baby was progressing properly and normally and had all her parts and pieces where they needed to be. I follow a lot of different blogs and talk to a lot of different people, and I know that those things alone make this pregnancy an abnormally smooth one. There have definitely been some difficulties that I hadn’t anticipated, but I still count myself as incredibly blessed.

I know this sounds super cheesy, but I am so grateful for the miracle that is life. What started as a couple cells has grown into a fetus with 5 fingers on each hand and two perfectly adorable little shins that make me giggle with excitement every time I watch the ultrasound video.

I’ve been grateful for this second trimester to have been able to get my workouts in. With my strength work, I listen to my body and stop before I feel like I’m straining and definitely stop before my form collapses. With my conditioning work, I try to give it my best while still incorporating lots of rest and drinking lots of water. It’s sometimes hard to not get too competitive during my workouts and to not get embarrassed on the days when I come in last place. I have to remind myself sometimes that it’s NOT ABOUT ME and it’s definitely not about my pride right now. It’s about trying to be healthy in preparation for childbirth and to keep my baby girl healthy as well.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a great job with the nutrition. It’s been really hard for me to get back into a good routine with my nutrition after feeling dreadfully awful my whole first trimester. I’ve struggled to find a healthy balance and have definitely overdone the free meals. And because I’ve been eating what I feel like when I feel like it, my weight gain in this first half of pregnancy has been pretty terrifying. I faced the scale for the first time in 3 months on Wednesday, and I broke down and cried. I’m so over that now and back to watching my intake-not restricting my calories because I know I’ve got to give my baby what she needs to grow, but also trying not to go overboard with my intake. Really trying to focus on having more vegetables and protein and drinking lots and lots of water as well.

Even if you’re not pregnant, I recommend tracking everything you eat for 1 week. I logged onto my personal account on myfitnesspal today for the first time in…I have no idea how long…and I logged every bite I’ve put in my mouth today. From where I’d ESTIMATED my intake had been to where it ACTUALLY was after two meals, I was about 500 calories off, and that’s with just two meals. So if you’re struggling in anyway with your weight and not sure what’s going on, log your food!

So grateful for the opportunity I’ve had so far to experience pregnancy and praying for things to continue going as smoothly as they have been! I know what I need to do to improve and am looking forward to the next months!

CrossFit While Pregnant

Published April 22, 2014 by coachkatriel

I took an English class this semester and was asked for my final to write a 6-8 page paper about a research topic of my choosing. I chose to write about CrossFitting while pregnant and thought I’d share my findings and research with you here in hopes that something I learned might help someone else!

CrossFit While Pregnant

CrossFit is a training methodology that uses constantly varied, functional movements, executed at a high intensity to increase the capacity to do work across broad time and modal domains (Glassman). I found CrossFit a little over three years ago while looking for something that could help me to improve my self confidence and health. Through training CrossFit regularly, I have been able to become fitter, leaner, healthier, and happier. Through CrossFit, I also began coaching and helping other people to achieve their goals. One question I am asked fairly often is whether or not a woman should continue participating in CrossFit when she becomes pregnant or what exercise is best for pregnant women. Two months ago I found out that I am pregnant and this question of how I should proceed with exercise during my pregnancy has been at the forefront of my mind. As I’ve been doing this research, I have thought of all those who have been asking me this question and who I think might be asking this question in the future and chose to write this paper as the answer. I am of the opinion that women should continue with whatever exercise program they were doing prior to becoming pregnant, modifying as necessary to accommodate their new shape, weight and energy levels as those things change throughout pregnancy. I encourage all women to speak with their doctor as early as possible after finding out about pregnancy in case there are any concerns given their specific situation. In this paper, I will address some exercise related concerns as it pertains to pregnancy and go over some solutions and benefits as found in my research.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to serious health problems for both mother and infant including gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, etc. Regularly preformed physical activity can reduce the incidence of these concerns. While originally 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week was the general recommendation for low-risk pregnant women established by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, now many suggest that higher intensity vigorous exercise, can more effectively help to manage and reduce weight as well as build and maintain the muscle mass which is critical if one hopes to not suffer from a slowing metabolism. In a study reported in the Journal Of Physical Activity & Health in 2013, pregnancy practices associated with healthy weight gain were identified. This study concluded that regular exercise alone wasn’t necessarily associated with normal pregnancy weight gain, but that staying active during the day and following a healthy eating pattern had more of an association (Cohen, 1003).  It has also been suggested that “the duration of labour is inversely associated with aerobic capacity” (Zavorsky, 347). Kat Grosshaupt, co-founder of, CrossFit coach, doula, and birthing instructor shared her thoughts on CrossFit during pregnancy in an article for the Huffington Post. She noted that the labor times for the CrossFit Moms she worked with were all extremely short and relatively easy. She went on to say, “In all the births I’ve attended I’ve noticed CrossFit Moms having a great deal of stamina, mental focus and endurance, and with all the squats we do- – shorter pushing times. Oh and let’s not forget recovery. CrossFit moms have shorter, easier recoveries.” (Grosshaupt)  Women who would like to have a healthy pregnancy, shorter labor, and a quicker return to their pre-partum weight, participating in CrossFit, staying active during the day, and following a healthy pattern of eating would be critical for this to happen.

When I spoke with my doctor about exercise during pregnancy, she encouraged me to continue with the level of intensity I had been exercising at before becoming pregnant, but just to make sure I stayed well hydrated throughout the day and particularly so during and after exercise as well as to stop if anything felt uncomfortable. The research I have done supports this recommendation. According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, doctors used to err on the side of caution for pregnant women because of the lack of research done. However, “numerous scientific studies have shown no correlation between moderate or even vigorous exercise and miscarriage or pregnancy-related complications. In fact, ACOG says if a woman is accustomed to vigorous exercise, she can continue to do it as long as she feels okay.” (as quoted by Grosshaupt)

One potential risk of exercise in pregnancy could be cardiac related. People who exercise regularly tend to have a lower baseline risk of heart attacks during exercise and the relative risk of sudden cardiac arrests during exercise only occurs once in approximately ever 565000 hours of exercise for people without known heart disease. In terms of cardiovascular health, even for previously sedentary pregnant women, the benefits of increasing physical activity outweigh the risks of myocardial infarction (Zavorsky 351).

Another potential risk of exercise training is low birth weight or higher risk of preterm birth. However, high intensity exercise during trimesters one and two does not affect birthweight but high intensity exercise during the third trimester could attribute to a 200-400g decrease in birthweight. (Zavorsky) A more recent study has come out to show that there is really no meaningful difference between infant birthweight for women who exercise and women who don’t. (Zavorsky) Regarding preterm birth, there have been several studies done that relate an actual decreased risk of preterm birth for women who do exercise (Zavorsky 352).  One study in particular showed that physical activity was not associated with late preterm birth or hospitalizations and that it was associated with decreased odds of cesarean delivery (Tinly, e103).  Another study concluded that the association between birth weight and metabolic disease is lost in physically fit individuals and that the association between low birth weight and metabolic syndrome is accentuated in unfit individuals. (Siebel) It also showed that exercise during pregnancy doesn’t adversely impact birth weight, but that it can help reduce the risk of abnormally low or high birth weight (Siebel, 948).

While women with high-risk pregnancies may sometimes be encouraged to remain inactive during their pregnancy, a study done three years ago proved that bed ridden pregnant women can still participate in an exercise program. This study used resistance bands as part of a supervised exercise program and there was no statistical difference in heart rate, blood pressure, or uterine contractions during or after exercise in comparison to the women who did not exercise during pregnancy. According to this study, women with high-risk pregnancies can engage in supervised exercise program and experience some physiological benefits with minimal risks to mother and baby (Brun, 582). These findings were interesting to me because the findings of these studies seem to consistently indicate that exercise is the answer and can actually help to avoid the concerns that previously people thought were linked to exercise.

A third risk of exercise is the association between exercise and fetal health. I heard a lot about this during my first couple weeks of pregnancy, how higher intensity exercise could potentially compromise the blood and nutrient flow to the uterus. There are many mechanisms in place to prevent this from happening. There may be modest changes in the uterine blood flow during and shortly after exercise but the body corrects that by 5 minutes after exercise (Zavorsky 352). That study would suggest that occasional high intensity exercise won’t hurt the baby as long as it is of moderate duration. This article didn’t specify what an acceptable duration would be, which leads me to go back to the advice from my doctor: if my body is used to it already, I can do it, but if something feels uncomfortable, back it off and make sure I am staying hydrated.

According to research preformed in 2013, in addition to the benefits already mentioned, exercise also helps pregnant women avoid low-back pain as well as depression during and after pregnancy. In the study referenced, only 14.6% of the participants actually followed the exercise recommendations during pregnancy. The study also found that the more educated a woman, the more exercise she performed during her pregnancy (Gjestland, 515).  After reading this, as well as the other articles mentioned throughout this paper, I feel even more that it is important for me to share the information I’ve learned about exercising during pregnancy.

CrossFit during pregnancy is particularly beneficial because it is adaptable by nature. According to, “The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience … We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart conditions and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs … The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind.” (Glassman) A woman’s body will go through many changes during pregnancy and CrossFit is designed to be scaleable and adaptable in order to meet each individual’s needs. According to Grosshaupt, “This “issue” of whether CrossFit is safe or not if moms are harming their babies and putting them at risk has about 50 percent to do with exercise itself, but it also has to do with, in my very vocal opinion, trusting that women know what they are doing with regard to their bodies.” (Grosshaupt). Women who would like to have a healthy pregnancy should begin or continue a regular exercise program before becoming pregnant if possible. Ideally, CrossFit is an excellent program to start in order to ideally prepare the body for the demands of labor and delivery. Listen to your body and trust your instincts. Modify as necessary to accommodate your changing body. Rest when needed and drink plenty of water. If already pregnant and currently physically inactive, slowly increase your physical activity throughout the day and speak with your doctor about how best to begin an exercise program.


Works Cited

Barakat, Ruben, et al. “Exercise During Pregnancy And Gestational Diabetes-Related Adverse Effects: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” British Journal Of Sports Medicine 47.10 (2013): 1-7. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014

Brun, Chantale R., et al. “Bed-Rest Exercise, Activity Restriction, And High-Risk Pregnancies: A Feasibility Study.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism 36.4 (2011): 577-582. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Cohen, Tamara R., Hugues Plourde, and Kristine G. Koski. “Use Of The Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) To Identify Behaviors Associated With Appropriate Gestational Weight Gain During Pregnancy.” Journal Of Physical Activity & Health 10.7 (2013): 1000-1007. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Gaston, Anca, Anita Grace Cramp and Harry Prapavessis. “Pregnancy—Should Women Put Up Their Feet Or Lace Up Their Running Shoes?: Self-Presentation And The Exercise Stereotype Phenomenon During Pregnancy.” Journal Of Sport & Exercise Psychology 34.2 (2012): 223-237. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Gjestland, Kristin, “Do Pregnant Women Follow Exercise Guidelines? Prevalanece Data Among 3482 Women, And Prediction Of Low-Back Pain, Pelvic Girdle Pain And Depression.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 47.8 (2013): 515-520. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Grosshaupt, Kat. “In Defense of Pregnant CrossFitting.”Huffington Post. (2013): n. page. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <;.

Glassman, Greg. “What is CrossFit.” (2003):n. page. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <;.

Hammer, RL, J Perkins, and R Parr. “Exercise During The Childbearing Year.” Journal Of Perinatal Education 9.1 (2000): 1-13 CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Melzer, K, et al. “Physical Activity And Pregnancy: Cardiovascular Adaptations, Recommendations And Pregnancy Outcomes.” Sports Medicine 40.6 (2010): 493-507. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Siebel, Andrew L., Andrew L Carey, and Bronwyn A Kingwell. “Can Exercise Training Rescue The Adverse Cardiometabolic Effects Of Low Birth Weight And Prematurity?.” Clinical & Experimental Pharmacoogy & Physiology 39.11 (2012): 944-957. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Tinloy, Jennifer, et al. “Exercise During Pregnancy And Risk Of Late Preterm Birth, Cesarean Delivery, And Hospitalizations.” Women’s Health Issues 24.1 (2014): e99-e104. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.  Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Zavorsky, Gerald S., and Lawrence D. Longo. “Exercise Guidelines In Pregnancy.” Sports Medicine 41.5 (2011): 345-360. SportDiscus with Full Text. Web. 16 Mar. 2014

Strong is the New Pregnant

Published April 8, 2014 by coachkatriel

A little over three months ago when my husband and I were getting home from hanging out with his brother and sister on a Sunday night he said to me, “I’ve been thinking, we should start trying for a baby.” And I waited a moment to see if he was kidding. He wasn’t. I’m pretty sure he told everyone at the gym about it too the very next day,  made it feel even more real to me.

And then, about a week and a half before my period was due, I couldn’t wait any longer and took a pregnancy test. The pregnancy test said no baby. The one I took the next day in the morning agreed. I was a little bit of a wreck. I’ve wanted a baby for so long and was worried that if we didn’t get pregnant this time, that we’d end up postponing it and it wouldn’t happen for a long time.

A week later, I started feeling some “symptoms”…you know, tender boobs, some headaches, fatigue, bloating…all those symptoms meant one of two things: Either I was pregnant or about to start my period. I wanted to wait until after I’d officially missed my period to take another test, and the day I thought it would come, nothing had happened yet.

I’d ordered some pictures to hang up in my cubicle to be picked up at Walgreens and while I drove over there, I thought I’d just pick up one of the early response pregnancy tests to see if I could find out. I couldn’t get home fast enough.

I stared at the Pregnancy test for so long without blinking that at first I thought I was seeing the blue line because I was willing it to be there. But after blinking a couple times, I could see it clearly. It was pretty faint, but it was definitely there, staring at me, telling me something exciting is happening inside my body.

So here I am today, feeling pretty much just as dazed and excited and nervous as I did when I saw that first little blue line.

Assuming all goes well and this pregnancy sticks, my body is about to undergo a lot of changes. My body is no longer just my own, and now there’s a tiny little elbow macaroni shaped sesame seed sized organism that is depending on me for life. I talk often to my clients about how the human body is an amazing thing and is capable of so much and the more I’m reading in my birth books, the more amazed I am with the female body in particular. There is so much that has to go right in order for a person to come out with all the right parts with everything working. When I think about how the things I am eating are the raw materials that my baby is being built out of, it  makes me think twice about what I am putting in my mouth.

I’m accepting the fact that 2014 isn’t the year I’m going to deadlift 350. It’s not the year where I get those six pack abs. I’ll probably lose my spot on the leaderboard for a lot of my lifts and workouts. And that’s okay, because the next year of my life isn’t about me. It’s about this life I’m trying to help create.

I’ve had a rough start with feeling sick and feeling tired and with mad cravings for everything chocolate and processed. I talked with my mom the other day about writing my vision statement for my pregnancy to help motivate me to exercise and eat healthy even when I really don’t want to.

The thought that came to my mind was “Strong is the NEW Pregnant”. I want to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong because I think those are traits that will help me throughout my pregnancy, through childbirth, and through raising a child. I wrote that statement up on my white board at work and I’ll probably write it up on my bathroom mirror at home and use that to structure my choices and behaviors going into these next 6 months. I want to be strong in those areas, and in order to be strong in those areas I have to make the choices to strengthen me in those areas. One of those choices is going to be making it to the gym tonight even though the workout is not one that plays to my strengths at all. Strong is my new pregnant.