Therese’s Baby on Board: Namaste in shape

Reporter: Therese O'Shea
Published: Updated:

Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad.

That is – if you can still breathe easily.

It’s getting more and more difficult by the day as this little guy continues to share my breath and crowd my lungs.

Now that we’ve passed the 32-week mark, it really feels like we’re in the home stretch. I can’t imagine how much of a “home stretch” it will feel like when we’re down to the last five, four or even three weeks.

The only time I can remember feeling a similar sense of anticipation was leading up to my wedding day, which I can’t believe was just about eight months ago. But nothing has tested my patience like waiting for the biggest little thing to enter our world thus far.

The past 32-plus weeks have been spent painting walls, building a crib, assembling a Pack N’ Play, and now trying to figure out how to install a car seat. But I’ve also spent quite some time trying to stay healthy, and in turn, stay in shape (at least as much as I could muster up the energy for) during pregnancy.

That was the goal: stay in the best shape possible. Easier said than done. I’m sure any moms reading along can relate to feeling so sleepy by the end of the day, you can barely make it to the kitchen to cook dinner, let alone tie on your sneakers and head to the gym. Dads: You’ve probably witnessed mom trying her hardest to keep up with her day job, the housework, and everything else that packs on the daily stress. If she also made it outside for a run or into the gym for a workout – I hope you’ve given her the pat on the back she deserves. I’ll assure you, it is NOT easy. But it’s doable. Even if it’s just a few times a week, which was the case for me.


I’ll admit, early on in pregnancy, there were plenty of days where I went right from work to my couch, to my bed, feeling awful and nauseous through much of the first trimester. All of the articles I read and women I spoke to promised I’d get my energy back and start to feel a little more “normal” through the second trimester. Slowly but surely, I eventually felt that way. At that point, I knew I had no excuse to avoid the gym any longer.

After a much needed post-morning-and-noon show nap, I would try to get myself to a workout class at least twice a week. There were some weeks where I gave myself a gold star for getting to class three or four times, but it was rare. Now that I’m well into the third trimester, things are changing (yet again), and I’m finding myself on a new workout schedule and getting into a new routine.

Now I’m sure a lot of you have heard stories of “supermoms” who went to the gym five to seven days a week, ran five miles a day, or competed in triathlons during pregnancy. Those women are amazing and deserve a trophy of some sort. I’ll be the first to admit: I’m not that woman. And that’s okay. I’ve found what works for me, and so far, I’ve had a healthy pregnancy and have managed to maintain a healthy weight and size leading into the eighth month.

I recently came across a story out of Davenport, Iowa, highlighting an all-star mom-to-be, who’s still doing CrossFit at eight months pregnant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the more recent workout craze, it’s a high-intensity workout that combines gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, and more activities that I’m not particularly fond of or good at. The Davenport mom has apparently been a regular at her local CrossFit for more than four years. And while many criticize women who do heavy-lifting during pregnancy, doctors do say you can continue with regular workouts, as long as modify the regimen to your current abilities.

Those abilities weren’t much to speak of for a long time. Luckily, about a year before getting pregnant, I started going to barre classes near home. After the first few weeks of classes, I found myself incredibly sore, and still, somehow, more motivated than I’ve ever been to become better at the moves and continue going to class. Leading up to my wedding, I pushed myself to go to class four to five times a week– and found myself in the best shape of my life, with the energy I needed to get through wedding planning.

Barre classes focus on most women’s main trouble spots: Arms, legs, abs, and what they refer to as your “seat.” Instructors guide the group through a series of very small, repeated movements, meant to strengthen and tone each body group. We stand at a ballet barre for much of the class, but it’s anything but the formal “ballet” style you might call to mind. Everything is set to the tune of upbeat music, ranging from pop and hip hop to 80’s and 90’s dance hits. The best part – you get in a full-body workout in 55 minutes, and can go home feeling accomplished.

We recently had an instructor from Pure Barre Estero stop by the WINK studio, explaining the workout to our viewers, and showing off a few moves. Luckily, I had a pair of barre socks in my purse, and got to get on my toes and share some of my few skills!

Baby on Board

Don’t let me fool you: I’ve NEVER been someone who enjoys working out. I’d much rather run errands than run on a treadmill. I eventually came to realize that the main problem was that I never found a workout that was right for me. Some of us don’t enjoy cardio and that’s okay. I definitely consider myself to be one of those people. Barre class taught me that I could burn a ton of calories, and lift and tone my body in all of the right places, while still building the muscle strength I lacked. And I didn’t have to run a centimeter to do it!


As I mentioned earlier, the first trimester was by far the toughest part of my pregnancy journey so far. Once I got past that point, I got back to the barre and committed to going to class at least a couple times per week. Because I’m fairly active at work all day (running through the halls of WINK from the green screen, to the radio booth, to my desk in the newsroom), I knew I was still maintaining activity throughout the day. I supplemented an already active lifestyle with modified moves in barre class, and have so far managed to maintain a healthy weight through my pregnancy.

Once the third trimester rolled around, again, things got tough. I knew it was time to modify things again once my belly started getting bigger and the barre moves started getting harder.

Now, I’ve found a new love: prenatal yoga. Again, I’m not running miles or burning a ton of calories, but I’ve learned that those are not necessarily the most important components to staying healthy through pregnancy. Prenatal yoga puts me in class with women who are all sporting baby bumps like mine and due within weeks of my due date. It’s helped me to feel like I fit in again in a fitness setting. And during one of the most stressful times in life, I’m learning to slow down my breath, focus on myself and Baby Boy for an hour at a time, twice a week, and trying to find my “center,” as difficult as that might be through all of the hustle-bustle right now.

I’ve done yoga plenty of times in the past, but the prenatal classes zero in on mom-to-be,  safely stretching and strengthening, toning the muscles I can still access (meaning mostly everything aside from my core), and above all, connecting with baby. Our instructor is chock full of pregnancy knowledge and interesting tidbits about what lies ahead, and touches on these points throughout the class. It’s certainly been a learning experience beyond the workout I expected. And I typically leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed– feelings that are hard to come by these days.

Bottom line: we’re all different, and each pregnancy journey comes with its own series of challenges. One of the best things I’ve learned, both when it comes to staying in shape during pregnancy, and overall throughout the nine-month period, is you can’t compare your experience to that of anyone else. Of course, you can try, but it will most likely draw frustrating results. There’s always someone out there who stayed stick-thin until baby popped out, someone who gained a ton of weight no matter how healthy they tried to be, someone who had an awful, scary labor, and someone who compares it to a fairy tale. Either way, you’re not them. I’m not them. You’re you, and I am me, and all scenarios are fine. And either way, baby is going to come bursting into this world hoping for all the love and care that you can possibly offer.

Here’s hoping to stay healthy through the last seven to eight weeks of my own journey, every breath along the way. Namaste!

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