Over seven years ago, I discovered that I was pregnant for the first time. I instantly started researching everything there was to know about the baby and how it would grow and change and transform, and like any good mom would do, I completely forgot to look into my own well being and here I am, over seven years later with a body that has unfortunately paid for my negligence. What in the world am I talking about? Well, read on dear reader; read on.
Have you ever been told that stretch marks are really, absolutely, and completely determined by your genetics? I definitely was…so I wasn’t too worried about protecting my skin. And, alas, after my first baby, I ended up with some incredibly red, itchy, and painful stretch marks. So if it is completely up to genetics, why then with my next two pregnancies did I end up with absolutely none after moisturizing my body with expert care? Skin responds to your diet and to the way you moisturize it and, ultimately you could end up with stretch marks, but if you properly moisturize and only gain a healthy amount of weight, you should be able to either eliminate any and all stretch marks or get far less than you would if not properly caring for your skin.
So, for any of you currently pregnant mammas (or soon to be pregnant mamas), do yourself a favor and moisturize like crazy! Don’t get lazy towards the end. Just do it. Your body will thank you.
Fitness. Did you know not all exercises are equal during pregnancy? Some can actually really REALLY damage your body. I did not know this while pregnant with baby number two. Had I known, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. While pregnant with my middle child, I wanted to be fit and active and healthy and I did an okay job on all of that, but I definitely messed up big time when it came to ab work. Insert big sigh here. I did a lot of horrible ab exercises for my body (think sit-ups and crunches) and I completely damaged my core. Not only did I end up with a major case of diastasis recti, but I also gave myself an umbilical hernia. OUCH!! If you don’t know what a hernia is, it’s a hole that’s in a place a hold should definitely not be. And it is super uncomfortable.
After months of wondering why I still looked pregnant, even after having my baby and working out regularly and dieting, I finally woke up and realized that I was struggling with an umbilical hernia. Ugh. I’m going to take a little pause here to tell you how annoying an umbilical hernia is. It messes with your whole body. If I eat even a bit too much (hard not to do) or if I eat the wrong thing, my stomach bloats up and puffs out and not only is it aesthetically annoying but it is SO uncomfortable. My stomach hurts a lot when this happens and I hate wearing anything other than sweatpants or high rise clothes because it’s just so uncomfortable and honestly annoying knowing that my stomach is going to blow up like a balloon after I eat.
The hernia also makes going to the bathroom a pain, as my digestion is totally off and yea; it’s just not fun. On top of that, my workouts are totally limited as I’m not even supposed to be doing heavy lifting at all because it can worsen it and I hardly do any ab work, except for diastasis safe exercises, because there’s just no point in doing anything else. So here’s another tip, don’t do ab exercises unless you make 100% sure that they are pregnancy and post pregnancy safe. After you have your baby and your abs go back to their original tightness, you are good to go with regular ab exercises again. But, don’t feel too bad for me, because now, I have learned SO much about my body and it’s capabilities and yes, I definitely wish I had known all of this before my first pregnancy, but hey…you live, you learn, and hopefully you can help someone else before they make the same mistakes.
And there’s a light at the end of this tunnel because on May 23rd, I am going to get my hernia and stomach repaired so I can go back to my normal fit life, without the pain and frustration (no I am not getting a tummy tuck…that’s a different type of surgery). For now, I have been throwing caution to the wind and still doing my heavy weight training, but just without a lot of core focus. I am so incredibly excited for this surgery, although I hear recovery is hell. Ugh. It will be two miserable weeks and then another four weeks before getting back to the gym, but oh my gosh, I know it will be worth it.
Have you ever suffered from a hernia? Have you had surgery to repair it? Let me know in the comments! 🙂