Post By: Sarah – Wife/Athlete/Mother
Am I … *gasp* … waddling?!
Sadly, that was actually a legitimate question that popped into my head around the 15 week pregnancy mark. Waddling. Me. Yes, the idea was preposterous. I was only 15 weeks pregnant! Waddling is a term saved for those last few weeks before delivery. You know, when your belly protrudes to levels you never thought possible, you can’t see your feet and are retaining more water than the Hoover dam. At least that’s what I always thought …
As it turns out, I have a lot to learn about pregnancy. Many of my preconceived notions have been wrong. Another example? Peeing. A drastic increase in the number of times you run to the bathroom is an early pregnancy symptom, not just a late pregnancy issue when the baby pushes on your bladder. Well, that explained my need to get up at least two-to-three times a night to head to the bathroom, a ritual that I became embarrassed of when rooming with athletes during my European racing schedule this past summer. I justified it as simply being exceptionally hydrated.
Anyways, back to my original declaration, I waddle. Instead of propelling myself forward with each step, I have a little side-to-side swagger added in. In general, I feel like I just move more slowly. Almost like someone hit the slow-motion button on me. This is such a strange feeling, especially for an elite-level athlete. I am not used to having to adjust my movements and slow down. My normal “go, go, go”, fast-paced personality has had to take a major back seat to allow myself to adjust to this “new” body.
After a bit of research, I quickly discovered the reason for my “new” movement pattern. A woman’s stride can resemble a “waddle” during pregnancy due to the hormones that soften the ligaments and loosen the joints – especially in the pelvic region. This allows your hips to widen, accommodate a growing baby and prepare your body for delivery. It can also be the cause of some pelvic girdle pain (PGP), due to the joints in your pelvis having some additional “wiggle-room”. To help adjust to the changes, Darren and I did some extensive research and developed a series of exercises that I have implemented over the past two weeks. These exercises, plus modifications to my workouts, have really helped to combat the issue. I plan to write another blog post devoted entirely to that exercise routine for those of you who are interested!
In the meantime, I’ve hit the 17-week mark and am happy with how I have been able to adapt to the unexpected issues that have presented themselves so far. Even though it can be frustrating – because I HATE having to adjust – it’s also been a growing experience for me as a professional athlete. It’s forced me to be truly honest with myself and to work on having a completely open dialogue of communication with Darren (Coach); two things important for any athlete, but that I can struggle with personally. I really feel that swimming and ElliptiGo riding has helped me combat the hip issue and we’ve been able to implement those sessions in an effective way to supplement my training.
As hard as it is to accept having a slight waddle at just 17 weeks, I have also found some humor in the ordeal. A silly pastime in my family (especially for my older brother, Daniel) has always been making up clever (or stupid) musical jingles. As a child, I had a stuffed toy duck that my brother gave a little musical chant of “quack, quack, waddle, waddle”. Well, you’ve probably guessed it … ”quack, quack, waddle, waddle” has become my personal anthem. When I start to get annoyed at my “slow” movement, I just let the chant run through my head and allow a little smirk to appear on my face. It’s funny how a fond childhood memory can help carry you through sometimes. God always finds a way to use even the smallest of things to make the biggest differences! My brother’s quirky sense of humor about a toy I owned over 20 years ago has given me some comic relief in a mentally challenging time. It reminds me how important my family is and makes me excited for Darren and I to be starting our family.