I should stress right at the beginning of this post that my experience and other pregnant women's experiences could be totally different. I know people who've been able to keep really active the whole way through pregnancy, and if you can do that then you definitely should as it's now recommended. Certainly, at the beginning of my pregnancy I confidently asserted that I would keep up my walking habits to the very end, but unfortunately it turned out my body had other ideas.
So if you're wondering why something as easy as walking might prove challenging, or why you see a pregnant woman walking at snail's pace, here's the lowdown on what has happened to me.
The early months
The tiredness I felt - and which I know is common - in the first trimester of pregnancy was like nothing I'd experienced before. It was overwhelming exhaustion. The type that had me passed out on the sofa the minute I got in from work.
In illustration, one weekend we had friends to stay and spent both days doing a lot of walking around where we live and in central Liverpool. By the time we said goodbye to them at the station I realised I was completely spent. Being a supportive husband, my other half suggested going to a café to sit down before we headed home - which sounded like a great plan to me. Unfortunately I was so tired that as we cut through Next to get to our intended destination I had to have an impromptu sit-down in the shoe department. I felt so tired that I nearly cried, and even though the café was literally minutes away, I had to wait a while before I felt able to stand up and carry on.
Given that I'm used to walking long distances every day and climbing hills, the realisation that walking around town a bit was leaving me this exhausted was a bit of a shock, to say the least.
The perils of PGP
I'm not going to go into great detail about what PGP is, as there is lots of information about it elsewhere. I think it's enough to say that it can cause pretty crippling pain and can affect women in a number of ways. It can rear its head at any point during pregnancy, although it tends to be at its worst towards the end.
For me, it started to kick in when I was about halfway through. Initially it was uncomfortable and it aggravated sciatica in my lower back as well. While painful at times, I still found I could manage okay with walking, as long as I was sensible about not carrying anything too heavy and making sure I used a backpack and not a handbag.
Unfortunately though it got worse with time. My hips now click horribly whenever I move and I get a lot of pain at the bottom of my bump. Not only has this made it increasingly difficult for me to walk any sort of distance, but it's also made it really hard to get a good night's sleep.
That said, I know I should count myself lucky. When PGP is at its worst you can end up on crutches or even house-bound. Thankfully that hasn't happened to me so far, and I'm hoping that with less than three weeks till the baby is due to arrive I can avoid it!
Argh - I have Shrek feet!
Unfortunately pregnancy-related oedema is pretty common, although it varies significantly in its severity. I'm now at the stage where most of my shoes don't fit me - I can just about get my trainers on (luckily, as it's still a bit cold for flip flops).
What's more annoying though is just how sore your feet can get with this condition and how heavy your legs end up feeling if you walk for any length of time. I'm struggling to just walk round the corner to our local café at the moment - not quite the active pregnancy I was envisaging at the beginning.
Lots to look forward to
What's great though is that once the baby is here - and I've caught my breath a bit - walking is top of my list for helping me get back into shape. Having moved to Liverpool when I was already pregnant, I feel like I've got a whole new city to explore and I fully intend to do that. We're also already planning when we think we'll be able to take the baby on their first trip to the Lakes.
Watch this space as I venture into the unknown; adventures of Walking Girl & baby coming soon!