Katie Lowry is a fit and healthy mum to 18 month old Ivy and currently pregnant again, due late July with baby number two. She has always led an active lifestyle, having danced for the majority of her life. Katie worked internationally for three years, travelling different parts of the world whilst dancing on cruise ships. Upon returning home to the Gold Coast, Katie joined the XXXX Angels and spent a further two years travelling Australia, dancing and performing at many of the countries major sporting events. Having exhausted the travelling lifestyle, Katie then settled in at home and completed a University degree becoming a Registered Midwife. Having had such an active and energetic lifestyle, we were very interested to see how Katie found pregnancy and the transition into motherhood. The following article will share what some of Katie’s experiences have been.

Please note all information given is on Katie’s personal experiences and should not be taken for medical advice. Please seek medical advice from your doctor before starting any exercise regime while pregnant.

Q – So Katie, as a PT I find that a lot of women feel nervous and scared to exercise when they become pregnant as they fear it could be harmful to their unborn child, was this a fear you had when you became pregnant?
A – Being pregnant now for the second time not so much. I was definitely a bit nervous the first time as your body in undertaking such a big change. With so many scary stories out there, as a first time mum it was easy to feel anxious about lots of things that might not be safe for your baby. I didn’t feel nervous to keep exercising, I just felt nervous to keep up the same amount of intensity whilst exercising.

Q – Did you modify your workout routine once you found out you were pregnant? How and why?
A – Yes I did. During my first pregnancy I pulled back on exercising (especially cardio) quite a lot, as I mentioned earlier I was slightly nervous about over-doing it. This pregnancy however I’ve felt much more confident to safely continue exercising. The first thing I did was buy a heart rate monitor so I could track of my heart rate whilst training. If your heart rate is monitored and maintained at a safe level, most exercise during pregnancy is safe. Feeling confident with this, the biggest change I’ve made this pregnancy is decreasing the intensity of any exercises that increase my heart rate to a level too high (mostly toning down the cardio and using lighter weights). Once I reached the second trimester I also stopped doing any isolated abdominal exercises to ensure I wasn’t putting any extra stress on my abdominal muscles. I think it’s safe to say those more muscles are under enough stress during pregnancy haha! Whilst training I also make sure I’m drinking lots of water so I don’t overheat, as that becomes more important when pregnant also.

Q – Have you found it more difficult to exercise in general now you have a toddler?
A – The times and ways in which I exercise have definitely changed now because my lifestyle has changed. I now spend my day times being a mum so find it more enjoyable to exercise then by going to mum’s and bub’s fitness classes. I find classes like these are enjoyable for both me and Ivy, as they are very social and always leave me feeling energised to tackle the rest of the day. Ivy enjoys the play time with all her little friends and often joins in on the workouts (she’s already a queen at pushups and squats haha) and I love the chance to catch up with other mums. It’s a win-win really, and the exercise is a bonus.

Q – How much weight did you put on in your first pregnancy?
A – 21kg. I probably over indulged a little bit and desperately wanted a nice big pregnancy belly, haha, but overall I still felt healthy and comfortable within myself. I don’t own scales and I’m not someone who likes to become fixated on numbers as I find it can be easy to obsess over. If I’m eating relatively healthy and staying active I find it’s all I need to keep me happy and feeling great.

Q – How long did it take for you to get your pre-pregnancy body back and what did you do to lose the extra weight after giving birth?
A – To be honest, once Ivy was born I found that my new baby and the challenges of being a new mum were much more my focus than losing weight. I do however feel I was lucky, as a fair amount of it came off naturally without any real effort. Breastfeeding and maintaining my supply was my priority so dieting or restricting calories at all was not something I was willing to try. I’m not exactly sure how long it took me to get back to my pre-pregnancy ‘weight’, although at roughly 6 months I was probably back to a similar size. In saying this however my body was and felt very different to my pre-pregnancy body. I had lost a lot of my muscle tone and had jiggly parts that I’d never had before. Feeling more settled with breastfeeding and being a new mum, it was about this 6 month mark that I started exercising again and going to mums and bubs classes. Once I was back exercising, I started making an effort to eat better too and for the first time since giving birth, started putting in some effort to get back into shape. I feel it took roughly another 5 months or so of healthy eating and regular exercise to feel as though I had my old body back… Just in time to do it all over again with bub number two, haha!

Photographer Isaac Purcell http://isaacpurcellphotography.com/

Q – Do you keep a healthy diet or eat what you are craving?
A – Both. This pregnancy I have definitely eaten healthier than with my first. I try to eat healthy so I know that my baby is getting all the nutrients it needs, however I’m not strict and definitely enjoy my naughty treats when I feel like it. I believe balance is extremely important in any healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. I don’t have the self control to forbid myself naughty treats and find if I try to, I end up eating much more of them anyway! For me, balance is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Q – You are currently doing mum’s and bub’s bootcamp classes whilst pregnant and with an 18 month old in tow, how do you balance your time to still fit exercise in and time for yourself?
A – The main reason I exercise as much as I do is because I take Ivy with me and do it during our week days together. When my husband is home from work we like to enjoy time together as a family so trying to squeeze exercise in early in the morning or at nights, just to do it alone, doesn’t work as well for me. As for time to myself, it’s a rarity. I’m lucky to have a very hands on and supportive husband who always makes sure that every now and then I have some time-out. On the weekends he often gets up and takes Ivy out on an adventure somewhere so I can have a sleep in and a relax at home. He is also amazing and books me in for a massage every now and again.

Q – You are very passionate about breastfeeding, but do you believe the old wives tale that it really helps you drop weight after pregnancy?
A – I don’t think there is any evidence that says breastfeeding will definitely help you lose weight after pregnancy however for the first 6 months after giving birth I made no effort at all to lose any weight and a lot of it came off on its own. So I guess in my experience I feel that it may have helped me.

Q – Do you have any stretch marks from your pregnancy? If not what did you do to prevent them and do you think it helped?
A – Besides a few teeny ones on my breasts, I was lucky and didn’t get any stretch marks during pregnancy. I did use oils and creams as I figured they couldn’t hurt, however I don’t know that I believe they really do that much in the way of prevention. In my opinion stretch marks are often genetic and depend on your skin type. I believe a healthy diet and keeping hydrated couldn’t hurt either but feel that sometimes people will get them no matter what they try.

Q – How was your labour and delivery? Could you briefly tell us about it?
A – I had a really fantastic labour and birth. I had a natural water birth and brought Ivy up onto my chest myself. For a lot of my labour I was in a warm spa or bath, which helped dull the pain, but didn’t use any pharmaceutical pain relief. My labour started slowly giving me little niggles and early labour contractions for almost two days before I reached active labour which lasted for six hours. I stayed at home until I was almost 9 cm dilated and got to the hospital just in time to start pushing.
Q – What advice would you give to new and expecting mums-to-be?
A – To enjoy this amazing experience! Pregnancy is truly a miracle and will pass you by in the blink of an eye so don’t forget to enjoy it. I absolutely love being pregnant and know that once I’ve had my last baby I will miss never being pregnant again, so despite the aches and pains, don’t let this miracle go to waste. As for exercise, I am no expert, but if it’s something you did easily before pregnancy, chances are its relatively safe for you to continue, whilst following the pregnancy guidelines of course. If you have never really exercised however, during your pregnancy is not the safest or recommended time to start. Wait until you’ve had bub and give it a go then! As for motherhood, enjoy the ride! Every mum will tell you that some days will be tough, but there’s no feeling in the world like looking into the eyes of your precious little cherub. Trust your body and be kind to yourself.