As I walked home from the market last night, a man and woman walked towards me. The woman had a big belly; her hair was gathered in a messy ponytail. Her shirt was wet with two telltale circles on her chest. She had bags under her eyes and a slow, waddling gate. Her husband pushed their stroller as slowly and gently as if he it carried expensive crystal stem-wear. As I approached, they both broke into big smiles. Inside the stroller was a tiny, little baby (obviously a newborn) wrapped in pink blankets, tucked in tightly and sound asleep.
I looked at Mom and said the first thing that popped into my mind. "You look gorgeous. How old is your baby?" She briefly put her hand to her hair as if to smooth out the snarls and lumps then said, "Just five days. It's our first time out with her." Anyone with an experienced eye would have known that on sight. "What a wonderful evening for a first time out. You all look just wonderful," I said, feeling a little wistful remembering my first tentative steps into the world with my newborns.
It was a warm, clear, summer evening. The birds were chirping. The baby would sleep on, blissfully unaware that she'd been introduced to the great outdoors. Her parents will remember this evening forever as the biggest trip they'd ever take. Welcome to the world, baby girl.
OK, enough musings for this week. Now on to business. I got an email from Helen who's worried about some supplements she took before she knew she was pregnant. Apparently, she was training for a triathlon and took this stuff before workouts to give her some extra vim and vigor. She's eleven weeks along now and feeling fine, except for the worry that she dosed her baby with something wicked before she knew better. She gave me a list of the supplements she took and I'm unfamiliar with all of them. Even if I did know the chemical compounds' affects on early pregnancy, that's no guarantee that everything is perfect.
That's the deal with pregnancy. There are no guarantees. You're taking one of the biggest risks known to humanity just by being pregnant. Perfectly healthy women who've supped on pristine organic diets and sipped on only the purest, filtered spring water have delivered children with problems. Women who've sucked back every chemical they could get their hands on delivered babies who were as healthy as can be.
My advice for Helen is to take her supplements to her doctor and a pharmacist and ask them to decipher just how toxic these things might be. I only advise she do this research as a means to an end. That end is this: The deed is done. You're already pretty far into this pregnancy. If you were going to miscarry because there was something wrong with the baby, chances are, you already would have. Now that you're chugging into your second trimester, put down the worry-hat and put on your party-hat. Chances are very, very good that everything is just fine.
It's amazing how resilient babies are. When you consider how many are conceived in the back of a pickup after a kegger, and just how few are born with deformities, it's kind of a miracle. I'm not giving anyone permission to imbibe the bad stuff, here. Au contraire. You ladies know me better than that by now. What's my mantra? Healthy diet, lots of exercise and good prenatal care.
Helen, it sounds like your healthy lifestyle as an athlete is setting you up for a good pregnancy and a child who's already ahead of the game in terms of lifetime habits for health and fitness. It's useless for me to tell you not to worry. You're a Mama now, joining the ranks of professional, gold medal worriers. It won't be long before you're out for a stroll on a clear, warm evening with your little one in a stroller. Sounds like it will be a jogging stroller. No matter who the child in that stroller is and what issues you'll face together, your child will be perfect for you. The only guarantee you get with pregnancy is that one.
Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.