Ashley's First Pregnancy and Kettlebell Story

Ashley shared this lovely inspiring summary with me on her struggles with getting pregnant to a  healthy successful pregnancy using kettlebells.  Even more importantly a healthy beautiful baby. Currently her son is 23 months old and she is now pregnant with her second child.   Congratulations Ashley and thank you for sharing!!!

Here is Ashley's story:

I first learned about Lauren Brooks and kettlebells listening to an episode of "Pregtastic" podcasts while trying to get pregnant.  As a result of my PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), it took us over two years to get pregnant.  I even went on medication to regulate my blood sugar and insulin levels, which are strangely key to PCOS.  However, what actually helped me get pregnant was not medication but changing my diet and exercise.  I was a very moderate size, but making changes to my diet (mainly using a book called The Natural Diet Solution to PCOS and Infertility) and losing just those few extra pounds through exercise caused my cycles to regulate themselves.  

To get into better shape, I contacted Lauren about using kettlebells and she responded with all kinds of great advice.  I purchased her first DVD and began using a very light kettlebell at first, because I had had a complex wrist fracture requiring surgery earlier in the year.  Kettlebells helped get my body slimmed down and - proceeding with extra caution - strengthened my wrist.  I also took Lauren's advice for vitamin and diet changes.  Within just a few months, I got pregnant!

As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I began exercising even more diligently to keep my body in shape and prepare for the intensity of labor.  I used Lauren's "Baby Bells" workout 4 to 5 times a week my entire pregnancy, all the way through week 39, after which I gave myself a break of one week to rest up (not for any medical reason, just because I felt like it).  I went to both prenatal yoga and vinyasa yoga once weekly (all the way through week 40) and took walks with my husband.  However, it was the kettlebells that really kept me strong and limber throughout my pregnancy.  I even increased my wrist and overall strength, switching from a 10-lb bell to a 20-lb bell midway through my pregnancy.  

17 days away from giving birth
Throughout the whole experience - I'm convinced as a result of my kettlebells - I kept my weight gain to a healthy total of 33 pounds, kept my blood pressure and cholesterol very low, and experienced amazing levels of energy in my third trimester due to maintaining my body active.  Of course, I ate healthy foods and drank copious quantities of organic milk for the calcium and protein (I followed the Brewer diet fairly closely, as recommended by my Bradley childbirth class).  But I was able to consume the calories that my appetite demanded without putting on extra weight anywhere because I stayed active and maintained my strength.

My birth experience was fantastic - a total of 15 hours of labor and no drugs, with my husband acting as primary coach.  Our beautiful son was born healthy and strong after only 16 minutes of pushing, and I recovered quickly from the birth.  We were allowed to go home from the hospital after only 24 hours.

I have too many friends who experienced pregnancy through extreme fatigue, superfluous weight gain, long labors, and painful, extended recoveries with lots of extra pounds to try to shed.  I believe if they had worked out regularly with kettlebells during their pregnancy, the outcomes would have been different.  Everyone's experience is different, of course, but I credit my kettlebells with my wonderful pregnancy, moderate weight gain, shortened labor, overall health of me and my baby, and recovery afterward.  I tell EVERYONE who wants to get in better shape about kettlebells, and I always send them to Lauren's DVDs for excellent workouts!  

Ashley P., Philadelphia

Another great resource I wish I had during my pregnancy was Sara Cheatham's pregnancy workout ebook with over 100 workouts!  Each workout guides you through each stage.  Check it out here for more details.