Do you struggle with a metabolic disorder? Read Samantha’s tips below about how she committed to a healthy lifestyle and was able to get pregnant with the help of exercise to regulate PCOS.
Hi, my name is Samantha and I am a 32 year old mother of a 2 year old with my second child on the way. I started my running and fitness journey in 2011 to get pregnant with my first child and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS. It is one of the most common reasons for infertility and is also one that can be controlled. PCOS ultimately is a problem with hormones becoming out of balance which can lead to other health problems.
So when I was diagnosed with PCOS while trying to get pregnant with my first child, my doctor gave me the best treatment plan instead of pushing medications. He told me I had to do 30 minutes of cardio exercise everyday and that was my treatment and not an option! While I took him seriously, I was also working 12+ hour days. I tried fitting in the exercise by starting to more regularly run, walk, and cycle, but I did not do it every day. I took Metformin, which is a diabetes medication, to help along the process since we had been actively trying to get pregnant for a while. We were fortunate enough to get pregnant a couple months later due to the exercise and medication combination.
After having my daughter, I decided that I would continue to work on eating healthy and working out consistently. Not only does the PCOS cause small issues, but it also puts me at a higher risk for long term health issues like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, and uterine cancer.
No brainer there. I do not want to deal with any of these health problems as I get older.
If you’re reading this and have PCOS, I’m going to be perfectly honest and tell you it’s hard to get it under control and you need to be seriously committed. My friends and family think I exercise and run all the time, but quite frankly, that’s what I have to do for my health. I have learned a lot about how healthy eating and exercise truly affect the body, especially of a female since our bodies are quite different from males.
Now this is what I was doing to get pregnant on my own because yes, you can get PCOS under control with dedication. I run 3-4 times a week and do cross training workouts with a group 2-3 days a week. And when I say I run, I mean more than you’re probably thinking. I run 3-4 miles at least and do a long run on the weekend of 6+ miles. The month before I got pregnant, the long run I did for 3 weeks were half marathons of 13.1 miles and 1 week it was 18.9 miles during a Ragnar Relay. My cross training workouts are 45 minutes to an hour long of a boot camp/strength workout, and I would take 1 day a week as a rest day where I did not do anything.
I finally started enjoying it, so that has tremendously helped. I am still working out and running while pregnant and plan to as long as I can. I have a great doctor’s office where I see a different midwife or doctor each time, and they all encourage me to keep doing what I have been, with a few minor modifications, until my body says stop. While I have slowed down on the runs these past weeks because of nausea, fatigue, and the high temperatures where I live, I have been able to continue going to my cross training class.
Oh by the way, I ran a half at 7 weeks, a trail 10K at 8 weeks, a 5K at 9 weeks, a 10K at 10 weeks, and a 5K/obstacle course at 11 weeks. I guess I deserved to relax for a few weeks! At 26 weeks, I am getting ready to run/walk a 10K and half marathon in the same weekend as my final big race until my due date.
If you have PCOS, I encourage you to talk with your doctor, do some research, and get out there to exercise. And if you don’t, I still encourage you to learn more about how your body uses foods and how exercise affects the functions of your body. You will probably be amazed.
Enjoy Your Adventure,
This is not intended as medical advice, as this is my personal experience. Please speak to your medical professional with any health concerns you have.
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Please welcome Alyssa, our latest For Two Fitness Ambassador! Alyssa is the mom of two young girls, and is excited to have number 3 on the way. She keeps fit during pregnancy and postnatal times by walking, practicing yoga, and doing low impact strength training. Alyssa has run a number of half marathons, and is looking forward to participating in one in 2019. Please follow Alyssa on her website.