NOT: I wish I’d done more abs

I’ve been a regular gym-goer for about 7 years, order switching sometimes to yoga and pilates and a briefly held enthusiasm for swimming when I was experiencing back pain.

Over the years I feel I like I’ve gained some measure of fitness and strength, but I am aware that one element of my workout which has always been weak has been my abs. I suck at sit-ups, crunches, the plank, and the boat pose. And now I think my laziness in working on that area is coming back to bite me.

I’m now at the stage in my pregnancy where there’s a noticeable bump. My waistline has pretty much disappeared and my skirts don’t quite zip up anymore (although I can hide that last 2cm with tops that cover the gap).

It’s entirely logical, but the most curious thing I’m feeling is that my stomach muscles are stretching wider to accommodate the baby.

But not in a strong, stable sort of way. It kind of feels like my stomach muscles are wet tissue paper that is slowly being….ripped…apart. It’s especially concerning as every time I sneeze I feel like another little gap is tearing!

It’s quite frightening to be honest and I’m not sure whether there is anything I can do about it now other than continue mild forms of exercise. Any ideas?

NOT: (Un) Natural gas

I love to eat. In fact, order I love it so much I often blog about my eating experiences on the other HOT OR NOT blogs.

So it’s been a bit disheartening to have to curtail my eating habits due to pregnancy. Setting aside the foods that I’m now avoiding (soft cheese, cured meats etc), for the first time in my life I’m experiencing heartburn, indigestion and a general constant uneasiness in my digestive system. I know, I know, it’s temporary and it’s all for a good cause, but golly it sure is uncomfortable (especially around bed time).


Every time I drink water I feel like I’ve gulped down a litre of soft drink. I have to sit back and burp out all the gas slowly, sometimes getting Tim to wack me on the back like a baby.

Eating a mandarin, or too much of one thing, or being hungry, appears to tie up my stomach in knots.

It takes me 45 minutes to eat an omelette because I have to take super-small bites and have constant breaks.

I am incredibly flatulent.


There is an upside to all of this. I’m becoming more mindful about the way I eat. I can’t gobble food  anymore, because eating large amounts of food quickly is a surefire route to a couple of hours of uncomfortable pressure on my stomach.

So I eat slowly. Have small portions. Put my cutlery down. Chew thoroughly. Appreciate the flavours, tastes and textures of the food.  Take the time to look at my surroundings, and watch or read without chewing at the same time. Sip water slowly. Know when to stop.

And you know what? It makes me feel good to eat this way, both physically and mentally.  I think it’s a habit I’m going to keep.

NOT: Over-enthusiastic Facebooking parents

Both Tim and I are avid users of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter (and of course we blog a lot) and while I generally try not to pass judgment on other parents and how they want to run their lives, or their kids lives, I am going to pass judgment on a disturbing trend I’m noticing….setting up a Facebook account for your child.

Call me old-school but I think it’s kind of inappropriate to pretend to be your kid on Facebook, let alone post up photos of your ultrasound scans or to go into in depth detail about your pregnancy pains or labour pains (behaviour all of which I’ve seen from usually normal, sensible adults).

But setting up an account for your unborn child and updating your status as a fetus is verging on creepy. Case in point:

Via Lamebook

Rest assured that NKOTB will NOT be using Facebook or Twitter until he/she is capable of stringing a sentence together, spelling and using a computer keyboard – by which time social media probably will have moved on.

HOT or NOT? Cycling during pregnancy

via Copenhagen Cycle Chic

I really love cycling.

Not as a sport, sale more as a mode of transport. I don’t own a car, I live in the inner city and travel mostly to the CBD and other inner city suburbs, so cycling is often the fastest way for me to get from A to B.

I love the independence it gives me, to go at my own pace and not be beholden to cancelled trains, infrequent trams or traffic jams. I love that it gives me an opportunity to breathe fresh air, get my blood pumping, clear my head and enjoy my surroundings.

The conundrum I’m now facing though is whether I should cycle whilst pregnant. In my first trimester I had to reduce it to infrequent short trips because I was so bone-achingly tired all the time and a 30 minute ride would completely wind me. Now that I’m feeling a bit more energetic in my second trimester, I’m really keen to get back on the bike.

There are two opposing thoughts on whether it’s a good idea to cycle whilst pregnant.

On the one hand, many women around the world, in bike-friendly countries like Denmark and the Netherlands, wouldn’t even be asking this question. Of course they’d continue cycling, how else would they get around? There’s also an interesting articles from The Guardian bike blog and Bicycle Victoria about women who cycled throughout their pregnancy and the physical benefits they believe they’ve experienced as a result of continuing their usual riding regime.

On the other hand, in Australia I think the general thinking is that you stop cycling when you’re pregnant. My obstetrician said that he thought it was ok for me to cycle up till 20 weeks. But after 20 weeks, if I fell off my bike and onto my stomach then I could cause serious damage to my baby.

As with doing anything in pregnancy, it’s all about the amount of risk I’m willing to take. I ride reasonably upright, pretty slowly (and even more slowly now that I’m pregnant) and am definitely not a gung-ho rider. I don’t take stupid risks, I follow road rules and I feel entirely comfortable getting off and walking my bike if I feel in danger or unsafe.

On the other hand, whether we like it to admit it or not, Melbourne’s cycling infrastructure is not as safe as the cycling infrastructure in Denmark, Netherlands, or even the super-wide bus lanes of Central London, unless you’re going completely off-road, say along the Yarra trail. The majority of the time I ride city streets with narrow bike lanes or no bike lanes at all, and if I’m to switch to purely recreational riding for exercise I’d rather use a stationary bike at the gym so that I can read a book at the same time :)

Anyway, I’m yet to come to my own conclusions about what I feel comfortable doing, so I’d be interested to hear if you have any advice or experiences of cycling whilst pregnant.

HOT: Indoctrinating Your Foetus

There are many things that I do not yet know about my child. I don’t know their sex, the colour of their eyes, whether they’ll have curly or straight hair, whether they’ll be talented at sports, or music or maths.

But there are a few thing I do know. For example,  I do know that they will support the Brisbane Bears and Queensland’s Mighty Maroons. Family life would be too difficult otherwise.

This practical requirement for harmonious familial relations does however raise certain logistical problems. How does one ensure that their child supports a now defunct (in name if not location) football team and a State in which they’ll probably never live?

Part of me is attracted to Bill Simmons’ Pavlovian approach to child/team loyalty:

“When my kids were babies, I thought about holding Yankees hats and Lakers hats over their heads in their crib, then pinching them until they started crying (to condition them to instinctively hate those logos/colors).”

Such an approach would seem entirely justifiable to me when it comes to Collingwood colours (and would head off any malicious counter-programming from deluded uncles), but sadly I don’t think I’d be able to get approval from my co-parent for such a “Clockwork Orange” style approach of negative reinforcement.

As such, I’ve decided to settle for second best; positive reinforcement. During the all-important pre-language formative period Maroon and White and Maroon and Yellow will be accompanied by lots of hugs and smiles and laughter. To seal the deal, I’ve also managed to pick up an authentic Brisbane Bears plush doll for the cot so that not a second of waking life will be lost to the opportunity of sporting propaganda. It can’t fail.

Actually, come to think of it, I might also have to shield them from images of Trevor Gillmeister in Queensland colours until their teen years too just to be safe.

NOT: Men’s deodorant

Pregnancy is definitely a curious thing to happen to your body.

For me in my first trimester, it’s involved life-sucking fatigue, an unfamiliar sense of breathlessness even walking up a flight of stairs, mild waves of nausea at all times of the day, beer lout-style burping and non-food-blogger-friendly bouts of indigestion.

One of the strangest things though has been my heightened sense of smell…and my developing hatred of men’s deodorant.

I first noticed it when I walked through the men’s department of Myer. The woody perfumed scents assaulting my nostrils made me want to gag and I practically ran to the lift just so I could get away from it.

Then I discovered that I’d feel a bit sick whenever Tim came to hug me (I guess my nose comes to about his shoulder height). Poor guy, I suggested that maybe he apply his deodorant on after he’d left the house but he drew the line when I chose to sit on our balcony in the winter chill rather than be in the same room with him. An hour after he’d had a shower, applied roll-on, left the house to get some milk and returned home, I could still smell that bloody Lynx. ‘I’m sorry darling, but I can’t not wear deodorant for you, I’ll be a social pariah!’.

The low point came when I was hemmed up against a guy with particularly strong deodorant on the 109 tram in peak hour. Nowhere to go, and trying to hide my dry-retching. I launched myself out the door at my stop, gulped in the night air and sat on a bench with my head between legs wondering whether I could elegantly throw up in the bin next to me.

The feeling passed and fortunately now that I’m nearing the end of my first trimester, the nausea seems to have too. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be wearing perfume again. And men’s deodorant? Forever ugh.

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