Today its my birthday, I am 28 this year. It seems like only yesterday I was still doing homework and getting the bus to school. Where does the time go?
Normally to celebrate my birthday I would have arranged a big night out, found a good club and got a bunch of mates together. The whole night in picture form on Facebook for the world to see.
Pregnancy has meant that celebrations have become a whole lot more sensible. And rather then the crazy nights of birthdays past I found myself in a restaurant on Friday with my oldest dearest girlfriends.
They are a great bunch of girls, Sian, Minh Ai, Pema and Tasha. Only last June Tasha had her first baby. She has been a great help answering all my questions and passing on her experience. Without my Mum it’s my girlfriends and sister who I can turn to for support.
It was Saturday on my way to see Tasha to pick up a stack of pregnancy books that I felt something which I hadn’t experienced before!!!
I had to run to catch my train.
That was the most breath taking task I have done since getting pregnant! Honestly I was gasping for air, once I had caught the train and found a seat it felt like it took forever for my breathing to return to normal. No joke.
I guess I expect to get breathless doing Crossfit but running for a train is normally no problem. What is going on with my capacity to breath and recover? I knew that as the baby grows it pushes against the insides restricting the lung capacity, but surely this is something that starts to manifest a bit later on when the baby is bigger???
I think a bit more investigation is needed………………….
Basically we need an increase in oxygen supply.
Many women experience this toward the end of the first trimester, it can often continue throughout until labour.
The problem is so many changes have occurred to the heart and blood vessels meaning that every organ is working that little bit harder, this in turn means an increase in the demand of oxygen to facilitate the work capacity.
(For more information on what is happening to the heart and blood vessels check out the Pregnancy Facts page)
It can rise up to 20%.
To cope with these changes the lungs need to adapt to the increased volume of oxygen and also expel unwanted carbon dioxide waste. When we exercise or ‘run for the train’ these levels obviously rise even further and although it is not understood exactly, it is thought that progesterone has a part to help in this process. In short it allows your lungs to hyperventilate giving the feeling of breathlessness!
Toward the end of pregnancy we also have to contend with the growth of the baby which over the 9 months compresses all the organs inside Mum making breathing harder.
Just to cover all the points I discovered. A midwife did say to me that perhaps I was not getting enough iron! Guess a blood test will tell me that.
If anyone has any funny stories of breathlessness please let us know by leaving a comment.
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London coach.