Fitness: positive pregnancy, avoiding stretch marks, swelling and weight gain

Fitness: positive pregnancy, avoiding stretch marks, swelling and weight gain

by Gen Preece.

Thank you so much for all your kind and positive feedback for part one! Writing it seems like a lifetime ago now and I’m now even more excited to return to personal training and boot camp where I’ll be working with a lot more pre and post natal mammas.

Here’s Part 2, which I hope you find just as useful – just to remind you, I wrote this last year, when I was still pregnant, hence the references to hot weather, different lockdown rules etc.

Stay healthy stay happy

Throughout this pregnancy I have had no morning sickness, cravings, heartburn, back pain, swelling or stretch marks. I have continued to sleep well and still feel pretty bloody amazing (I was expecting the worst, because that’s all I had previously heard.)

My midwife also informed me that other than bump (baby, placenta, amniotic fluid) and blood volume, it also doesn’t look like I’ve put on any weight. So how has this been possible? I don’t know if it’s coincidence, luck or being fortunate but I can tell you all the things I’ve done that may have helped.

Staying active: as a personal trainer, this does come with the territory! That and knowing how much worse I feel when I don’t keep mobile. I’m sure this has helped prevent any swelling/fluid retention – I was quite concerned about getting hit with this once the hotter weather arrived but touch wood so far so good!

I taught my personal training clients and my Boot camp class until I was 35 weeks pregnant and  maintained walking around five miles a day (or between 10-15,000 daily steps) since.

I also started one-to-one Pilates once a week as soon as I got pregnant. This without a doubt has kept any back issues at bay along with some brilliant prenatal yoga routines that I try to do as often as I can. I’ve had the odd twinge in my left buttock and a bit of groin pain this past week but other than those and feeling out of breath slightly sooner than perhaps I would have done, I’m still able to function so am doing all I was doing before getting pregnant!

What else? Oh yes:

DRINK WATER!!! I had one day in my first trimester when I was constipated and that was more than enough for me! Dehydration is often the number one reason for constipation so it’s reason enough to drink even more than I was previously. Yes I’m now peeing 400-500 times a day but it’s worth it if it means I can also poop. Staying hydrated also helps us to recognise genuine hunger.

Cravings: Not only have I had no cravings (my doula believes this may be down to my body not being deficient in anything as it’s getting everything it needs from my diet – wonder if there’s any research on this..?) but around the time of entering the third trimester, I really didn’t and still haven’t felt that hungry. And when I do, I get full really REALLY quickly!

So my portions have stayed small and recently learning how to chew my food properly (rather than inhaling it) has certainly helped any digestive issues and also probably played a part in preventing heartburn.

I had the odd moment of nausea in my first trimester and didn’t really fancy any food at all at times, but water helped me very much here. My sense of smell became (and still is) turbo charged – not always an asset when walking past a person who’s forgotten their deodorant but I guess this will settle at some point. We’ve also stocked our freezer full of batches of dinners, as well as plenty of gorgeous vegan meals from the wonderful Mitch’s Kitchen for times when I know we might not have the energy to cook anything!

Stretch Marks: I’ve been using a stretch mark prevention cream called Revitol that I bought online and also started using good ol Bio oil in my third trimester. Again, there are no guarantees but both of these seem to have worked for me. I’m making sure I get as much sleep as I can (shame you can’t bank it!!) and we’ve kept our bedroom as cool as possible. My beautiful sister in-law also got us an eight foot paddling pool for my birthday, which I’ve spent much of the hot weather in!

Pregnancy supplements: I’m sure you’ve already read plenty what you should and shouldn’t be taking while pregnant. The fact remains that all of our systems are completely unique and require different things. For instance, there isn’t sufficient evidence that we need to be taking folic acid. What our bodies need is folate, and anything we do take needs to be in a highly bioavailable form so our bodies absorb it. I’ve been seeing a brilliant clinical kinesiology practitioner Margaret Barclay for the past seven years, who helped me with all my previous health problems and has played a vital role in this smooth pregnancy.

I have learned my body required different vitamins and minerals throughout each trimester. So what did I pop? I started off with a quality prenatal blend from Thorne. I then needed omega 3 and some iron in my second trimester. I’m now on a prenatal multi from Metabolics, Solgar iron bisglycinate twice a week (non constipating – winner!) and an immunity system booster called Armaforce, which works very well especially when it would appear every other person you come into contact with is sick!

I’m glad I discovered this as I was so worried about catching a cold while pregnant, thankfully I’ve maintained my 4.5 year record of avoidance! I also started on the raspberry leaf tea capsules at 36 weeks, which I’m hoping will also help with the birth.

Placenta Capsules: All being well, I have arranged to have my placenta encapsulated and part of it made into a smoothie, that will get delivered as soon as possible following the birth. Everyone I have spoken to who has done this has strongly recommended it, not just for the nutritional density for them and the baby but so many additional benefits including no postnatal depression, increased energy and less hormone imbalances. Bring it on!!

So there we have it, the story behind my positive pregnancy!

Of course neither my husband or I know what is going to follow, once we enter the next chapter that could be next week – or even in the next hour!

So wherever we are or whatever happens/has happened by the time you read this, I just want to put out there into the universe how very grateful I am for every moment of this positive pregnancy journey, that has led up to now. I can only focus on having the same for the birth itself.

I hope reading my positive pregnancy experience has enabled you to look at things differently in some way, even if this only helps one person throughout their pregnancy, my mission is accomplished. And in light of the current Covid19 pandemic, pretty much all the practices that I adopted are still available and many services are also now virtual – so not just restricted to the mammas of Southampton!

I still can’t really believe that soon we’re going to have an actual human bub, even though I’ve got so used to it dancing away inside me and feel like I already know it!

I wish you the healthy happy pregnancy you deserve and may you enjoy every moment.


  • Viviana Milly Preece, our healthy happy beautiful bub was born 11.13am on 7/7/2019 8lbs 1oz at the midwife led unit at QA Portsmouth.

The birth was the most empowering experience of my life, Damien and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to every person who helped us achieve this and who has helped us along the way.

Photoshoot: Zoe Walker Designs 

Daisy Birthing & Baby classes

Hypnobirthing – we used Emma Batt

Finding a local Doula (Mine is Sally Carter)

My Pilates teacher:

Stretch mark cream

My Clinical kinesiology practitioner

Placenta Encapsulation: Kimberly Knight

Mitch’s Kitchen for vegan meals for your freezer, shipped nationwide:

Books I’ve read throughout my pregnancy:

  • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) – Philippa Perry

[EVERYONE who is planning on having or already has children needs to read this!]

  • The Hypnobirthing Book with Antenatal Relaxation Download: An Inspirational Guide for a Calm, Confident, Natural Birth – Katherine Graves

[You’ll get a copy once you start a Hypnobirthing course, it also comes with a link to download the antenatal Relaxation MP3 Download]

  • The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks – Milli Hill [A lovely calm and reassuring read for while you’re pregnant]
  • Mindful Mamma – Sophie Fletcher [Absolutely ESSENTIAL reading for once baby arrives, one I wish I’d read while I was preggers!]