“No One Tells You About Constipation During Pregnancy”

They also don't tell you about being full of gas.


Compiled by Wanita Nicol |

People don’t tell you about constipation during pregnancy, about being full of gas. Khethiwe Mlangeni, cofounder of PopUpGym, gives us the real, non-glamorised side…

“Pregnancy is glamorised.”

“People don’t tell you about being constipated, about being full of gas and about sleeping being so uncomfortable in the last trimester. I smiled to hide physical fatigue due to sleepless nights. I smiled to hide emotional and mental fatigue because running a home of five people can be tiring. I would not have coped without my amazing support structure – my husband, mom, sister, amazing helper and the two older kids.

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“In the first trimester everything was the same – my energy levels, my stamina and my ability to do the same exercises. In the second trimester, I opted for brisk walking and continued with weight training – my trainer altered my exercises and I had to be mindful of my heart rate. But in the third trimester my energy levels dropped and, from training five days a week, I trained three, resting in between. In the last month I stopped weight training altogether and opted for aqua aerobics.

“No One Tells You About Constipation During Pregnancy”

“I felt a lot of pressure to get my body back.”

I saw mommies in the fitness circles snapping back like nothing happened and I was questioning my own ability to ‘snap back’. Then again, I am about 10 years older than these ladies, which makes a huge difference, in my experience.

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“When I got the thumbs up from my doctor after six weeks, I spent each week gradually trying different kinds of exercise. Fatigue due to sleepless nights was a challenge on some days. I made diary appointments with myself for exercise. To make my ‘fit calendar’ exciting, I signed up for new things so it was made up of road running, boxing at EFC Gym and body-weight exercise at Ritual Gym.

“Moms need to take it easy with the ‘snap back’ mentality.”

The skin around my stomach has stretched and I also have stretch marks on my stomach. The skin around my belly button will never be unwrinkled. My feet have grown – from size six, I’m now a size seven and I’m fine with that. Remember, it took you nine months to grow the little human inside of you and to reverse this won’t happen overnight.”

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What I’ve learnt…

Make exercise appointments in your calendar and honour these appointments.

Make healthy choices about what you eat, but don’t be too hard on yourself. I enjoy my wine and bubbly, but I will omit dessert.

Don’t neglect yourself. Continue to get your hair, nails and lashes done. If you can’t get to the salons, find services that come to you.

Stock up on three or four pairs of Carriwell seamless post-birth reshape pants (R255 at Dis-Chem). They give great support for the tummy, butt and thighs in the first three months. You can even wear them under your gym tights.

Keep a tube of Medela nipple cream (R90 at Dis-Chem) in your handbag – it works well for nipples and chapped lips too.

READ MORE ON: Pregnancy Real Moms