Going into this appointment, I sat down at the computer this morning and compiled a 3-page document to lead the discussion with my doctor. It included
- my training history over the last year so she could really visualize where I've come from,
- the heart rate data I'd collected throughout the last two weeks,
- other things I had been doing since our last appointment to improve my probability of getting to run
- online research I had done about exercising during pregnancy for those who were active pre-pregnancy
When the doctor sat down, I started with telling her that I understood where the 140-heart-rate rule had come from - she doesn't know I wouldn't do something stupid like run 10 miles in the middle of the day in the heat, or that I wasn't lying or exaggerating about my training history. But I told her that I've been a model patient (perfect blood pressure, a healthy weight, no complications, no defects spotted with the baby) aside from the complications we know from the first pregnancy would arise from my fibromyalgia, but again, the running has helped keep the effects of that condition at bay. So I asked her to go through all the info I had prepared and decide what were the right heart rate and other exercise guidelines for ME in particular.
She was great listening and discussing each item with me. Immediately she expressed a "wow" at the monthly mileage summary of my training over the last year. I laughed and said, "See, I don't know that it's not always getting communicated how much I've been running over the last year. I'm not one of those who saws they are a runner but are doing a couple miles only a couple days a week!"
In the end, she agreed to the detailed compromise I suggested with the caveat that she was agreeing to it now but things might and will change throughout the pregnancy. Here's what I presented on the paper that she agreed to...
• Would like to compromise on the strict 140 bpm rule with the following:
- Stick with a pace that is about 160-165 bpm,
- Have walk breaks every 3 to 5 minutes of running, walk break length of 1-2 minutes, whatever gets it back below 140 bpm
- Always wear a heart rate monitor with all exercise.
- Limit distance – no half marathons, but up to 1 hour of exercise (5 miles).
- Always keeping perceived exertion no higher than an 8 on a 1-10 scale.
- Mix in lower heart rate training like elliptical, Zumba fitness, and other classes like yoga and pilates rather than running every day.
Additionally, the doctor made notes in my chart and we agreed that I'll help us remember to discuss in detail my exercising and heart rate data at each and every pre-natal visit, and I'll be having more ultrasounds routinely to monitor fetal development.
We also discussed an item she brought up which I had already mentioned in a previous blog post and had on my 3 page report for the doctor - my caloric intake. I've left another pound in the last two weeks. She's not concerned, but I was already aware that I have to work on upping my calories to account for the 300-500 I'm burning several times a week.
While some who ran through pregnancy suggested I get a second opinion or a new doctor, I love this doctor (she delivered my first child also), and this proves why she's great. She was willing to change her opinion with further information provided and she truly listened to what her patient was trying to explain!
Happy Running All!