Terri Siabi – Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy

Close up of pregnant stomach in a park

Much loved Club Programme and Events Manager, Terri Siabi, is expecting twins in January. Her last day in the Club will be Friday 13th December before going on maternity leave. She shares her pregnancy fitness journey so far and offers words of wisdom to women in the same situation…    

Many congratulations to you and your husband Terri. What was your reaction to twins?

Thank you! I was so happy - I burst into tears and my husband was over the moon. We are going to have a boy and a girl. They are the first twins in his family, but one of my great, great, grandmothers was a twin, so a complete throwback!

When are you due?

January 19th, however twins are classed as ‘full-term’ from weeks 36 to 38, so it could be any time from of December to the beginning of January. The later they arrive, the bigger and stronger they will be.

You’ve worked at the Club for seven years, what will they do without you?

Studio Manager - Adrian Walters, will step in and cover most things with the help of Gym Fitness Manager - Hamit Buhara, Weekend and Studio Duty Fitness Manager - Edgaras Lindinas, plus the rest of the Gym Team. They’ll cover my Cycling and Kettlebells classes too. Hopefully I’ll be back in September or October next year.

Have you had a good pregnancy?

Very good really. I’ve had no sickness, but have had some head aches and suffer with back pain sometimes. Sleeping can be tough at times as my baby boy doesn't like me laying on my left hand side, which isn't ideal! In terms of energy levels, I’ve been really tired some days where I could be in bed by 9pm! I'm a night owl so adjusting was strange. No more late nights for me!

I’ve been drinking lots of water - 2.5 to 3 litres a day, which helps to reduce stretch marks.  Caffeine can affect a baby’s growth, so I have limited my coffee intake and rarely eat chocolate, which also contains caffeine.

Has your lifestyle changed?

I still do everything I used to. I’ve just had to reduce my heavy weights and lower the gears on the cycle bike. I can’t go over 100rpm either because my little girl doesn't let me!

I’ve upped my food intake to 2,500- 2,600 kcals from 1,800 – 2,000 kcals depending on my workout and daily activities. I’ve had to start eating more in the morning. I used to fast three days a week until 2pm, but you can’t do that when you’re expecting. Food needs to be eaten little and often which is key.  

I enjoy eating more fruit and now have 4 to 5 pieces a day (pineapple, mango,​strawberries, peaches and plums) and a glass of 100% squeezed orange juice. I’ve been eating extra nuts, pumpkin seeds, eggs and full fat Greek yogurt.

I’ve stopped drinking: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/alcohol-medicines-drugs-pregnant/ 

In terms of special supplements or vitamins, I’ve been taking ‘The Very Finest Fish Oil’ (700mg) and Pregnacare Original.

As you’re carrying twins, do you have to take extra care?

I’m just making sure that I eat and drink enough for three – five to six small meals a day are better than three big ones.

What has surprised you the most about your pregnancy?

I’ve had to invest in some larger shoes - they didn't write that in the manual! I'm not very good at sitting still for too long, but I have to rest, otherwise my feet will swell up!

The female body is truly outstanding. My body has been changing and adapting every day. It’s mad to think there are three hearts beating inside of me. When I feel the babies kick, it’s alien to me - so strange, but amazing.

At 21 weeks, they started having a party! I was on the cycle bike teaching – I think they like loud music! 

How do you feel about the birth itself?

I’m looking forward to meeting them. I want to do it naturally as I hate needles. I'd love a water birth. I just want them both to be strong and healthy. I’m not worried about my body - it knows what to do, it’s built for this.

I plan to give my body a six-week break after the birth and then gradually get back into my fitness routine of five times a week at a gym nearer home. I'll have to be fit to take care of my twins. I want them to be like my husband and I – healthy and active. We both love the gym.

What are the most common held myths about keeping fit during pregnancy? 

Some people think you shouldn’t do exercise during pregnancy, which is madness! You have to be strong and fit to go through labour, to carry your babies around and to look after them. We are all built to move daily and exercise is movement - it only has to be 30 minutes a day, whatever you enjoy. Try to achieve a balance of weights, cardio, stretching walks and swimming.

What are you most looking forward to about motherhood?

All our dreams coming true and finally being a family. Vesper - our fur baby, Bengal cat – will get to have some play mates. Life doesn't get any better than that! 

I will be walking daily outside when the twins are here. Fresh air for us all and pretty views are good for the soul!

For anyone who loves fitness and is pregnant, what advice would you give them?

Trust your body and listen to it. Treat yourself to clothes and shoes as you need them.

The following reading material has helped me a lot:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/nhs-pregnancy-journey/

The Happy Birth Book: Your trusted A-Z of pregnancy, birth and the early weeks.

I’ve been using the ‘Neck and Back Massager Shiatsu Massage Pillow with Heat Deep Tissue Kneading Massager’ which has helped relieve my back.

I also recommend the ‘Birthing Ball Pregnancy Maternity Labour & Yoga Ball’ with their free trimester exercise guide and birth and recovery plan and ‘Pregnancy +’ from the App Store.

Any fitness advice for trying to conceive?

Both of you try exercising and eating / drinking healthily daily. Limit your alcohol intake to the NHS guidelines, cut out smoking, reduce stress and get enough sleep. Don't overthink or worry about it! I also recommend ‘Pregnacare Vitabiotics His and Her Conception’.

What services do the YMCA Club offer in terms of antenatal and post-natal fitness?

Hamit runs both antenatal and post-natal one-to-one sessions on Mondays between 11am and 5pm designed to help you to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy, delivery and after the birth.

To book a session in advance, please email hamit.buhara@ymca.co.uk

£15 for members and £20 for non-members.

Final words to the Club

To members and class participant - Keep at it! Effort equals rewards. You will be fitter and stronger every time. Your body banks the workouts! I will miss you all while I'm off, however, I’ll leave you in the hands of my dream team - Hamit, Edgaras and Adrian. They will take great care of you.

To my team - Thank you for everything you do. It’s been a pleasure working with you. You’re the best - Superstars!

I promise to pop in with the twins when I can. I hope to see everyone at the ‘Members’ Christmas Party’ on Weds 4th December from 6pm at Hudson’s House, St Giles Hotel for a mocktail!

Other YMCA Club features on pregnancy and fitness

https://www.ymcaclub.co.uk/blog/fitness/saying-safe-exercise-and-pregnancy

https://www.ymcaclub.co.uk/blog/what-exercise-can-you-do-whilst-pregnant

https://www.ymcaclub.co.uk/blog/fitness/beat-baby-weight

Claire.Gilderson | 4 November 2019