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prenatal yoga and prenatal worries

March 15, 2011

Last weekend, I attended my first session of prenatal yoga. I’ve attended yoga classes on and off for the past three years but I’m really not someone who would call herself a yoga enthusiast. I’ve gone to yoga because, as a runner, I recognize the benefits of stretching and lengthening those muscles that I’m constantly tightening and contracting while out on a run. Yoga is good for me but I’ve never truly loved it.

Prenatal yoga was completely different. I truly loved Saturday’s session. Although you supposedly get more flexible while pregnant, I’ve found myself to often feel stiff, achy, and mildly uncomfortable. The modified yoga stretches we did loosened up all those stiff muscles and made me feel tall and slim and stretchy (instead of short, tubby, and immobile). But the best part of prenatal yoga was the community. We spent the first 15 minutes of class sharing our latest pregnancy news, exchanging tips, and commiserating together. This, more then the stretching, did my body a whole lot of good.

In my pregnancy news, I had both ups and downs to share. Our big ‘up’ was finding out what we were having and getting really excited about envisioning a little girl and coming up with a name for her. We picture her running around with Indie in our backyard, helping us plant our garden, getting dirty in the soil, and laughing over how silly her dog-sister is when roaming the backyard. We talk about taking her camping with us, taking her to Romania to meet her extended family, teaching her to ride a bike and sharing our love of books, science, baking, and traveling with her. Although we were picturing all of things things before we knew the sex of our baby, knowing that we’re having a little girl and giving her a name gives all of our fantasies an even more concrete and solid feel.

Our excitement at finding out about our little girl was somewhat dampened by receiving some not so good news at the ultrasound. It turns out that little C. has a rare condition called SUA – a single artery umbilical cord. Instead of three vessels, her cord only has two vessels (one artery and one vein). We spent the week after receiving this news frantically reading everything we could on the subject and, naturally, fearing the worst. We’ve since come to terms with this news and are hopeful that little C. will still be strong and healthy despite this setback. Many babies with SUA are still born perfectly healthy and we have every reason to believe that C. will be one of them. She looks perfect now and all her little organs are growing and developing just as they should be. And after all, as the descendent of immigrants who have survived a dictatorship and three immigrations within ten years, she’s made of tough stuff. There’s no way that a little cord problem is getting her down.

T. and I are coming to terms with this news and we’ve found that talking about it, reading forums where others talk about their experiences (especially when positive), and being open about it is the most helpful in allowing us to accept this news and incoorporate it into the everyday reality of my pregnancy. This is why I found the prenatal yoga class so helpful – talking to other pregnant women about their pregnancies, realizing that most are not ‘perfect’, and sharing stories and experiences felt very therapeutic to me.

In terms of how this affects my lifestyle while pregnant – it doesn’t affect it all that much right now. I’ve still been cleared to continue excercising and cycling and there are no dietary changes that can help with this. It’s just a matter of monitoring baby and keeping tabs on her growth and development especially in the third trimester. So I will continue to bike to work, attend these wonderful prenatal yoga classes, run (aka shuffle) around my neighborhood with Indie, and dream of a not too distant future when I get to do so many of these things with C. by my side and not in utero. Until then, we’re just urging her to keep growing and developing like the strong little fighter that she is. ~ S.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. Brooke permalink
    March 15, 2011 10:16


    As happy stories help, I thought I’d let you know that my good friends had a SUA baby about 4 months ago and she’s doing fabulously! She had two skin tags that they removed (with a rubberband), but other than that she’s in perfect health. Wishing you a healthy pregnancy!


    • March 15, 2011 11:01

      Thanks, Brooke, this kind of anecdotal evidence that all will be fine is really what makes me feel a lot better, so thanks for sharing that :)


  2. March 15, 2011 10:18

    So glad to hear that there may not be anything major to worry about with the little bebe. Keep us up to date on that, we’ll keep her in our thoughts :)

    Also glad to hear the prenatal yoga is working out so well – in any situation in life, it’s nice to have people in a similar situation to talk to about it, and really your physical and emotional health is all related, so I can imagine that “getting some weight off your chest” actually might feel physically relieving as well, plus the added physical and emotional benefit of the yoga. I know acupuncture can also be very beneficial for pregnant women – our acupuncturist (who is German, by the way) specializes in prenatal care.

    Have fun dreaming, and best wishes with all the stuff involved in getting ready for her to arrive!

  3. March 15, 2011 11:10

    First off, congratulations on a little girl. That is amazing! I am sending you good thoughts for your baby. In these kind of cases, attitude is so important. And yours is really great. So keep on dreaming and planning. That baby girl is going to keep you one busy mama!

  4. March 15, 2011 11:23

    best of luck to your little one – she’ll be grand!

  5. March 15, 2011 12:19

    We’ll keep you & your family in our prayers. Little girls are fab!

  6. Rosa permalink
    March 15, 2011 12:32

    Long time lurker, but just to let you know that I always read your blog, and it’s so inspirational! Just to let you know that I am thinking of you and the bump and wishing you both the very very best.

  7. Kristin permalink
    March 15, 2011 12:35

    Did you go in for a second 3D ultrasound? I too was told that our baby (due April 4!) was thought to have a SUA also and we were scheduled for a more advance ultrasound and a closer look. The more detailed ultrasound was able to get a better view and it was determined everything was normal – they just couldn’t see the third vessel. Regardless of the presence of 2 or 3 vessels I’m sure everything will go splendidly for you and your little girl but you may want to look into getting a closer look if possible.

    • March 15, 2011 13:17


      thanks for the advice! We did get sent to a perinatal center where we had a ‘level 2’ ultrasound, which also included 3D images. They definitely confirmed it to be a 2 vessel cord with that but they also then took a really close look at all the organs and everything looked good, so that made us feel a lot better. I’m glad to hear that they ruled yours out as a misreading! I wish you a healthy pregnancy for the rest of your third trimester!


  8. March 15, 2011 12:48

    All the happiest, warmest, healthiest thoughts for you and baby C.

  9. March 15, 2011 15:12

    Sorry to hear that lovely girl. But it seems like she couldn’t have better parents who will turn this around into a strong, positive experience. x

  10. Charlotte permalink
    March 15, 2011 15:31

    I haven’t gone off to google about this yet, I will just share one moment from my pregnancy which is not meant to scare you, but rather to help keep everyone safe.

    I was lucky enough to go on a beach vacation at 5 months along. On that vacation our group went out swimming in a place where the waves were much larger and stronger than they appeared. I quickly realized that it was all too much for me and panicked in my need to get back on shore *NOW*. Thankfully my husband is a much stronger swimmer and former lifeguard and he helped me get to shore safely (though not instantly) where I stayed firmly planted for the rest of our time at that beach.

    As I sat down there and calmed down a bit I realized that my heart was racing in my panic. But what was scary/surprising to me was how violently I could feel the placenta pulsing. It was like a syncopated rhythm section in my body and it was not comfortable at all.

    As I sit here and say a little prayer for you and baby C. I hope that you will never get in a situation like I did. Stay safe and play things to the conservative side, because it turns out they’re not always what they seem. :(

    -Charlotte, and the still un-named one

  11. Imogen permalink
    March 15, 2011 15:32

    That is big news! Congratulations on finding out you’re having a girl and thankyou for sharing the finding of SUA. You write an inspiring blog and I wish you good health through the rest of your pregnancy.

  12. March 15, 2011 17:55

    Congratulations on your little C, and may all your love protect her today and always!

  13. Tracy permalink
    March 15, 2011 18:08

    My sister-in-law had a 2-vessel cord with her second pregnancy, and her baby turned out perfectly fine, so I have confidence that your baby will be just fine, too. It’s scary when something goes “wrong” with a pregnancy, and mothers are really, really good at worrying!

    Yoga is a good choice of activity for all the reasons you mentioned, including promoting mental calmness. I did prenatal yoga with both my pregnancies, which was the only thing that would alleviate the relentless ache in my hips.

  14. Erin permalink
    March 15, 2011 18:27

    Congratulations on your baby girl C! I am also mommy to a baby girl C and to her dog-sister named Indy. :) I, too had prenatal worries (thankfully the test were incorrect) but I am confident your baby girl will be just fine. My little C and I will be thinking about you and your little C…

  15. March 15, 2011 19:27

    Keep ‘on shufflin’! You and your baby girl are going to be strong and awesome!

  16. March 15, 2011 20:39

    Thanks for all your kind comments and well wishes, everyone! And for those stories of other SUA babies born healthy, I can’t get enough of those! :)


  17. March 16, 2011 07:37

    You are always such an inspiration, and I’m sure you will be for your little girl, too. What a lucky little one to have such a healthy, active and intelligent mother. Here’s to hoping she’s the fighter you are.

  18. March 16, 2011 08:39

    Congratulations on having a little girl, S.! I’m sorry you have something to worry about during this time, but it sounds like good outcomes are more common than not — and any daughter of yours has got to have plenty of spirit. :) Your family is in my thoughts! I look forward to hearing about a happy and healthy baby C. going to yoga and jogging along with you this summer.

  19. Jennifer permalink
    March 16, 2011 13:01

    Wishing you and little C well, S. Oh, and I love the expression dog-sister!

  20. March 16, 2011 18:42


    Little C has already captured all our hearts and she’s so lucky to have such a strong mama (and papa) who inspire us all everyday. Little C is one lucky little girl!      

  21. March 16, 2011 18:45

    Congratulations on your little girl! I have really enjoyed your blog and appreciate that you write with such honesty–it’s so refreshing! Sending many positive thoughts and well wishes your way.

  22. Sarah permalink
    March 16, 2011 23:47

    A sweet baby girl! I am a Momma of boys – but still dream of the pink some day!
    I know all too well the bitter sweet taste of up/down baby news. Please know, and this truly helped me, is that there is NO perfect pregnancy. It is far more likely that you must go over a few hurdles through out your pregnancy than none at all. I would encourage you to advocate for yourself, and continue to seek answers through your medical community until you are satisfied. Knowledge truly is power.
    I will be thinking about your family, looking forward to your updates. :)

  23. Laura permalink
    March 17, 2011 00:25

    I didn’t use to follow any blog before I came across academichic by pure chance about two months ago (kuddos to the four of you on that one!) and thereafter this other one on healthy living and one of my favorite things: bikes! I appreciate the simplicity, straight forwardness, positive energy and beauty that irradiates from what you show us in your writing and pictures. Keep up with the mom to-be excitement and the wonderful way of sharing and reflecting about life. Wishing you and your family all the best!

  24. March 17, 2011 01:09

    Ooh a girl. How cute. Sorry to hear about the SUA scare but sounds like there is lots of reassurance even with that in minds. Here’s to a healthy and happy pregnancy for you!!!

  25. Erin permalink
    March 17, 2011 09:11

    Mum S: I’m sorry you got scary news; I’m thinking of you and your family. You’re right, though — your baby gal is made of tough stuff! Enjoy the rest of your spring break.

  26. Kathleen permalink
    March 18, 2011 12:54

    I’ll be praying for you and baby C! Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly. I’m glad you found a support group in your yoga class – it helps so much to know other people have the same fears we do.

  27. Julia permalink
    March 18, 2011 14:19

    Congratulations on your little baby girl!! I just wanted to tell you that my family and I are sending lots of positive thoughts and energy your way. I agree with someone above who said that there is NO perfect pregnancy. I was in a similar position to yours though it wasn’t an SUA – I am a first-time mom and at 20 week ultrasound they told me that he had a small anomaly called a choroid plexus cyst in his brain (aka a CPC – abbreviations for everything!!). I know how you feel coz I remember being terrified and I cried so much at first. But after reading as much as I could about it and going to several online forums, I was worn out and decided to stay positive and as healthy as I could. Am happy to say, my baby was born healthy, is now 10 months old and doing just fine. Just keep thinking of all the perfectly healthy babies that are born all over the world every single day and yours WILL be one of them. And no matter what you will love her soooo much!
    We will be thinking of you and baby C!!

    • March 21, 2011 13:25

      Thanks, Julia! We actually had a CPC too, which we also detected on the 20 week ultrasound but which was gone by the time we did the level 2 ultrasound (to confirm the cord thing) a week later. So had we even had our ultrasound a week later, we would never have known it was there (I’m not sure whether that would be better or not, but just a thought I have). We’re assuming that the two are unrelated and since the CPC already cleared up, that’s a good thing. Everything we read suggests that they’re usually not something to worry about, as your example enforces as well. But because it was there and we also have the SUA, we could have two soft markers for some birth defects or disabilities. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well and that little C. comes out healthy and fne.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement! It’s always good to hear from others who went through similar things and had happy healthy babies!


  28. Ceri permalink
    March 22, 2011 23:41

    Hi S.
    Just wanted to let you know I am carrying a baby with SUA. My OB-GYN has never had a problem with any of her patients with the condition.


    • March 23, 2011 11:01

      Ceri, thanks so much for writing this! I’m also feeling pretty confident based on everything our doctors and midwives have said that she should be perfectly fine and healthy. They also said that most SUA babies they see are just fine. Wishing you all the best as well! S.

  29. March 24, 2011 09:58

    Always scary to have any kind of problems during pregnancy, we’ve been fortunate with our first two. We’ll keep you in our prayers! Keep bikin…

  30. Patty permalink
    March 27, 2011 10:21

    S –

    I’ve been reading academic chic for the last 2 years and recently discovered simply bike when you announced your pregnancy. I’m also due in July – with a girl. I’m a bike commuter in Chicago and admire that you’ve had the energy to keep biking. I gave it up with the first trimester exhaustion and am just now getting back on the bike. We also found out at the 20 week ultrasound that our baby has SUA. When I realized that there is nothing I can do about it – just like you have – I figured all I can do is try to be calm and just remain hopeful. I take yoga regularly and the prenatal yoga classes have been great at staying positive and present to allow me to enjoy the pregnancy.

    Next time you’re in Chicago I’d love to take a ride with you and Dottie!


  31. Lisa permalink
    May 30, 2011 17:56

    Yay for babies! I wanted to let you know that our Little M will be three in January. She was born with SUA. She had an ultrasound the night she was born and everything else was just fine. I drove myself crazy looking up the condition, imagining the worse case scenarios. She’s just fine. She’s as well developed as any gorgeous two-year-old I’ve ever met. We just make a point to let her new doctors know about her condition when ever we move so they’re aware of it. Good luck to you!

    • May 30, 2011 19:03

      Thanks, Lisa! That’s wonderful to hear! We went a bit mad at first reading all the worst case scenario stuff online but we’ve since managed to calm ourselves a little and now we also just hope for the best. It’s always great to hear from others who had SUA babies who are doing just fine, so thanks for sharing that!


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