Mama’s got a baby bump

I’m now entering the third trimester of my pregnancy. As expected, tennis has changed for me. Of course I’m not feeling as mobile and don’t have the stamina, and I am certainly not going after the ball as aggressively.

Tiffani at 27 weeks, wearing the 2010 adidas Roland Garros skort and Reebok Fall Textured Tank

However, the biggest challenge, which might be surprising to some, is what to wear on the court. I’ve been able to adjust my playing style and schedule, though I miss tennis with my limited playing status. For apparel, though, there isn’t specific maternity tennis apparel. There are several places that sell maternity clothing, and some even have sections that they label “activewear.” In my experience (this is my first pregnancy), the activewear is more suited for yoga or post workout — I am not going to play tennis in velour pants, thank you very much. So I’ve made adjustments to my existing tennis/workout wardrobe and a few purchases, too.

The length of the top is key to fitting my growing baby bump.

On top, I’ve been wearing some of my larger t-shirts. I normally wear a women’s small, but I’ve also been wearing men’s small tees, which don’t exactly fit into my notion of “cute.” The length of the top has been the biggest obstacle. As the baby bump grows, tops need to be longer and longer to fit over it. I’ve found that the women’s Nike Team Pro Basic Top is a good fit for me. I went with a medium, and it works like a charm. It’s not flashy, but it’s a performance tee that I don’t mind working up a sweat in. When I want to go for a cute look, I’ve pulled out my bloussant type tops, which offer a billowy fit. Tops with a style like the Lija Fall Magnetic Tank and Reebok Fall Textured Tank have worked best for me. They fit over the belly and show it off at the same time. Again, these tops are a size larger than I normally would wear.

Finding comfortable bottoms has been somewhat of a challenge. To the gym, I really like the Fila Supplex pants (conveniently available in three lengths as well as capris) from the Personal Performance collection. The material is so soft and just the right thickness for comfort and, ahem, coverage (no VPL). Also the low-rise waist is easily adjusted for the baby belly. On court, I have been wearing my Nike Power Knit Shorts below the bump with some success, but sometimes a girl just wants to wear a skirt/skort for tennis! Therein lies my biggest challenge. I have one skort that I got one size larger than I would have pre-pregnancy and has a low rise. It’s the skort from this year’s adidas Roland Garros line.

The other items are a cinch. Socks and shoes, no problem, those fit just like before. Hey, I can even still even bend over and tie my own shoes, though I hear that becomes tougher in the final months!

Thanks for any advice anyone can offer.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW

Entering a new phase in life – and tennis

A lot of my clothes are starting to feel a bit snug these days, and even my tennis gear, which is full of spandex, is starting to get tight. Why, you might ask. Well here it is: My husband and I are expecting our first child.

I'll soon be buying more of these than skorts! (Pictured Hiho Batik onesie)

We’re in the second trimester now, and I am still playing tennis and will continue to play as long as possible. In the first trimester, I really played like pre-pregnancy, but now I’ve cut back to a couple days a week with trips to the gym filling my other days. I’m also finding that I won’t chase down every drop shot because I get short of breath much more quickly. My doctor tells me that I can continue playing until I feel my balance start to go. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. The doctor also says to keep my heart rate under 140, which with my style of play could prove game changing.

I classify myself as a counter puncher, and it can take me quite a few strokes to win a point. I use my quickness and stamina to my advantage. During a recent baseline game against Jason, it really hit home that my playing style had a limited shelf life. He was dictating this point, moving me side to side. He hit to my forehand, pulling me slightly wide just into the alley. I had been going cross court and up the middle on my replies, so I opted to mix it up and went down the line trying to wrong foot him on his weaker side. As the ball crossed the net, I realized I was done with this point. I wouldn’t be able to recover if he responded with a cross court to my backhand because I wouldn’t have the time — or much energy left — to recover. Luckily, my gamble paid off, but I realized then that this pregnancy might be changing my tennis game sooner than later. I simply can’t hit 20 balls trying to get a ball that I can attack.

As the groundstroke games with Jason went on, I began trying to come into the net earlier, which I hope will start to pay off, but right now my volley game is miserable. The drop shot came out as well, but I was at times left standing behind the baseline scratching my head on why I would hit a dropper from that court position. I’ll figure something out, but as the weeks go on, I’m really discovering that the baby won’t only be life changing, but also game changing.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW