When I found out I was expecting, one of the first questions I asked the midwife was if I could play golf during my pregnancy. They told me that as long as I listened to my body then the exercise would be good for me, so I played right through until the eighth month.
Initially I really had to motivate myself to get up and out of the door, but I found the fresh air was really helpful, especially in the first trimester. Once I got through the morning sickness I felt really energised, and I played loads in the second and third trimesters – even if it was only nine holes.
I only really stopped because the weather was so bad in the final weeks before Christmas. I’ve been working really hard on my game over the past couple of years, and I didn’t want to lose all that momentum just because I had a tiny human growing inside me.
And weirdly, I actually hit a real purple patch and found myself playing really well. My partner said that I was turning better through the ball – basically because I had to! If I didn’t turn and I started getting ‘handsy’ through impact, then my bump would get in the way, so I had to clear my hips. I also found that the carrying a little extra weight lowered my centre of gravity, which helped to make me feel more stable.
But I think part of it was also psychological. I tended to play with more caution – any twist or twinge made me feel a bit uneasy; and as I got bigger I had to restrict my swing a bit. That meant that I lost some distance, but my accuracy and consistency improved. And most importantly, I just cared less. I was just pleased to be out on the course playing the game that I love – and I seemed to play better as a result. I think there’s a lesson there for all of us!
It seemed weird to me that people would just assume that I would stop playing when I told them I was pregnant. But on the course I had nothing but positive experiences – loads of people said “good on you”, both men and women.
Being so into the fashion side of the sport was probably the most frustrating part of playing whilst pregnant. From the second trimester 90 per cent of my golf wardrobe was out of commission. I had to use the old hairband trick (to act as an extension of my trouser waist band) came into regular use and the band got bigger and bigger. The fact that my third trimester fell in the autumn/winter made it a little easier as I could at least cover my bump with baggy layers. I dread to think what I’d have done if it fell in the summer – that might have been a dealbreaker…
Strangely, i’ve always liked the name Birdie, well before I had an interest in golf. When our beautiful baby girl arrived we decided we couldn’t go through with it – imagine if she grew up hating golf! But I can’t wait to introduce baby Margot to the game – she’s already coming to the range with me, and as soon as she can stand up I’m going to stick a golf club in her hands.
Follow Lauren at Instagram.com/guiltyofgolf