I’ve been debating writing this post for a couple of weeks now. Before I get any further into this post, let me just emphasize the importance of consulting with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Since I announced my pregnancy back in June, many people have expressed how impressed they are that I’m still running, and in general, staying active during my pregnancy. I’ll be honest, there are days when I don’t feel up to it, whether its because I’m exhausted, feeling overwhelmed by everything involved with getting ready for a baby, or just dealing with life in general. At the same though, there have also been plenty of days when its felt amazing to put on my running shoes and head out for a run, no matter how fast or slow my pace has been.
And while I’m being honest, I have to share that I’ve also encountered a fair number of people who have looked at me with disgust when they find out that I’ve chosen to continue to exercise while pregnant. They’ve expressed that this should be the time for me to sit back on the couch and let others take care of chores around the house for me. And don’t get me started on some of the looks that I get from others when I’m at the gym. Whether they’re shocked to see a pregnant woman lifting weights or running on the treadmill, or they disagree with my working out, you could cut ice with some of the looks that I’ve received both from trainers at the gym as well as other gym patrons.
In not so distant times, pregnant women were encouraged to cut down or cut out exercise altogether while they were pregnant. However, there is plenty of research to indicate that exercising while pregnant has plenty of benefits for both the mother and growing baby. I won’t go into the exhaustive list of benefits, as there are plenty of articles out on the Internet, including here, here, and here.
So why am I choosing to stay active during pregnancy? There’s several reasons, including:
- There’s countless health benefits for both myself and the baby
- It helps with managing my exhaustion
- It helps me to stay sane
- My OBs are encouraging me to stay active (I’m a patient at a practice where I rotate around seeing four different physicians), as per their experience the more active a pregnant woman is the more tolerable labor will be, and the easier it will be to bounce back after delivery
Yes, I’ve had to make some modifications to my exercise routine. Now that I’m just one day shy of 21 weeks pregnant, I’m running at a slower pace than I’d like to be, and I’m not doing as much lower body weight training as I used to because after awhile it causes too much round ligament pain. However, my hope is that I can continue exercising for the duration of my pregnancy. I’m sure there will come a point when my body won’t be able to handle running anymore, at which point I’ll turn to more walking and time on the elliptical for my cardio workouts.
Its important to note that I’m continuing to exercise with the full approval of my doctors. However, should I be told at some point that I need to back off and take it easy, I’ll of course heed their advice. At my OB appointment two weeks ago, my doctor emphasized the importance of core work for pregnant women and how it will not only make labor pains more bearable, but that it’ll help to expedite my postpartum recovery.
Whether or not you’re able to, or choose to, exercise during pregnancy, its important to recognize that pregnant women are just as much human beings as any other person who exercises. They are just as deserving of receiving support for exercise as those who are trying to turn from an unhealthy to a healthy lifestyle are, or those who have been exercising for years.
And with that, I’m off to the gym where I’m sure I’ll face the usual stares and glares from those who just don’t understand why it is that I’m exercising while pregnant.
QOTD: If you are a mother, did you exercise while pregnant? If you aren’t a mother, would you exercise, or encourage your significant other, to exercise during pregnancy?