Why I’m Still Exercising While Pregnant

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.

running for two

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.

for two fitness tanks

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.

Nearing the finish line at the Firecracker 5k on July 4th Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Nearing the finish line at the Firecracker 5k on July 4th
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

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?

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82 Responses to Why I’m Still Exercising While Pregnant

  1. fruitionfitness says:

    Awesome job ignoring all the stares! I actually chose to not workout at all while I was pregnant (both times!). Sometimes I wish I had, because I gained a lot of weight, but I just never felt comfortable. I had also just completed huge events each time too, so I guess I was ready to pack it in for 9 months! I would never judge though…keep it up!!

  2. I say if you are feeling good and are able, then rock on with the exercise! I’ve only heard positive things about doing so.

  3. I think it’s just great! 18 years ago, when I had my oldest son, no one exercised. There were no guidelines for this. I didn’t run, but I kept up with my weight lifting and walking.

  4. I exercised during both pregnancies. Running, prenatal yoga and a prenatal dvd workout. I loved it all! I had to change my pace and then eventually had to stop running due to pelvic pain but I loved every minute of it!
    Good for you. Do what’s best for you and do what’s important to YOU!

  5. When I was pregnant, I learned very quickly that all sorts of people come out of the woodwork to tell you what’s right and best for your body. I’m glad you continued being active and figured out on your own what is healthiest and best for you. I did work out through my pregnancy, but had to stop because of pretty debilitating nerve pain affecting my back and legs. Next time, I’m hoping to be able to workout until the end! Wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy- you’re doing great, momma!

  6. Karen :0) says:

    I love this post and think you are awesome, Kathryn! Keep up the great work!!

  7. I always love how judgmental people can be about situations they have no business being concerned about. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking this post out. In a nutshell, she talks about how much running helped her labor and delivery. And she ran right up until the week before! http://runningonhealthy.com/2015/08/10/pregnancy-update-we-had-a-baby/ Let them shoot all the dirty looks they want. It’s your body and your baby!

  8. It’s so sad how people judge! As long as your doctor is ok with it then keep staying active girl! You know your body! I wish I had exercised when I was pregnant. I wasn’t active in general then so it never occurred to me to exercise while pregnant.

  9. It’s been a long time since I was pregnant so I’m a little surprised that exercising when you’re pregnant isn’t accepted as a normal thing that women can and should do. And the judging? Just let me say you show great restraint when people question your choices. I’d be very tempted to tell them what I thought of their opinion 🙂

  10. donna's love letters says:

    Impressive! I have just been motivated to start exercising! Well I’m not pregnant, not yet but I am too lazy to exercise. Pregnancy hormones tend to make you feel lazy yet you are still very active. It is such a shame on my part. I support you all the way! I am a nurse and it has been my observation that active patients have easier labor as compared to those who are sedentary.

  11. Lesley says:

    It’s amazing how many people suddenly have opinions about pregnancy and share it with complete strangers. Just tune the glares out and keep up the good work!

  12. Chaitali says:

    That is so weird that people would give you looks for exercising! I thought it was commonly accepted now that it is healthy to stay active during pregnancy. As long as it’s ok with you, Preston, and your doctor, no one else gets a say 🙂 Though I hear people continue to have opinions about things like this once you’re a parent too so I guess it’s good to get practice tuning them out starting now!

  13. Sharon says:

    So great that you are still exercising when pregnant! I tried but just could not keep it up and ended up not for both kiddos. If you feel well enough I say go for it. I think it’s awesome! So weird that people give you looks. Keep up the great work!!

  14. I’m so happy to see more and more people exercising while pregnant. Sitting on the couch eating for two isn’t doing Mom or baby any good. Who cares if people give you bad looks, you know what you’re doing is right and you’re probably making some other women out there more aware that it’s perfectly okay and acceptable to exercise pregnant.

  15. I think you rock! Screw those people who look at you in a judgmental way. You are a great role model.

  16. Sanibel says:

    I am right there with you girl and actually writing a similar post to share. Just hitting 30 weeks and finally feeling the need to modify a bit more and slow down. But man, those dirty, judgemental looks. Yep, screw them all.

  17. I think it is fabulous that you are still running and exercising and I was even thinking that the stronger your body is the easier you will be able to tolerate your labor ( I thought this before reading what your doctors had to say). I never gave it a thought that it could help with post pardom too. All good benefits. Don’t worry about what other people say. They are not YOU and don’t know how your body feels. As a friend’s though, I do worry about you running VA beach next month, not because of the distance ( I know you can do it), but because of the extreme heat. As you know, that race is always SO hot! Even I am dreading it! I do look forward to seeing you there though.
    PS, those people at the gym probably wish they would have kept up their fitness while pregnant too! You rock!

    • Thanks for your concern, Meranda. The heat is actually why Preston decided to sign up for RnRVB, even though he isn’t running as much anymore. He’s going to run the race with me so that if there’s a problem he’s right there. Can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks!

  18. caendicott says:

    Good for you! And you’re listening to your body and your doctors. Screw everyone else. Keep it up!

  19. I’m right there with you sister! I’ll be 21 weeks this Saturday and I’m still trotting along. Slower than usual, of course, but that doesn’t matter. My doctors align with everything yours have said and I think it’s beneficial. Some people think of pregnancy like a disease or condition. Give me a break! I’m just overly nice to those who stare. Kill em with kindness. Run on girl!

  20. when i was in atlanta recently, i took a pure barre class with my good friend who is 7 months pregnant. she rocked it and no one batted an eye. people should sometimes keep their opinions to themselves.

  21. Kristin says:

    I did not exercise with my little man but if I ever do have another baby I would hands down exercise again. Good for you, keep it up!

  22. Giving birth is the ultimate workout.. so it only makes sense that you still exercise/train for it! Ignore the people who have silly opinions.. they’re not worth your time!

  23. My good friend was pregnant and didn’t know it while she raced an Ironman. She kept excersising throughout her pregnancy and gave birth to a handsome boy last week. Good for you guys! I sat on the couch and took the opportunity to eat as much ice cream as I could. I think yours is the better way to go. congrats 🙂

  24. cassi9879 says:

    Unless the doctor says otherwise absolutely exercise throughout your pregnancy! Sure it may be less or modified but in general it’s good for all of you (saying all in case someone is carrying multiples LOL). I wasn’t into a healthy lifestyle when I was pregnant 14 years ago but now I’d definitely continue.

  25. Bleh, the pregnant exercise naysayers can be so disheartening sometimes (especially when coupled with pregnancy hormones)! Keep up your exercise routine as long as you’re feeling good and your doctor approves it!

    I ran through both of my pregnancies and I know it helped to make pregnancy more comfortable and kept me strong for labor & delivery. Plus, recovering after both babies went smoothly, too, mostly in part to keeping those muscles in shape. The week before baby #2 was born I wrote a post similar to yours >>> http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2015/05/how-why-i-run-during-pregnancy.html and I think we have many of our reasons in common. Do what you can and take the pregnancy one day at a time. It’s such a precious time and it goes way too fast!

    P.S. Congratulations on your baby on the way! I don’t think I congratulated you yet 🙂 Babies are such a blessing!
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

  26. I love this! I have two munchkins (almost 3 and almost 1) and I exercised with both of the. I ran 4 miles 3 days before I delivered my youngest. Way to go FitMomma… you keep it up!!!

  27. People are lame. I think EVERY article I’ve read online that has to do with “So you’re pregnant, now what?” ENCOURAGES women to START an exercise program (with approval from doctor of course). Now that the world realizes women’s uteruses won’t fall out if we run…I think we can all agree that being active through pregnancy should be the norm. My new doctor supports the idea of me running while pregnant so long as all things are on the up and up.

  28. Megan B says:

    I can’t believe that people are giving you looks about exercising!! That’s nuts!! I have 2 kids and didn’t really exercise when I was pregnant with either of them (sadly). It wasn’t until after my 2nd son was born that I started Weight Watchers and really began to regularly workout (walking and then it turned into running). Now I can’t imagine NOT exercising if I were to have another baby. Good for you! Keep it up!

  29. I think it’s awesome that you are still able to exercise and that you are still feeling well enough to be able to do so! When I was pregnant with little man, I hadn’t yet started running and I was so sick and dehydrated during my first two trimesters. By the time I got to the third, I was just thrilled to be able to be upright on the couch without nausea LOL! Of course, little man had lodged himself up into my ribs, so I wasn’t able to eat very much – instant way to keep pregnancy weight away!

    Keep up the great work!

  30. cheriarmour says:

    Good for you for keeping active while pregnant! One of my hopes when we get pregnant is for me to remain active, eat healthy, and be able to get back into fighting shape at some point in the year or so after my pregnancy! You are doing great things for both you and your baby!

  31. runsaltrun says:

    FANTASTIC post and I’m so glad you wrote it. I’ll tell you this right now…I’m pretty sure that staying active while I was pregnant helped immensely in the end with my recovery and ability to lose the baby weight. You’ve been a total superstar! I have no doubt that this will make such a huge difference in the long run for you. 🙂

  32. Mrs.BarBelle says:

    You go girl! You look great and are definitely an inspiration to someone like me, who is very nervous that having kiddos one day will interrupt the wonderful part of my life that is getting my sweat on. Thanks for sharing!

  33. MaryBeth | The Thrive Blog says:

    I’m 24 weeks & happily still running 3 miles 4x a week at a much slower pace!

    You go, mama!

    MB

  34. I can’t believe people still give others dirty looks or disapproving stares. I thought that it is now generally known that exercising while pregnant is a GOOD thing. I know my mom has seen pregnant women exercising and she will be like “aren’t they afraid of exercising while pregnant?I’d be afraid.” and I’ve had conversations with her about how now it’s okay and encouraged to do so.Obviously if a doctor says no, then you won’t! As I always say to my sister when we joke about things/people being annoying, “Peeps ain’t got no clue.” lol Who are they to judge???

  35. If I ever stare at a pregnant woman working out, its mostly because they are more of a beast at the gym than I am, even though I am not pregnant! It’s out of admiration!

    I hope that when the time comes that we have children, that I’m able to work out throughout my pregnancy. I agree that its healthy for both momma and baby, and I think its great. I will likely decrease the intensity, but there’s no need to quit altogether!

  36. I think it’s awesome that you’re still exercising! I exercised through my pregnancy and was thrilled to have a very smooth, four hour labor, quick recovery, and of course most importantly – a healthy baby! I loved yoga while pregnant especially…very relaxing and the stretching went a long way to ease aches and pains. I’d definitely keep up with exercising if we have another child. Try to ignore people who give you looks – you know you’re doing what is right for your baby and yourself and that’s all that matters!

  37. You do you and ignore the debbie downers at the gym! I definitely think some people still think of pregnancy as a “condition” and that when pregnant, you shouldn’t do much: so not true! I think it is AWESOME that you are putting such an emphasis on your exercise habits and I think it will only benefit you when you give birth and afterwards. and one day when I get pregnant (which will definitely be in 5+ years) I plan on exercising as much as I am capable of.

  38. You’re so right, everyone is different and every pregnant woman is different! With my experience, I would definitely recommend core work while pregnant, and keep active as long as possible! It really will make everything more pleasant 🙂

  39. priya says:

    I did not exercise during both pregnancies.Times were so different then. You look great.

  40. Sam @ PancakeWarriors says:

    I think it’s great you are still exercising while pregnant! I’m all about women staying active during pregnancy, why would you stop your passion just because you are pregnant?

  41. eliz frank says:

    Frankly, it’s nobody’s business that you choose to exercise while pregnant. You’ve consulted your doctors and they are fine with it. While this might not work for some women, especially those with high risk pregnancies, it works for you.

  42. jillconyers says:

    You, my friend, are such an inspiration!

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  44. Traci says:

    Exercising has so many benefits for you and the baby! Keep it up, momma! 💪

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