Hi everyone! My name is Michelle and I am the mother of two young girls and an avid athlete. I participate in many events including 5k’s, marathons, triathlons and the occasionally dangerous mud runs. But those races pale in comparison to dodging flying sippy cups and hurdling the random toys that find the bottom of your foot at midnight when you are trying desperately to stay quiet so the baby doesn’t wake up. Does that mean that when a woman gets that “positive” test result back, she immediately takes off the running shoes and props her feet up for 9 months?
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, most of my time was spent in the drive-through at McDonald’s This did not bode well for my body, plaguing it with large amounts of weight gain, back pain, and those dreaded STRETCH MARKS. After having her, I worked my butt off (literally) to get to that goal that most new moms strive for – pre-pregnancy weight. It isn’t impossible to get rid of the baby weight, but it isn’t easy either.
Becoming pregnant with my second child, I was bound and determined to change the stigma of a pregnant woman’s fate. I would not gain excessive weight. I would lose the baby weight quickly. This was my mantra. I continued running, swimming, and cycling long into my third trimester. My workouts were altered a bit, but I pushed on until I gave birth.
While I thought all of these were great ways to keep the pounds off, I met great opposition while exercising. As I swam laps, jogged around the track, or even posted to Facebook about exercising, I was told “Be careful” and “ Shouldn’t you be stopping that now?” I found myself defending my efforts to stay in shape more often than getting a pat on the back. Why? I wasn’t running a marathon 39 weeks pregnant like a woman in the Chicago Marathon last year, but what if I did? What makes it wrong for a woman to stay active during her pregnancy? Here are a few things I heard while I was pregnant:
- Running is going to hurt your baby! Not. True. That kiddo is packed so tight in there; You won’t hurt your little one by running. They aren’t going to get jostled loose. I wore a support belt while running and jogged or walked when I felt even a little fatigued just to be more cautious.
- You are depriving your baby of nutrients! What’s funny is that many times I heard this from someone who was eating candy or something equally as unhealthy. The baby gets what he or she needs from your body. You are the one that suffers from lack of nutrients if you don’t take care of yourself, not the baby. Just make sure to eat healthy and stay hydrated to keep up your supply of the good stuff.
- That will put you into premature labor! I assure you, it did not. If something was said to take a few days off of my pregnancy, I tried it. If you have a healthy, normal pregnancy, exercising will not cause harm and will actually help you in many ways.
- You are eating for two! I know a lot of women that took advantage of being pregnant by constantly shoveling junk food into their mouths (me included in my first pregnancy). 300 calories does NOT give you permission to eat a whole cheesecake every day for 9 months. So when a pregnant woman eats healthy, why do so many people find it necessary to push them to this excessive behavior?
- You can’t change your baby if you exercise or not. This sounds weird, but I’ll explain. I heard this from my doctor. We spoke about my exercising and how I was trying to reduce the weight gain that I had acquired in my first pregnancy. The doctor told me I was going to have a HUGE baby based on my first pregnancy and that I would need to have a c-section to get her out. My OB/GYN made me feel like I was brainless for insisting that I was helping my child by exercising and eating better and gaining less weight. “That doesn’t affect your baby. Your baby is going to be larger no matter what you do.” After half of my pregnancy of going back and forth with him on this, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, and SMALLER than her sister, baby girl. While doctors can be smart, I think he (and many others) has this wrong. While I am not a medical professional, I think you can positively affect your baby while pregnant. Staying active helped me tone my body for giving birth, but maybe it also helps keep unnecessary things out of my system and furthermore, my unborn child’s system. If you can negatively affect your child with drugs or alcohol, why can’t you positively affect them with a good diet and exercise?
I think a lot of this goes back to people wanting an excuse to be lazy. In reality, you always can make an excuse to not do something. Pregnancy isn’t an excuse. If you should exercise and eat healthy normally, why would that change when you are trying to bring another person into this world? You should want what is best for you and your baby. It’s not just about you anymore.
As long as you keep your doctor in the loop on your activity level and they approve, your positive activities during your pregnancy will bring positive results. A healthier baby, a healthier mom, and a jump-start on that post-pregnancy bikini body.
You might even help that little one appreciate fitness as well. Can you say future Olympian??© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running