Tuesday, April 3, 2012

exercising & pregnancy

The other day I stumbled upon the website Fitness for Two, and found the most adorable workout shirts for Mommies to be. I quickly ordered myself a black tank top....



it says "toning for two". love it!
It is comfortable and great to work out in. I can't wait for them to restock so I can order myself a "sweating for two" in pink. I can wear it throughout my pregnancy without worrying about my belly popping out or my shirts being too tight. Plus the ruching on the sides is very falttering.


As most of you know, or have quickly figured out, I have been able to continue my regular exercise routine so far. Of course I have made modifications when needed, like no more jumping (it makes me really nervous), no rolling around on my belly, and listening to my body more. My trainer is aware that I am expecting and cuts me some slack (thankfully). But since I have been doing my boot camp style workouts for almost two years, when I got pregnant I continued them. I was told that if I was doing it before, I could continue during my pregnancy, as long as I was low risk and was not experiencing any pain. So I have. And every month I am surprised that I can still participate in the classes. And when the day comes when my belly is just too big or I don't feel up to the classes, I will walk, or cycle, or yoga. I should start the yoga now, but I have never been a big yoga fan. Too boring. haha.

Personally, I think it is important for a pregnant woman to get plenty of exercise, for her health (and sanity) and the baby's. My motto is: what's good for Mom is good for baby. Unfortunately I recently read in a pregnancy book a friend gave me, The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, that exercise and pregnancy don't mix. I was seriously appalled. Shocked. Angered. So pissed that I have decided to blog about it and discuss the eight reasons listed in the book for not exercising.

1. You will be too tired - while the first trimester tiredness did affect me, it did not hit me as hard as it does other people. I can definitely understand why some women would be too tired to do anything, and sometimes you just need to rest. But for me, I found that exercising gave me energy and I actually felt less tired throughout the day. Same with caffeine, when I stopped drinking it in the morning, I wasn't nearly as tired during the day. Who knew? My conclusion: this could be a valid reason, but don't use it as an excuse during your entire pregnancy to do nothing. You may find that working out actually makes you less tired!

2. You will not look good in leotard - this is not a good reason to quit exercising. Buy other pants or shorts, or wear a longer shirt. Go for a walk outside if you hate the gym. It's not a beauty contest. I don't wear makeup to the gym because I'm there to workout, not impress people. You are pregnant and beautiful and who cares what someone else thinks.

3. You will get fat anyways - seriously?? So because I am going to gain weight regardless, I should just stop exercising and eat?! Pregnant or not, this is a piss poor excuse. Shame on the book for even putting it in there. Shame. You are exercising for your health and the baby's, NOT to lose weight!

4. Exercise will not help you in labor and delivery in any way - Now, I am not a doctor, and I have never had a baby before, but it still seems a little wrong. I googled and found plenty of articles on various pregnancy sites praising exercise and how it helps during childbirth. I imagine that the endurance you build up when you exercise could come in handy during a long labor. I have been told yoga and pilates is great for stretching and relaxing the muscles. Since this book was written in 1995, I have decided to let this slide without too much of an argument. Perhaps it is just out of date.

5. You might endanger the pregnancy - as long as you aren't trying to run your first marathon the minute you find out you're pregnant, or working out until you are blue in the face, I disagree. If you happen to workout and see spotting, yes, take it easy and always clear it with your doctor first. And while this author used only her own experience to make her argument, I still think it is in poor taste. Putting it in a book, which a lot of first time Moms will read and use as a guide of what to do, is not a good idea. This is not backed up by any scientific evidence and it annoys me that it is even in the book.

6. Even if you don't endager the pregnancy, if something (God forbid) goes wrong, you will forever wonder if your exercising caused it - this I can (unfortunately) somewhat agree with. If something were to happen to my baby, I would definitely wonder if the exercising caused it. However, I would also wonder if it could have been caused by the bath I took before I knew I was pregnant, or that lunch meat I ate (even though it was heated up), or maybe it was the feta cheese in that salad that one time, or the cesar salad dressing the other night. Seriously, you could blame a million things. One of them may be the cause, or it could be something with the baby or your body, there is no way to tell. If you are really concerned, talk to your doctor or wait until the first trimester is over. But don't use it as an excuse to do nothing! Get some fresh air and go for a walk.....go for a swim. But don't huddle up inside the house afraid to move because of all the what if's.

7. It's "nine months up and nine months down" in the weight gain department no matter what you do - again, I am not exercising to lose weight. I am exercising to be healthy. I am not weighing myself every single day and crying over every pound gained. I like the way working out makes me feel, regardless of the number on the scale. You shouldn't just give up and do nothing because this book says it won't make a difference.

8. Our compulsion to exercise when we are pregnant is a reflection of our inability to surrender and let nature run its course - I don't know, maybe she is right on this one? Maybe I am trying to maintain my "pre baby" life in some way? Control the situation when possible? Maybe, but at the end of the day, read #7.....I like how it makes me feel. I sleep better, I eat better, I have more energy, I am less tired. I think exercising and maintaining my "normal" routine has allowed me to enjoy a smooth pregnancy so far (knock on wood). Or maybe I just got lucky? Who knows.

I know that people have different views on exercising while pregnant and I can respect that. I didn't start a debate with my cousin when she told me not to exercise at all, and I am sure others have kept their mouth shut when they heard I am still working out like I was before. What bothers me is that new Moms will purchase, read and possibly listen this book. Eeek. Plus, if this is the kind of advice this author gives, it really makes me question the rest of the information in the book. Will I finish the book? Yes, if only because it might provide another good blogging topic.

Rant over. Happy Tuesday everyone!

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