I wanted to write this post to give people a little perspective and maybe educate some of y’all on exercising while pregnant! I have received some questions and comments, so I’d rather address it & give some insight on why I do what I do!
Did you know? When a woman gets pregnant, it is completely safe and healthy for her to exercise. The guideline is- keep doing what you have been doing, but don’t do more. This means if you are a runner but the most you’ve ever run is a half marathon , now’s not the time to train for a full…. BUT you’re still cleared to run the distances your body is already used to!
^ This guideline by itself makes the playing field not level and starts us all at different places! Which is okay!
When I found out I was pregnant, I was honestly the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been! Of course I still had goals and wanted to move forward, but I was lifting heavy weights daily, and doing high intensity conditioning and Crossfit-style workouts. This means that what was safe for me was to keep lifting, but NOT go any heavier than what I’d done before, and to keep conditioning, but NOT to push myself harder than what I was used to. For me, because of my training leading up to getting pregnant, I think it would have actually been an unhealthier transition to just completely stop training than it would have been to just keep doing my thang.
Sometimes people watch the videos I post of my workouts and tell me they think I’m pushing myself too hard because I’m pregnant. I totally understand that perspective- if someone who is inactive or has never deadlifted before sees me deadlifting 145 lbs, their perception of that weight is that it’s too hard and too intense, because it may be too hard or intense for them. But for me, I actually made the conscious decision to pull back on the workout, and for me pulling back is 145 lbs. OR maybe you do lift, but just don’t know me well enough to know where my personal limits or weightlifting maxes are. So I think it’s always good to realize that your perception of intensity is different than what actually is intense for me. It’s not a bad thing- it’s just that we are in different parts of the journey. I would never watch a pregnant woman lift 20 lbs and tell her she doesn’t have enough weight on the bar- that would be me assuming she is somewhere that is within MY personal perception of intensity. Maybe she’s never lifted more than 20 lbs, so her lift is actually an intensity for her that is appropriate. In the same way, there are pregnant lifters who would lift waaaay more than my 145 lbs, and I trust that’s an appropriate intensity for them (and am in true awe of their super strength!! 💪🏼 😊) It goes both ways.
Here are my reasons I continue to work out while pregnant (not in any order of importance):
- I love it. This one is plain and simple- it makes me feel good, it helps keep me out of the exhaustion/nausea cycle, and when my biggest symptom is anxiety/stress, training helps me release that and feel more relaxed.
- Why wouldn’t I? I am pregnant- not sick or ill or handicapped. I need to be aware of how pregnancy changes some things in my body, of course, but I am still a strong, capable woman. Pregnancy didn’t change that!
- I am training for easier pregnancy, labor, and recovery. These 3 things are some of the biggest athletic events of a woman’s life- why wouldn’t I want to intentionally train for it? Stronger muscles mean less chronic pain and better ability to do things. For example: of course lots of women experience lower back pain while pregnant- there’s 20+ lbs of belly front-loading their bodies, and your back has to carry that extra load! I know that if you intentionally strengthen your back muscles to better be able to handle that load, then your chance/level of that pesky back pain decreases. It’s the same for keeping your hips, legs, and core strong! Ultimately, I know I’m not in control and there could still be complications, etc. but I’m a firm believer that every little bit counts, and if working out in pregnancy helps me have a 25 hour labor instead of 26 hours, then to me it’s worth it.
- I’m training for a healthy baby. He experiences all the benefits I do when I train. So far we’ve received nothing but good reports- he has a strong, normal heartbeat and growing at the rate he needs to be! He moves a lot in my tummy and is active. I want to create a healthy environment for him to live in in these months.
- To me, pregnancy is not a 9-month “off period” where I can finally let loose, be lazy, and eat whatever the heck I want. Yes, some days I’m tired or unmotivated, but my “why” & the habit of working hard is so engrained in me that I no longer feel like it’s a battle. I just get in the gym and go because I’m convinced of the benefits!
Not everyone’s pregnancies are the same. I understand some people are extremely sick with nausea or exhaustion, or have certain complications that keep them bedridden, and I have so much compassion for you! Yes, take a rest, pull back and listen to your body (& your doctor/midwife). But I honestly don’t have those things & currently am experiencing a very low-risk pregnancy (thank you Jesus!!) so I feel free to continue doing what I’m doing until I can’t anymore.
I know posting my workouts and videos during pregnancy is a risk, & they end up on the screens of those who are skeptical- I went into it knowing I would have some people not on board. That’s totally okay. I do it so I can document this really special time with my boy, and to spread awareness that yes, you can be active and work out while pregnant!
I’ve also, however, been more surprised at the amount of encouragement and support I’m getting, too! I have so many people who know me well and know my fitness journey that are 100% supportive, and I want to say THANK YOU! 😊
Please message me if you have any further questions!