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Fitness Hurdles In Pregnancy

If you have ever had the pleasure of being pregnant, you are well aware of the  potential body image struggles a woman may go through. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing and amidst all the heartburn and discomfort, most women really do glow, but the constant changes to your body can take some getting used to. The drive to stay healthy for your baby and satisfy your crazy cravings and fatigue seem to war constantly. If you make it to the gym at all while expecting, you are doing pretty well! After all, labor is the most physically taxing athletic event you will ever experience and you want to be prepared! So, why do some pregnant women get criticized for working out?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that pregnant women can safely walk, swim, cycle, do aerobics, and run (if you ran before you were pregnant). Shahin Ghadir, a board certified MD in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility says, “The general rule of thumb is, if it's a healthy pregnancy with no complications, we recommend that patients resume their pre-pregnancy exercise routines. Otherwise, starting a new exercise routine can be a huge shock to the body."

Now, all of this has to be within reason. During pregnancy it is important to really listen to your body and not push yourself. If you are accustomed to driving yourself to push through the pain at the gym, now is the time to take a step back and slow down. If your body is telling you to stop or slow down, do it. It’s also important to not get overheated while you are working out, especially in the early months of pregnancy. This is another reason to take it easy. Rest is extremely important, you are creating another human being! If you are tired, take a nap. You can always walk around the block when you wake if you feel up to it.

So, if a woman is pregnant and taking care of herself and actually makes it to the gym…why would people criticize her? Sara Haley, a mom and personal trainer from Santa Monica cannot understand why she is getting rude comments from people at the gym. She hits the gym 6 days a week and claims she is routinely harassed because she is 35 weeks pregnant.

Haley goes through a combination of pull-ups, tricep dips, dead lifts, and lunges in her workout. Comments like, “Wow, your butt is so big!” and “Those stretch marks are the worst I have ever seen!" are made behind her back. “It is an element of bullying. Some people have no filter all of a sudden when they see a pregnant woman training,” Says Haley.

Haley was recently named one of the 50 hottest fitness trainers by Shape magazine. On the flip side, she doesn’t want to be deemed some sort of hero for working out while expecting. “My favorite reaction in general, throughout my pregnancy, has been the classic eye contact with a big thumbs up,” she said. "I do appreciate the encouragement, but honestly, I'm just pregnant, not trying to save the world."

Hopefully, if you are making it to the gym while you are pregnant you are not faced with criticism. If you listen to your body and take it easy, you shouldn’t have any problems. This is not the time to suddenly get in shape or lose weight. Staying active during pregnancy promotes blood flow, energy, better sleep, and will prepare you for labor. Twenty minutes of light exercise three times a week is beneficial for both mom and baby. If you haven’t been exercising before you become pregnant, it is usually considered safe to start walking regularly for exercise.

Whatever the case may be for you and your fitness routine, remember this: that scale is going to go up every time you go to the doctor. Accept it, love it, embrace it. You are supposed to gain weight for you and your baby, it’s only for nine months and then you can do whatever workout routine you wish!

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