I rode my bicycle to my first prenatal appointment. I had competed in triathlons for the 4 years prior, so riding my bike was very natural. At the appointment, one of the health care providers hinted that I probably should stop riding my bike. Now that I was pregnant, I wouldn’t want to do anything that could compromise the pregnancy.
This unsolicited advice not only scared me but stressed me out!
In addition to riding my bike for multiple hours for triathlon training, I also rode my bike for transportation. How was I going to get to work, the gym, out to eat, anywhere for the next 9 months?
All of a sudden I was afraid and worried.
Despite the above comment, my midwife (not the health care provider mentioned above) encouraged me to continue exercising, just not at the same pace I was used to.
I still felt it was in an attitude of “well….IF you are ALREADY exercising, then I GUESS you can continue…”
This made it feel like I was putting baby at harm by doing any movement. I decided to quit riding my bike, stick to jog/walking and swimming. I was hyper-aware of every single feeling inside of me while I attempted to go about my normal routine. In the final trimester, putting my suit on at the pool became a challenge to say the least. But I coveted the weightless feeling I had while in the pool. It was well worth the effort and the concerned looks from other women in the locker room.
With my second pregnancy less than 2 years later, I was much more aware and confident of what I could and couldn’t do with exercise. I ran one of the longer legs of the Ragnar Relay (about a marathon in the span of 36 hours) in the 2nd month. It wasn’t my fastest run ever but very empowering to share that experience with my baby.
During this pregnancy, I proudly went to the gym 4 times a week. I ran on the treadmill and lifted free weights.
Still, I was the ONLY pregnant woman I ever saw in the gym.
I certainly got some looks as baby grew larger in my belly while I performed incline presses, dumbbell rows, and squats, not to mention sprints on the treadmill. The self-confidence I gained from lifting free weights with a big old belly was priceless.
My two stories of exercising while pregnant seem that they could have been written years ago. However, my last pregnancy was only 4 years ago! Thankfully, the attitude towards pregnant mothers exercising is much more supportive today, especially at the DAHLC. Not only is exercise considered safe, but it’s encouraged.
It’s not only OKAY to exercise during pregnancy, it is actually RECOMMENDED because of the many health benefits.
If you are unsure of how to sift through all the information out there and all the off-handed comments you will undoubtedly get while pregnant, let us slim the information down for you. The DAHLC’s pregnancy program offers 1 night a week of educational topics featuring various Mayo Clinic expert speakers and 1 day a week of strength training. You will learn about all the wonderful things you CAN do during pregnancy and be able to connect with other moms-to-be. Can’t wait to see you in April!
*Top left: Me pictured with my son when I was 2 months pregnant and had just finished the Ragnar Relay.
*At right: Me pictured exercising while 5 months pregnant with twins.