By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
I can’t believe we are half way there! I trained doing full body circuits by myself and a workout class. The baby is really growing as I can feel the pressure on my stomach and bladder. I’ve gained 2KGs – mostly in the past two weeks. It’s not much, but my doctor is happy with it and Baby M has normal growth and we’re thankful for that.
The topic of exercise and eating healthy during pregnancy is still a hot topic, as evidenced by the minor controversy surrounding Chontel Duncan as seen on Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, People, and other sites. I really think that the general public has a problem with pregnant women that don’t fit the stereotype portrayed by Hollywood – aka gaining excessive amounts of weight, eating junk food all the time, and/or eating every fried/sweet/salty thing in front of them. So when we see a pregnant woman with abs, lifting weights/running, or even just choosing to eat vegetables – people think they are doing it for selfish reasons or that the baby will be harmed. I think there are two major reasons behind this “prejudice”.
1. In previous generations it wasn’t popular or acceptable for women to do intense exercise, build muscle, or lift heavy weights. Fitness + Women haven’t been in the same conversation for very long so we haven’t had a generation of gym-going, athletic, and fit women become pregnant until recently and this is a drastic change from what we’re used to or expect from a pregnant woman. Here are some examples of headline making women: Sarah Stage, Inger Houghton, Zhao Yitong, or Stacie Venagro. These ladies are pioneers in a society that still expects women to eat a box of doughnuts in one sitting and then immediately consuming a whole pizza after that. Although what they are doing has been proven to be great for mom and baby they are unfortunately getting attacked by people that haven’t fully accepted that women are capable of doing so much more than just sit around during their pregnancies.
2. The conversation of creating strong women needs to start way before pregnancy. From a young age men and women need to realize that women can be strong and feminine at the same time. Many women don’t think of eating healthy or loosing weight until they are preparing for their wedding and “The Dress”. Then they get married and quit the gym. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle is even more important when you consider starting a family. Habits like smoking and alcohol consumption take time to reduce or quit so that by the time you’re ready to get pregnant your body is already primed for one of the most important tasks it will have, creating your child. Being overweight can lead to infertility; problematic pregnancies, with the development of conditions like gestational diabetes; and health complications for your baby, including neural tube defects and increased risk of being overweight or diabetic later in life. Being overweight can also lead to hormonal imbalances, which can cause a variety of endocrine illnesses.
I hope that as time passes, and more strong women continue to break stereotypes seeing a fit and pregnant woman will be more commonplace!