Thursday, June 12, 2014

Femininity Friday: Pregnancy and Fitness

Good morning! Welcome to another Femininity Friday. This is the day of the week when we discuss issues specific to being a woman. Topics range from health and fitness to femininity and feminism. Today I want to talk about fitness during pregnancy, after all, what is more feminine that pregnancy? And, as you can see here and here, I LOVE to talk about fitness. I have to admit, I am SO FRUSTRATED with the socially accepted level of pregnancy fitness. Because I have so many thoughts on the subject this may be a long article, so hang tight. 

The books, the articles, the information from my doctor about pregnancy all say about the same thing: 
  • keep your heart rate below 140
  • don't lift anything over 20 pounds
  • you can do what you did prior to pregnancy. 
I understand the reasoning behind this, really I do. Most people these days start out their pregnancies out of shape and weak. So starting a strength and conditioning program like ours would be a really bad idea for them. 

The problem is, that is not me. Let me tell you what I was doing prior to getting pregnant. I was deadlifting 200 lbs, squatting 150 lbs, and I can farmer carry a 70 lb kettlebell in each hand for long distances with no problem. I can push my husband's Toyota 4Runner just like the men in our group, just as far and just as long. 

And now you want me to not lift anything over 20 lbs? My purse (which doubles as a book bag for my books to be reviewed) weighs 18 lbs by itself. I tried to explain this to the first doctor I saw when I went in to the Army medical center for my orientation and "welcome" visit. She acted like I had said I was going to take up sword swallowing during my pregnancy. She suggested I drop strength and conditioning all together and try sometime "fun"... like Zumba. 

I left the doctor's office thinking, "man, I am a terrible mom already". I chewed on this problem the rest of the day. When my husband got home, I explained to him what the doctor said. This is our first baby, and we are both a little nervous about messing something up so we decided to wait until our next doctor appointment and ask the next one what is appropriate. For two weeks I did mobility exercises and stretching, but that is it. For a person that has been training hard five days a week for almost a year, that was really hard. I felt weak, sloppy, and gross.  

When I went back in to my next doctors visit (where I saw a brand new doctor) I asked what the limitations are, what I should or should not be doing. I explained about being terrified of messing up our kid. Here are a list of questions I wrote down during my minor panic moments:

  • Vaccinate or not? 
  • To do the vitamin K shot or not? 
  • Do we co-sleep or not? 
  • Is this bedding the safest? 
  • Are the slats in this crib too small,will his/her fingers get caught in them?
  • How early should we start memory verses? 
  • Should he/she play sports?
  • What home school curriculum should we follow? 
  • Piano or violin? 
  • Where will the baby go to college? 

And that is all once that baby is here, that doesn't have anything to do with the time while I am sharing my body with him/her. So with all these things that I could possibly mess up when the kid gets here, I wanted to understand what I can do to prevent messing him/her up by my physical training. My new doctor all but laughed at me. She said I was WAY too stressed out. Her recommendation was to take my PRs (my personal records) and take 15% off. Those are my new "pregnancy" limits. I then base all my numbers for each week off of my new lowered PR numbers. 

I took her advice. I am not "pushing" the limits by any means. No more PRs for me until after the baby is born. I still lift, I still get to work and develop my body. The doctor assured me that it is perfectly safe for me and the baby. So imagine my surprise when after posting a status on facebook I received some really ugly feedback. I posted a status directed towards my friends in the Killeen/Fort Hood area inviting them to come to train at our house. The attacks did come directly to my status but rather as nasty little personal messages. I had two friends from high school who told me (in two separate messages) that I was endangering the life of my baby. I had a woman that I went to church with a couple of years ago told me that I was being irresponsible and putting my wants above the safety of my child. I had a family member message me and tell me that I shouldn't allow my pride about weight gain during pregnancy endanger my child. 


My heart hurt reading those things. I went back and forth about the idea that maybe I am making the wrong choice. What if these people are right? What if I am hurting my baby? So, I did the only thing I know to do when I am lost: I pray. So I spent a couple of days using my quiet time to ask God what the right answer is. What is the right choice? After a lot of prayer, careful consideration, and an appointment with another new doctor I decided to continue with my training. I will be ignoring the naysayers, the people sitting on the sidelines critiquing other people. I know what my body is feeling, I know the research, and I know what God has placed on my heart. 

No amount of ugly messages or unsolicited advice will break my spirit again. I will continue to chronicle my journey through this pregnancy, training included.     


  1. You can certainly work out during pregnancy! I'm 16 weeks pregnant and having been doing spin class 3 times a week (most weeks!) and yoga. I can assure you my heart rate goes over 140! It has made me feel so much better during this pregnancy. Don't let others bring you down. Do your research, pray about it and make the best choice for you and your baby. Same thing for once that baby gets here. Unfortunately there are alot of judgy moms...but don't let them get to you. :) Stay encouraged!!

  2. Keep working out! Better for mamma (you) and better for baby. Moms in great shape recover faster from labor and pregnancy, their babies are born at a healthier weight with appropriate blood sugar levels (gotta start fighting obesity and diabetes early!). Plus, the exercise helps boost the blood oxygen levels for the baby, reducing the risk associated with complications during labor (due to lack of oxygen to the brain). Lastly, women in great shape are less likely to have complications during labor to begin with.

  3. Keep working out! Moms in shape recover faster from labor/pregnancy, are less likely to develop complications during labor/pregnancy, are more likely to deliver a baby with a healthy birth weight and blood sugar levels (gotta fight obesity and diabetes young!), and in the event of complications, the increased fitness reduces the effect of the complications on both mother and baby.

  4. I ran and walked through my entire pregnancy..... until I had blood pressure problems and ordered to be on bedrest...BUT my OB never said anything about fact, she ENCOURAGED it! I did get frowns and was told a few times to stop, but as long as I KNEW what my limits were.... no one could've stopped me..... in fact my older sis, ran a half marathon 4 months pregnant..... keep working out, listen to your body, your doc and above all.... enjoy this pregnancy! You're already doing great, mama!

  5. Thanks for linking up. You have a beautiful blog!
    God bless,


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