exercise and pregnancy

the times has an article on this today. my personal experience is that i was told to keep my heart rate low, which eliminated any strenuous exercise at all! i have been swimming, using the elliptical machine, stationary bike, and was walking/jogging on the treadmill until a few months ago, when i began to fear i might lose my balance and fall off the treadmill. i’ve stopped all intentional exercise except walking (which can really add up in manhattan) and my usual stairs, which add up to usually 8-10 flights a day. i feel good and haven’t gained too much weight, but if i do this pregnancy thing again, i’ll be making a stronger effort to keep up exercise for longer, and do it more intensely. my lack of activity now is due to a combination of being busy at work, lots of travel lately (which always throws off my routine) and general fatigue. also i can’t bike at this point…the belly gets in the way!

the best advice i heard overall is to not ramp up exercise to hit new goals, but work around the level you’re at when you first get pregnant, tapering down if/when needed. i sort of doubt the whole heart-rate thing…unless it can be shown to decrease blood to the fetus somehow…

overall, i think it’s mostly a function of people still having trouble accepting that pregnancy is totally natural – it’s not a disability, something sent to punish women or an excuse to sit on a couch and eat ben & jerry’s for 10 months (although wouldn’t that be GREAT!?). when people look at pregnancy as a natural process, and something that is both normal and “supposed” to happen to women’s bodies – we’ve got the equipment for it, girls! – it becomes a lot easier to accept women continuing exercise and life routines. trust me – i’ve learned that my body is very good at telling me when it’s done and not interested in more.

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3 Responses to “exercise and pregnancy”

  1. I’m so with you! Pregnancy seems to be this double-edged sword — venerated in a really unhealthy way and also seen as a disease/disability.

    I read that even walking is considered aerobic exercise when pregnant. Personally I have given up doing yoga and instead have found the pool the best place to be…

    Good luck! (Those 28 days may go quicker than you think!)

  2. This is good to know – even as someone who doesn’t have kids and isn’t sure she will, I think it is great to tell people these things as you go.

  3. Although I cannot tell you how I feel EXACTLY about pregnancy, all I can tell you is that you are awesome! If Neeti wanted a pint of Ben & Jerry a day, I would but it for her for the first week… and then tell her to take a hike. What you say is so true… your body will tell you when it is tired. I also think our bodies speak to us when we are not pregnant, it just takes a little effort to listen harder, and a lot more self-discipline to act on it. If I feel like shit and I haven’t exercised for a week, I know why… its crap that I sleep in and let another damn week go by and continue to feel like shit.

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