Hi Cheeseburger Lovers,
So lately, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend that I think needs to be addressed: pregnant ladies exercising like they aren’t pregnant! Lately I’ve seen so many women at the gym exercising like crazy. And I’m not talking 20 minutes on the treadmill; I’m talking full force, 60-plus minutes on the elliptical (as if there isn’t a giant belly in between her and the elliptical)!
Now, it’s one thing to be in the comfort of your own home exercising, but I’ve seen women out and about doing activities that I wouldn’t deem appropriate for pregnant women. I have taken several hikes over the past few months and the hikes have been very rigorous (some of the toughest in Los Angeles). And on each trail I have seen at least one pregnant belly (big third-trimester belly). Now, I’m not a doctor, but I wouldn’t recommend that a pregnant lady, that far along, hike the trails of Runyon or Temescal Canyon, especially not by herself! What if she falls? Isn’t she concerned about the safety of her unborn child?!
The other totally crazy exercise I have seen pregnant women do are the Santa Monica Stairs. The SM stairs are a favorite workout spot here in L.A. The fittest of the fit come here to walk or run all 180 steps over and over again. Not only is it an extremely rigorous workout, but the stairs are old and wooden. They aren’t exactly the safest. You really have to be focused and keep your balance. And yet, time and time again, I have seen very pregnant women going up and down these stairs repeatedly (without breaks). No joke!
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pregnant women exercising. I am not a mom yet, but when I am pregnant one day, I do plan on exercising regularly. And many medical professionals say that moderate exercise during pregnancy is a good thing and can even help with giving birth. In this article, MODERATE exercise is defined as walking, swimming, stationary biking, prenatal yoga and, at the most, light jogging. These activities sound reasonable enough to me.
So why is it that pregnant women all around Los Angeles (and I’m sure many other parts of the country) feel the need to spend an hour at full speed on the elliptical, hike, go to spinning class or climb 180 stairs over and over again? I think it’s because these are all high cardio activities that can burn a lot of fat. And isn’t that what all pregnant women seem to be the most concerned about? Baby fat–plain and simple. Many of the things we read about pregnancy have to do with losing baby weight. I think the women of LA have figured out a way to minimize having to lose the baby weight: exercise like a maniac before the birth, and keep off as much extra weight as humanly possible. I mean, think about it. Do you ever look at women and think, “She literally just had a baby! She doesn’t look like she put on a pound of weight.” Well, go to the Santa Monica stairs regularly, and you’ll see why. They are all there, working hard to gain as little as possible. Now, granted, many women naturally have slender figures and they may not put on much weight during pregnancy, but for most women, gaining pregnancy weight is the main concern.
The main problem I have with this is safety. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for pregnant women to engage in rigorous exercise. That just seems like common sense to me. Everything I’ve ever read or heard about exercising during pregnancy says that moderate exercise is the way to go. Spinning, hiking, stair climbing, and the elliptical are never on the list of acceptable moderate exercise. My second concern is vanity. For all of you health apologists out there, you can’t tell me that it’s a good idea for a pregnant woman to do a spinning class three days a week or run a half marathon (true stories)! I would love to hear your arguments about why this is ok.
I think, at the end of the day, this generation of pregnant women are so concerned with staying slim and not missing a beat (after all, you have to fit into those skinny jeans as soon as that baby comes out of you), that they are willing to jeopardize the safety of their unborn children. I truly feel bad for a child who is being born to a mother that cares more about the shape of her own body than she cares about her child’s safety. I know that seems harsh, but is there really any other way to see this?
Moms, one piece of advice, get off the treadmill and get ready to give birth!