I’ve been getting a lot of unsolicited advice recently. I guess it comes with the territory of being pregnant, everyone becomes an expert and feels entitled to tell you how you should be taking care of yourself while you’re growing life inside of you. I guess this happens to a lot of people at different times of their lives. For whatever reason the general public spills advice and opinions regarding getting married, having kids and how and when to do each. I don’t get it.
I love to squat, I love to deadlift, I love weightlifting in general. It makes me feel good, it makes me stronger and it gives me the aesthetics I desire. I have been weightlifting for two years and have a great strength base and proper form and a great coach, so why would I stop just because I’m pregnant? Cue the unsolicited advice. It just keeps coming. Apparently when we ask our bodies to take on the most complex and challenging task it is capable of: creating a human being from scratch, we should stop everything and become sedentary and eat with reckless abandon? Umm, no thanks. On a daily basis now I get comments such as “(gasp!) surely you’re not weightlifting anymore?!” or “you can’t do that while you’re pregnant.” or “no, you can’t help, you’re pregnant.” I didn’t know that being pregnant meant I was disabled. I once read the analogy that pregnancy, labor, and delivery are like a marathon. You can’t expect your body to complete it without the proper training. Well, that’s what I’m doing, training. I’m not trying to make any strength gains or set any personal records, I’m trying to maintain the strength base that I already have. Staying strong and fit will help me through this pregnancy as my body pushes it’s limits and it will help me to have the strength and endurance to make it through labor and delivery (and hopefully make it easier…?).
Clearly a chord has been struck in me to prompt this tangent. There have been several media stories circulating recently regarding weightlifting during pregnancy. The women that these stories focus on are receiving both positive and negative reviews but clearly the negative ones have lit a fire inside me. The negative comments are obviously uneducated and given by those who know nothing about weight training or weightlifting and much more, the comments are hurtful and demeaning towards women who are just trying to do what is best for them and their pregnancy.
What I sat down to write about before I got delirious and blinded by rage was squats (hormones maybe?). I’ve commented several times recently about how I’ve been missing heavy squats. I do still miss the thrill of really heavy lifts but I’m also just enjoying being able to continue lifting as my body changes. I appreciate squats in a different way now than before being pregnant. Although my core strength is much different than before, I must still engage my core in order to squat properly. Remember Missy’s post on “dead bugs”? Bracing your core circumferentially while still being able to breath, pretty impressive stuff. I’m going to hear Jim’s voice in my head while trying to push during delivery…”brace 360!” “dead bug!” Who knew that the cues used in powelifting were so versatile? My hope is that once baby is out of there my mid-section will bounce back like a rubber-band. I might be delusional but I’m going with it. Squats are also great at opening up the hips. I can actually tell that since being pregnant my hips are definitely more elastic. My squats go way deeper than before without even trying. This is an obvious benefit once it comes times to deliver this baby.
I will continue to smile and nod as people freely give me their advice, however, I will also continue to ignore it. I’m doing what works for me and I definitely have the health and safety of my baby first foremost in my mind. If I have complications that arise and need to stop training, I will. If I need to back down, I will. I have common sense, a great coach, and a good doctor whom I trust. Those things combined make me feel confident in what I’m doing.
Here is a link to a great article written by someone who trained throughout her pregnancy. She includes some great tips for modifications, all of which I also follow.