I put my gym bag away and filled my water bottle like I do every morning at the gym. Just to bump into an old face from work. “Oh wow you look incredible! How far along are you? And your still gymming? Do you have any stretch marks yet? How much weight did you gain?”
The questions started to stream in! I tried to throw in the answers before the next question came. “I'm doing legs today” I said, and tried to end the conversation as politely as possible. “Oh you know you really shouldn’t be doing legs when you’re pregnant. I follow this woman on Instagram who was told by her midwife that it could open your pelvis and bring on early labour”. For the next 15 minutes I stood at the water fountain flabbergasted by my own influx of thoughts and mixed emotions.
What am I doing at the gym? Am I actually doing my body more harm than good by working out while pregnant? Why am I doing legs? Am I putting myself at risk for early labour? I headed to the treadmill to do a light walk while battling my inner thoughts and emotions and left 25 minutes later feeling very confused and aimless. I normally leave the gym ready to grab the day by the horns, energetic and productive, ready to fuel my body with a healthy breakfast for baby and me.
Thinking back on that day I realized the reason I felt so gloom, is that we as new young mothers are under enormous pressure these days.
Just by living in such a fast paced life but also because our generation has access to so many sources of information. We are overwhelmed by available data. Everywhere mothers look, there is a tip or piece of advice to be given. If not by social media: influencers documenting their whole day, then by random faces at the gym, often without children themselves.
We are under tremendous pressure as moms-to-be
If you cant give a natural birth you are somehow less of a mother. If you don’t breastfeed you now care less about your baby’s immune system. If you choose to have an active, fit pregnancy you then are selfish and not thinking about the baby growing inside of you.
I have had an amazing pregnancy so far. I have felt amazing throughout and have been lucky to have enough energy to be able to work out and follow healthy eating habits. I have researched every topic of exercise during pregnancy as well as nutrition during pregnancy.
I'm not talking about research done by scrolling on Instagram, I mean literature
I've listened to podcasts, discussed it with my Doctor and made an informed decision.
Why now was i suddenly doubting myself
? I referred back to the science and a study I found on www.sciencedirect.com
done on rats.
“Pups of exercised mothers showed a significant increase in spatial learning ability as demonstrated by significant decreases in total time from starting to target and total number of errors as compared to age-matched control pups during the first 4 days of 7 consecutive days on multiple T maze training (P<0.05). Thus, physical exercise during gestation in pregnant mothers can increase hippocampal BDNF mRNA expression of postnatal pups and result in an improvement in spatial learning in pups from exercised dams.”
There are scientific proven facts relating to the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. I knew that already but due to the over stream of information from faces, pages and society i forgot about it for a few minutes.I have been open and honest about my exercise regimen with my Doctor and have her full support. I am listening to my body and the little heartbeat inside of my tummy and if there are days that my body doesn’t feel up to any physical activity, I simply rest. I am in tune with my pregnancy and that should be enough.
Motherhood is a privilege coming from times long before us.
It equips us with something that we so often forget. Motherly instincts! We should just tune into that a little more often. Because pregnancy is so different from person to person those instincts, together with your own research and consent with your OBGYN, you are able to make an informed decision to the best benefit of you and your baby. Not one mother, child or pregnancy is alike. Embrace that! Take it as an opportunity to declutter the influx of information thrown from every corner and angle. Take a deep breath and enjoy the journey. There will be enough uncertainty in the house once your little bundle of love arrives. Take the pressure off yourself now and prepare for what you can and learn by what will come.
Your body is growing a little human being and that is something to be pretty darn proud about.
Written by Bianca Pelser