It used to be that pickles, ice cream, and Taco Bell were considered to be acceptable nutritional mainstays for moms-to-be. Pregnancy was all about the fun of plumping up while blaming it on eating for two. Weight loss came postpartum.
That was then, this is now. Celebs and other high profile pregnant baby mamas are flaunting super skinny pregnancy bodies, cutting calories and racing to the gym in an effort to gain as little pregnancy weight as possible. The New York Post dubs this breed of preggo moms the "mommyrexics."
While the "mommyrexics" are extreme, their influence is palpable. Many pregnant Circle of Moms members say they relate to the desire to stay as skinny as possible and to the battle to avoid extra body fat. S. K., who is training for a 10k run, does step aerobics and runs three miles several times a week. She asks, "Are there any other moms out there that work out as religiously as I do? How did that work during your pregnancy? How much weight did you gain, were you able to curb your cravings?" But tellingly, she adds: "Please don't read this and think that I will put the life of my unborn child in jeopardy simply to sustain a workout. I am simply looking to manage my pregnancy and continue whatever exercises the doctor deems safe."
Her impulse to explain is echoed in the experiences of many pregnant Circle of Moms members who've been on the receiving end of criticism about their exercise regimens. Sarah K., whose pregnancy workouts include weight lifting, cardio and swimming, says that in spite of her doctor's blessing, her "hubby is still freaked out about the weight lifting thing."
Confusion about mixed messages seems to pervade the conversation. While many pregnant Circle of Moms members want to stay fit, they wonder what kinds of exercise and dieting are safe and healthy. Emily H., who started running five times a week to lose weight after the birth of her now 16-month-old daughter, says, "I would really like to continue running during my next pregnancy and was just curious about what other women did and what everyone thinks." Crystal W., who is six weeks pregnant, asks, "Is an Ab workout ok while pregnant? [What] if I take it easy?... I just want to tighten it up a little bit." And Maral S. wonders, "What about situps?"
Everything in Moderation
The consensus seems to be that it is healthy to continue your regular exercise routine during pregnancy -- within limits. Renee K. says that as you get bigger, you should avoid "activities that bounce the baby and your belly around." And Trisha F. advises, "You can do pretty much anything while you are pregnant that you were doing before," but stresses that pregnant women avoid jarring movements and should "try to keep your heart rate below 140." She adds that she "played basketball until I was four months or so along (I stopped due to the contact) and then did prenatal water aerobics (love, love, loved it!), walking, the elliptical machine, and light weights until my daughter was born. I wasn't crazy exercise lady or anything, just a few times a week, but I healed really quickly after delivery and lost all my pregnancy weight in just a few weeks and all I did was nurse. It's so healthy."
Sara H., who gained 20 pounds and gave birth to an 8.7 lb. baby, suggests that moms-to-be consult with an exercise trainer and their physician. "It's good to work out during pregnancy," she says. "I was a member of a gym where the trainer would evaluate me every few weeks to be sure I was on track with my pregnancy and not doing anything dangerous. I did cardio, but was careful not to let my heart rate get too high. I also did weights, but only what my trainer and doctor deemed appropriate for that stage of pregnancy (nothing that strains the stomach muscles)."
"Listen to your body," is the advice of Tiffany W. who is seven months pregnant and walks six miles a day. "Don't beat yourself up if you have a calorie binge one day," she says. "Cravings happen."
Would you exercise and diet during pregnancy?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.