I recently asked a friend due just after me to fill out a questionnaire because she's always been in great shape as long as I've known her. Elise happily obliged me. I decided to open it up to entire discussion board dedicated to women due this July. I asked that women still exercising at least 3x/wk at moderate intensity respond. I was disappointed that I got a mere 4 responses from a board with over 9 thousand members! Surely that can't be the ratio of pregnant women still exercising to those taking it easy. Then I thought maybe I shouldn't have limited it to mom's still exercising and asked about those who had given it up already and why. *shrug* On the positive side, it's easier to evaluate the answers!
Interestingly, not everyone that responded was particularly fit before getting pregnant. I think that's great. You CAN improve fitness while pregnant.
For one lady, this was the fifth pregnancy that she's exercising through.
The women do a wide array of activity: running, walking, yoga, pilates, elliptical, biking, swimming, and surprisingly most are still strength training! I'm impressed with this because women tend to shy away from strength training, pregnant or not.
Unless they experienced intense nausea/vomiting that kept them from normal activity, let alone exercise, they found that exercise helped them get through the typical first trimester experience.
Nearly all had received criticism. Usually from people who are misinformed, about both the safety and the benefits (some seem to think there are none for the baby, that it's simply for the vanity of the mother-to-be). But they were happy to politely enlighten. And most had also received support for their active lifestyle.
One mom-to-be aptly related labor and early motherhood to being like a running in a marathon; how could maintaining one's strength and stamina possibly be anything but beneficial?
I asked all the mom's to come back once the baby is born to share how long they ended up maintaining an exercise routine (all planned to until they went into labor or it was medically counter-indicated), what their labor was like and their babies' stats.
Again, big thank you to all that participated!