As a pregnant woman in the gym, I often get funny looks and even concerned comments from fellow gym-goers convinced I should put down my weights and put my feet up instead.
Western society has long had a tendency to wrap pregnant women up in cotton wool, shielding them from perceived dangers.
Of course, precautions are absolutely necessary in certain circumstances. But in general, pregnancy is actually a manifestation of how formidable women’s bodies actually are.
Let’s face it – we are growing and carrying an actual human inside us. That’s pretty incredible for a start.
We push through the nausea, fatigue, aches and pains to function on a daily basis.
And don’t even get me started on the act of birth itself. Pushing a small person through a much smaller orifice over hours and sometimes even days. Talk about the ultimate physical challenge.
Pregnancy is challenging, but it isn’t a disease. Women should be allowed to listen to their bodies and make their own decisions without judgement – whether that means laying low or hitting the sled.
Check out these high profile women who kept up their fitness regimes through pregnancy:
The tennis superstar
The calculators were whipped out when tennis champion Serena Williams announced she was five months pregnant in April.
The tapping revealed that she had won the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant – and hadn’t dropped a single set.
GP Dr Matt Piccaver told the BBC that physical activity during any stage of life, including pregnancy, is a “good idea”.
“The human body is an amazing thing, and Serena proves that we are more robust than we think,” he said.
In fact, the first trimester is believed to deliver a number of performance enhancing effects when it comes to physical performance.
That’s due to an increase in oxygen-rich blood which boosts muscle capacity by 30%, improved cardiac and lung functions, as well as an increase in progesterone production which makes muscles and joints more flexible.
Surprise Marvel hit Wonder Woman is certainly not lacking in action, most of it, unsurprisingly, involving the lead actor Gal Gadot.
But as the movie set box offices alight, it emerged that Gadot had actually been pregnant during the making of the movie.
Her pregnancy was actually as advanced as five months during the shooting of certain scenes.
While Wonder Woman’s most daring acts were filmed by a stunt double, Gadot still had to undergo a gruelling training regime to get into superhero shape for the movie.
What did that involve? Six months of training for a whopping six hours a day. Gym work, fight choreography, horseback riding all formed a part of the process.
Gadot was no stranger to serious physical exertion – she was in the Israeli army before becoming an actor. But she revealed the Wonder Woman training was much tougher than the army.
While expecting twins, Beyoncé hit workout class SoulCycle “almost every day” in Los Angeles, according to US Weekly.
That is despite reportedly having a tougher time the second time round than when she was pregnant with Blue Ivy – understandable with two babies in that belly!
Wondering what SoulCycle is? Think spin – and then some.
That means spending more time out of the seat, more upper body work, more motivational chanting (?) and all done by candle light. Sounds like a bizarre combo but celebrities by the dozen are swearing by it – including Bey.
Combined with her strict diet, Beyonce’s pregnancy fitness plan kept her in physically impressive form.
Check out her incredible Grammys performance where she showed off her growing baby bump and boobs while knocking out some serious moves.
US athlete Alysia Montaño ran the 800m in 2014’s US Track and Field Championships while she was 34 weeks pregnant, finishing in 2 minutes 32.13 seconds in the qualifying rounds.
OK, so she came last in her heat but still – what a feat!
“I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process,” Montaño said at the time.
Before deciding to train for the event, she consulted with doctors who encouraged her to go for it.
“That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy,” Montaño said.
“What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. I did all the things I normally do, I just happened to be pregnant.”
Did you stay physically active during your pregnancy?