Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

This pregnancy is not going to be about proving something

For those of you who have not been reading my blog since my first pregnancy, I need to do a bit of explaining.

I started my blog as an online diary, where I described my life, being in love, being pregnant and my training and weight gain (running 16 miles then 13 miles a day and sometimes swimming and biking and a desire to limit my pregnancy weight gain to 5.5 kg and then 7 kg).

Well, I never really expected anyone would care or start reading, and I definitely didn't expect people would start suggesting that what I was doing was unhealthy.

I went back and dug up some of the comments directed at my blog during my first pregnancy, which ultimately led me to be very defensive; constantly wanting to PROVE that lot of exercise IS beneficial to both mother and baby.

"82 miles plus the cross training you did is not moderate. 3 hours is not moderate...and you're willing to take a chance on the baby inside of you with something that is an unknown? 82 miles a week of running in addition to 20 miles on the bike and whatever else you were doing? That is not moderate, it is not vigorous, it is extreme even for healthy non-pregnant people. There is no science here, only anecdotes, and you're willing to risk your child with that. You're disgusting and I feel sorry that you're going to parent this child." Running Coach

I started crying after I read that one. Certainly not because what Running Coach said was true, but because of the accusation.

Here are some more...

"... a woman who did that sort of thing. She was an aerobics instructor. She's teach 3 classes, run, swim, bike, stayed skinny throughout pregnancy. The kid was born with major neuromuscular issues."

"there were some women I used to swim with in AZ that were going on club bike rides during their 8th month. Just silly considering the dangers."

"If and when that time comes, I am not getting on my bike again until the kid is out of me."

The last woman went on to get pregnant, continued to exercise and on her blog wrote how astounded she was that people gave her a hard time when she was running at 6 months. Hopefully her change in attitude reflects our society's. Not that I was a pariah or anything.

James Clapp has shown that at least 3 days a week of exercise is associated with higher intelligence and better coordination in children. The upper limit for a healthy amount of exercise has moved higher and higher (used to be no more than 1 mile of running a day in the 1970's).

I don't know how many people now would step up and accuse of woman of being a danger to her baby if she ran an ultramarathon or completed an ironman pregnant. But maybe there are more than I think. When googling pregnant ironman last night I found this "If you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, you can give up rock star running and your dreams of an ironman". It really said rock star running. I couldn't make this up, people.

And then a woman on a forum in Wisconsin inquired about doing an ironman pregnant. A response: "I had a good friend who was training for an ironman while pregnant and miscarried. Don't take the chance." SLG response: "I had a friend who was sitting in a rocking chair and had a cat jump in her lap. She then miscarried. Avoid cats! Oh, and rocking chairs."

I was on my way to Cross Fit last night and a paragraph from "A Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" came into my head. (this is a paraphrase; I don't have the book here). "When I was in my first pregnancy, I continued to lift weights, thinking I could get away with exercising while pregnant. I had grand ideas of staying in shape. On the way home from the gym, I started bleeding and had a miscarriage. Of course, I don't know if lifting weights caused it, but women, do yourself a favor: spend these 9 months on the couch otherwise you'll always blame yourself for exercising if something goes wrong". Vicki Iovine.

Response from SLG: "Well, Vicki, I loved your sense of humor throughout the book, especially when you got all horny and imagined your husband as a cowboy, but suggesting that exercising was the cause of your miscarriage does women all over the world a disservice. And, even more so, the idea that they should lay around on the couch. Complications with pregnancy arise more and more due to excess weight gain, gestational diabetes and preterm birth is associated with the 'western lifestyle', which no doubt includes a sedentary life style. And thanks to you, I was imagining my little morula falling out of me into bloody pieces while swining a kettelbell..."

So I asked the Cross Fit instructor, "Are there any specific guidelines for pregnant women?" (basically curious if our traditionally male-chauvinistic society is still imposing limits on pregnant women). In Danish "Well, I think you should just do as much as you can for as long as you can, while you're still comfortable doing it."

And THAT made perfect sense. Finally.

My last pregnancy was so wonderful and I had a beautiful (at least to me), healthy baby boy. And not only that, I lost the few pounds I had wanted to lose and got into better shape than I started off in. The only thing I would do differently during this pregnancy is more cross training from the beginning so I can continue effective speedwork and hopefully avoid or delay any problems with my Sacroiliac joint.

Off my pedestal now. I am not going to prove anything this time. I am just going to enjoy this pregancy, the way I feel is best. Here are some pictures from my idyllic bike ride to Hjulbæk yesterday (sorry, no pictures of me. I'm getting a little sick of my charming, beautiful face).



Oh, sorry, and I just have to add this one of The Lorax, in true gangster style, with his little cousin, Ayla.

Running Song of the Day: We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP (an adaptation fo the the Italian classic: Tu Vuo Fa' L'americano by Renato Corsarone)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you, sea legs girl. I ran about 40 miles a week through my first pregnancy, and have had to run less and XT more through this one because of some injuries I got between kiddos. My doctor gave me her blessing to run as much as I wanted the first time around, and even though I had a few issues toward the end, assured me that my running had nothing to do with it. People are critical of you, but you're not an idiot -- you'll listen to what your ob/gyn says, and that's the only advice you need to care about. Good luck with your newest adventure.

Brooke said...

My doc told me to continue running, lifting and swimming as long as i could since i was already doing those activities. she said to listen to my body and to slow down if i got overheated or too tired, and to back off my mileage a little if i wanted. i have enjoyed running less, but would commit a homocide if I had to sit on the couch and 'enjoy' my pregnancy with the remote in tow. i am almost 7 months along and also get criticism daily, which sucks but i dont care. My baby and I are both perfectly healthy and I assume the critics are the fat slobs that use pregnancy as an excuse to indulge on icecream and soapoperas while conning their partners into 9 months of slavery. you GO GIRL!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

People who don't exercise through pregnancy shouldn't be criticized, just like those who do shouldn't be. Sometimes people can't for a variety of reasons, and worrying about their baby -- because of history of m/c or expensive fertility treatments or just not WANTING to run through pregnancy -- doesn't make them fat, lazy slobs. Saying that about people is just mean. They just treat their pregnancy differently.

Anonymous said...

Regular reader and very infrequent commenter here - I agree that running and exercise during pregnancy(and of course at any other time) is a very healthy practice. I believe that one can have a very positive experience of running throughout pregnancy by listening to one's body etc. I have many friends who have done just that and run fairly comfortably into later stages of pregnancy, albeit at much lower mileage than you did in your previous pregnancy. I ran until 5 mos. in my first pregnancy, and ran in both of my subsequent pregnancies, both of which ended in miscarriage. Do I think that running was the cause? No. However, until you have experienced the pain of losing a much wanted pregnancy, I feel it is reckless of you to make light of how others feel after a miscarriage or what they may or may not decide to do in response (in regards to exercise). Losing a pregnancy is devastating and the pain is enduring. Reading things like this post is very difficult. I wish you the absolute best in this pregnancy and that you can continue to do what you love and stay healthy. Please remember how very lucky you are!! - Shannon in KS

olga said...

I liked what your CF trainer said. I agree with the other women though that the statement you mentioned might have been too strongly worded. Bottom line is, what I would do is just probably stop even mentioning why I excercise and what good/not so much in my opinion, but simply do what feels right for me. Your blog is your diary, and while it's open to public, it's none of our business what you do un less you ASK for our opinion. Live your life, girl. I do hope you participate in 50 and IM if you feel ok at that moment when it comes:) And Lorax is a cutie pie.

Angie Bishop said...

I like what your trainer had to say.
One out of four pregnancies end in mc. So who is really to say what the cause is. People just guess because they need an answer to the dreaded "why" question.

I had a mc and wasn't doing squat. If I had been running ultras or the like I may very well have lost the baby anyways. No one knows for sure, so we do what we think is best and keep on moving.

People sometimes think that when you are doing something different than they are that somehow its an affront to them personally. My sister in law used to harp on this lady that came to her gym doing ab work at 8 months pregnant. This coming from my SIL that is at least 100lbs overweight and a nurse at that. Talk about mixed up.

Rambling, keep doing what makes you happy. I have a feeling you will listen to your body and make wise choices :)

sea legs girl said...

To Shannon in KS. I really apologize if I came off as taking miscarriages lightly. They are absolutely a tragedy and I certainly hope I never experience the heartbreak. My sympathy goes out to you and thank you for sharing your experiences so openly.

To anonymous, I wouldn't criticize any pregnant woman, unless I believed what she was doing was truly dangerous. And not exercizing certainly does not fall into what I consider "truly dangerous". Women can have healthy, happy pregnancies and not excercise. I've known many. But if they asked my opinion, there are many reasons I'd recommend exercize over being sedentary, if they are up to it.

Anonymous said...

Sea legs, I wasn't saying you were criticizing non-exercising. I was responding to Brooke's post, which was over the top, IMHO.

Danni said...

The Lorax is very cute. I'm glad you won't be trying to prove something for the next 9 months because just the thought makes me really tired and need some ice cream (or beer actually). Plus, it's difficult to prove much in an experiment of one.

The Chapples said...

Since you mentioned me, I'll comment. I DIDN'T get on my bike during my pregnancy and still haven't (kiddo is almost 21 months old now). Don't really see how that has anything to do with my running during pregnancy?? I ran moderately, at most 40 mpw, and ended up bagging it in the third trimester because of pelvic/pubic bone pain. I kept active in other ways instead. And yet I was still accused of doing too much during my pregnancy by some people. I am sure I gave you a bit of a hard time when you were pregnant but I guess I choose to err on the side of being conservative while pregnant. Seems like there's always going to be running so why go to extremes for those short 9 months? There's a lot we don't know about pregnancy and I guess I am a bit of a worry-wart.

Since I am commenting, I have done two Ironman races. I would HIGHLY suggest NOT doing an IM while pregnant. Just doesn't seem fun to worry about the risks. I would rather save that kind of first-time event for when I could go all out and push. 12+ hours is a long time to be out there dehydrating. There will always be Ironman races, you know? And you WON'T always be pregnant!

Having followed you from the beginning, I think you've gotten wiser and less determined to prove a point, but rather do your thing because it's your thing! Make sense? I like that you can admit to you quirks rather than becoming defensive about them.

Now, I hope you can go forth into this pregnancy and ENJOY. Don't make it about weight or how much you can put your body through but focus on the good parts of it - the parts that you did a great job of celebrating last time around (sharing that time with your husband, feeling the baby kick, etc.). I hope to join you soon!

sea legs girl said...

The Chapples, I am really touched by that comment! I'm glad you clarified. I had wondered about your comment on runango and if it refered to all exercise or just biking. And why was it you didn't want to bike? Well, I appreciate your well-wishes and DO hope you join soon :).

If I don't do an ironman, it won't be because I'm pregnant, but because it costs like $600 and I am worried with my biking that I won't make it under the time limit (!). Still gotta think about it but am leaning towards a half ironman right now just to get some more practice in before the big one.

The Chapples said...

I am a super-klutz and even though I've never had a bike wreck, I was worried that I would crash so I just didn't ride at all while preggo. I've had a lot of friends who have but I just couldn't. Told ya I was a worry-wart! I still haven't because I don't have time, and I don't really want to put myself out on the road right now with a little one. My husband is a cyclist and seems like having two parents risking their lives isn't smart (yep, I know I am risking dying just walking my dog down the street but you know what I mean :P).

I can definitely say that having been through my own pregnancy softened how I feel about your pregnancy experience. I sure didn't like people judging my actions so it's not fair that I judged yours. That said, as an eating disorder therapist, I still worry a lot about your extreme views on what is a beautiful female body, but my hunch is that this will become less important for you over the years. It's definitely the case for me and it's a freedom I've really enjoyed.

The Chapples said...

Oh forgot to add...

Re: Ironman. I think it would be smart, preggo or not, to do a half IM before a full anyway. Long distance triathlon is a WHOLE other animal! Takes a lot of practice to get the nutrition down pat, first off, and also just learning to pace oneself. It's very different than an ultra-running event. Easier in ways, much harder in others. I just think you might end up disappointed with your performance jumping into a full IM without the experience of a half. Again, just my opinion which amounts to a hill of beans, but I think Ironman would be a good thing to save for a time when you've had it as your "A" race...fully trained for the specifics of that kind of event.

Fast Bastard said...

Having read along as a concerned bystander over the years, on blogs and the comments on runango, it's obvious that things have changed.

Just 3 years ago when Sea Legs was pregnant with the Lorax, some people were convinced exercising vigorously was bad. In the meantime, it's become fashionable to run while pregnant and Runnersworld has had at least two blogs with pregnant runners. Paula Radcliffe did her part, too.

Some of the things that were said three years ago now sound so anachronistic because we look at exercise in pregnancy differently. I forget the different obstetrical guidelines but Sea Legs has outlined previously how they have changed with respect to exercise recommendations. I am certain that more recent pregnancy books, perhaps even a newer version of Girlfriend's Guide, recommend moderate exercise in pregnancy.

Without a doubt, it's now considered dangerous to not exercise in pregnancy. Mildly dangerous, but statistically harmful nonetheless. So nervous nellies should exercise; the conservative approach is to exercise, not vice versa.

I'm a man, though. If exercise feels inherently wrong to some pregnant ladies, who am I to tell them what to do? Listening to one's body etc. is more important the official guidelines, of course.

Interestingly, the data in cancer patients is similar, ie. that exercise improves survival. Still, people have a similar "play it safe" prejudice against exercise. Family members want mom to lay low and regain her strength, when in fact the best way to regain strength is to rehab/exercise.

sea legs girl said...

FB,

I thought you said I shouldn't exercise "in my condition"!

No, but seriously now (isn't that always the segue of stand-up comics?), I like your comparison to survival in cancer. It is similar in that physicians should recommend exercise, but I disagree with you when you say it's "dangerous" not to. I would just say, it is not as healthy or as prudent. Fine line, I guess.

Just so everyone knows, FB is on call right now. We're not sitting at computers next to each other not talking.

sea legs girl said...

The Chapples, well I'm really glad we had this little discussion, because I can see we agree and I admit I have grown up a bit over the last 3 years. And when I look back at what I wrote then, I am tempted to make fun of myself, too. Oh, well.

Anyway, I think everyone on runango learned that the world is pretty small and you shouldn't write something on a forum that you wouldn't say to someones face (and there were many more egregious offenders than you). But now I am kind of feeling like the loser quoting you like that and then receiving such a thoughtful, mature response. Thanks for not getting mad.

Anonymous said...

Oh people on the forums are still judgmental asses, Sea Legs. Don't let them off so easily.

Julia said...

Hi SLG, Congratulations on your pregnancy! One thing has not been mentioned in your post or in the comments, besides your mention at the beginning of your post that you didn't want to gain more than 5.5 kg or 7 kg last time.

There's a wide spectrum with, at one end, the women who totally lose control, eat whatever they want, gain 100 pounds, etc, and at the other end, the women who somehow miraculously get pregnant in the midst of a raging eating disorder and continue their restriction throughout the pregnancy. Both ends of the spectrum have been shown to harm the fetus (you're the researcher, I'm sure you can find the studies on both sides of the coin). Anyway, as you've written extensively about here, you fall towards the overly controlling end of the spectrum when it comes to food and weight (e.g., your post before you found out you were pregnant).

It seems like a lot of concern and outrage about your behaviors during your previous pregnancy resulted from a conflation of your unusual exercise habits with your eating and weight issues. By opening your post with a comment about how little weight you wished to gain with the Lorax, then only writing about how hours and hours of exercise were just fine, I think you're also confounding the exercise discussion with your weight issues.

Best of luck sorting through all of this stuff, and I hope you have an enjoyable pregnancy!

The Chapples said...

Nah, I wouldn't get mad at being mentioned. I have a tendency towards setting myself up for attack so I can't blame you :P. But you're welcome to delete my Runango forum name on here, esp. since I don't even USE that name anymore on there.

Karen said...

I agree with FB. Exercise, whether you're pregnant or a cancer patient, helps quality of life immensely. It helps keep strength as well as boosting mood on a daily basis.

I don't have experience with the pregnancy side of it all yet, but I was diagnosed with cancer nearly six years ago and it was treated aggressively for 11 months with chemo, radiation, and surgery. It was the most terrible year of my life. I ran the first two months, weekly distance of 10 mi at 12:00/mi pace (pre-cancer was 25mi and 10:00/mi pace). Then I had to switch to walking and (sometimes)rollerblading, which I continued daily, some days with my evil IV pole through the halls of the hospital, through month 10. On days that I didn't exercise at all, I felt sluggish and had a sour outlook on life. I went as far and as long as I felt like I could, and just didn't go on days I didn't feel up to it.

Since you are already exercising at such a high level, reducing your exercise to what "typical" people think is right just doesn't make sense. If you feel like it, then why the heck not? If you collapse or feel dizzy, well duh!, you're going to call it a day. Who wouldn't? I wish more people would just trust that you know your body better than anyone else. Only you know when you've gone too far.

Congrats on the pregnancy! I'm excited to hear how it works with your training plans. Hubby and I are toying with the idea of a family ourselves and I'm curious to see how you juggle it all :)

Ellen said...

Don't be discouraged Sea legs girl! Not having had children, being a medical doctor, or knowing your physical history, I would not feel comfortable giving you an exercise prescription. And if I were you, I would only take the advice of someone like me with a grain of salt.

That said, I think you're a great inspiration and I really hope you keep up whatever exercise works for you. I would expect that for a reasonable person like you, keeping yourself healthy is the best way to produce a healthy child.

I like your coach's advice. I assume that as your stomach grows, some movements might become limited or you feel winded faster. No one else knows what feels bad or how much energy you have, so trust yourself and your doctor. I'm sure you've done enough workouts to know what is just a good, tough workout and what is dehydration or exhaustion or muscle failure that makes you dizzy or overworked.

By the way, there are lots of great crossfit pregnancy videos and pregnancy modifications.

Those kids are adorable.

clea said...

Congrats on your pregnancy. I compromised with my doc when pregnant and did no run over 6 miles...I think she would have fired me as a patient if I didn't compromise somehow. I did a lot of yoga and bike trainer riding, and now that I have a 5 month old, I am running faster and with less aches and pains then I did pre-pregnancy. As much as it pained me to watch my friends compete in marathons and ultras while I just got slower and fatter, I think a year of not running 20 milers every weekend did me good. But, I do agree to just go with how you feel. I would just remind myself that while it seems long at the time, a pregnancy is really just a blip in your lifetime, and I know I have a lot of years to continue with my running goals. Best wishes to you and your family...

Carrie said...

I'm so excited for you! You're right, this pregnancy isn't about proving anything to anyone. It's exactly about what you said, doing as much as you can for as long as you feel comfortable. The human body is a wonderful thing, if we weren't supposed to be active during pregnancy then perhaps we would have evolved into something that has temporary paralysis during those nine months.

this blogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
this blogger said...

Someone pointed this blog out to me. I've heard about it but never read an entry until now since you used a comment by me. For the record, the post you cut and pasted into your blog was the only post I made in that thread. It was a reply to someone else. It was not a judgment on you or anyone except the person I made the comment about. I feel that you putting my comment in your blog in the manner you chose takes my comment complete out of the context in which it was originally made. I would like it removed if possible.

Good luck with your pregnancy.

-adamneh

sea legs girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sea legs girl said...

Hey Julia,

Yeah, the exercise issue is easier to discuss because I am convinced that was healthy. But evidence is not clear on weight gain. I have discussed it ad nauseum before and don't really feel like getting into it and that's why I didn't. Suffice it to say, I hope to have the same weight gain with this pregancy since the first went well and The Lorax was healthy.

Thansk for your thoughts!

sea legs girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sea legs girl said...

Hey Adamneh,

I'm glad you wrote, because I was curious what was so dangerous and silly about riding a bike 8 months pregnant. I did nearly every day! Okay granted it was spinning at 8 months because there was so much snow and ice on the roads, but I rode outdoors at least through 6 months.

I don't think I took your quote out of context. It is hard to take the statement that riding a bike 8 months pregnant is silly because of the dangers out of context. And that you didn't think the women in AZ should do it when pregnant.

But if it is what you believe, there shouldn't be a problem with the fact that your profile name stays.

Forums (even the private, members-only ones, which I joined to see all the idiotic things written about me) do not exist in bubbles. If it is on the internet, I can quote it on my blog.

I really thank you for the well wishes with my pregnancy and don't mean to single you out, but need to make a point here.

this blogger said...

The dangers to me of riding a bike at 8 months are rather obvious. I'm not talking about taking it easy in the neighborhood. I'm taking about riding amongst traffic at speeds in excess of 20mph. One fall at that speed could spell disaster. Not to say that it is going to happen or that the chances of a fall happening being more than negligible, but it is still a risk that, in my opinion, is not worth taking at that point in the pregnancy.

Lisa said...

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME and congratulations! I am soooooo happy for you and SR!

Of course, you know I followed your first pregnancy and was inspired to run all the way to week 36 of mine! The attitudes about running and pregnancy have really changed in the last couple of years. All those evil nasty people can go scratch. They were wrong, they were mean, and they were catty, and they were al lot of other adjectives, which I am sure you can think of quite easily.

YOU GO GIRL! Bet you are faster yet after baby #2.

Lisa

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmmonyka said...

Yeah, love for Andy Schleck and running:)
I am really excited for you and can't wait reading all about your "new" adventure and your training.

DANIELLE said...

I'm pregnant, too, and thankfully found your blog when I was trying to find info on running and pregnancy. You are not alone SLG. I've even had a family member tell me I would have to stop running when I would have children just due to being a mother. Can you believe that backwards, misogynist nonsense?

The pregnancy police just live to make us pregos hysterical and now they even spread the ridiculous notion that stress can "kill your baby." My god. Thank goodness most of us pregos have *actual doctors*, for example, mine who said I could keep doing the same physical activities I did before getting pregnant as long as I didn't get dehydrated or overheated. She also said unusual pain or light-headedness = immediate break and rest. Well, anyone who runs consistently for years knows the difference between normal pain and bad pain. lol

Another point to consider: The fact that so many US women can't conceive because they are obese or morbidly obese (61% of Americans are overweight or obese). There are obvious negative fertility consequences associated with the couch potato lifestyle, the list of which is infertility and I would be surprised if higher rates of miscarriage correlate with obesity, as well. Why are these women so concerned about the status of *your fetus* when they themselves are so incredibly unhealthy, so much so that they are functionally infertile? Unfortunately, other people want to affirm their life choices and I would bet that many of those critics are obese or overweight and have other serious health problems (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, which is an unbelievably devastating and underestimated and highly preventable disease). I'm just saying this to encourage you to consider the source of the criticisms.

Thin =/= healthy or fit, either, so don't think I'm just hating on obese women. I've been overweight. I know what it's like.

It's just that lots of people couch their hatred for female independence in "concern" but it is really just hatred and desire to be right, look good and arrogantly think that they are being heroes and saving women and fetuses from those independent women. This explains the tone and vitriol. It isn't about the baby. It's about a lot of other things, but it isn't about your baby. If they wanted to be heroes, then why don't they get off the couch and practice saving themselves? Pregnant women are easy targets, as demonstrated by the many other hateful, vitriolic, and incredibly ignorant demands and restrictions complete strangers impose on pregos.

By the way, you might be interested in a decent book specifically about running during pregnancy. It's called "Runner's World Guide to Running and Pregnancy" by Chris Lundgren.

DANIELLE said...

I'm pregnant, too, and thankfully found your blog when I was trying to find info on running and pregnancy. You are not alone SLG. I've even had a family member tell me I would have to stop running when I would have children just due to being a mother. Can you believe that backwards, misogynist nonsense?

The pregnancy police just live to make us pregos hysterical and now they even spread the ridiculous notion that stress can "kill your baby." My god. Thank goodness most of us pregos have *actual doctors*, for example, mine who said I could keep doing the same physical activities I did before getting pregnant as long as I didn't get dehydrated or overheated. She also said unusual pain or light-headedness = immediate break and rest. Well, anyone who runs consistently for years knows the difference between normal pain and bad pain. lol

Another point to consider: The fact that so many US women can't conceive because they are obese or morbidly obese (61% of Americans are overweight or obese). There are obvious negative fertility consequences associated with the couch potato lifestyle, the list of which is infertility and I would be surprised if higher rates of miscarriage correlate with obesity, as well. Why are these women so concerned about the status of *your fetus* when they themselves are so incredibly unhealthy, so much so that they are functionally infertile? Unfortunately, other people want to affirm their life choices and I would bet that many of those critics are obese or overweight and have other serious health problems (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, which is an unbelievably devastating and underestimated and highly preventable disease). I'm just saying this to encourage you to consider the source of the criticisms.

Thin =/= healthy or fit, either, so don't think I'm just hating on obese women. I've been overweight. I know what it's like.

It's just that lots of people couch their hatred for female independence in "concern" but it is really just hatred and desire to be right, look good and arrogantly think that they are being heroes and saving women and fetuses from those independent women. This explains the tone and vitriol. It isn't about the baby. It's about a lot of other things, but it isn't about your baby. If they wanted to be heroes, then why don't they get off the couch and practice saving themselves? Pregnant women are easy targets, as demonstrated by the many other hateful, vitriolic, and incredibly ignorant demands and restrictions complete strangers impose on pregos.

By the way, you might be interested in a decent book specifically about running during pregnancy. It's called "Runner's World Guide to Running and Pregnancy" by Chris Lundgren.

DANIELLE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Well said, Danielle! I couldn't agree more.

sea legs girl said...

Thanks, Danielle! I am glad you took the time to write and I agree wholeheartedly that our society, more so the American one than the Scandinavian one, is behind the medical community in the sense that women who exercise pregnant are criticized to such an extent. But misconceptions are disappearing, thankfully. Best wishes for a wonderful pregnancy!!

Layna (aka Willow) said...

SLG, I'm late to the blog so, first, congrats on the pregnancy!

I also found your blog during my first pregnancy, when my OB was fairly supportive of my running (30 or 40 mpw and a half marathon at 32 weeks; I ran until the day before I delivered). I found that running helped keep me sane through pregnancy (and after), and I was lucky not to have much in the way of joint pain (although I had some during the third trimester). And I also found that, first trimester, running helped to keep my nausea at bay and/or my appetite up.

But I did get lots of comments from folks, including the guys w/ whom I run, about whether or not it was ok to run (and to run on trails, which I stopped doing third trimester) through pregnancy. They weren't necessarily telling me I shouldn't, but there's almost no research on pregnancy and exercise, so I think folks tend to assume it's dangerous unless proven otherwise. Incredibly frustrating, of course!

When I got pregnant a second time, I was running about 50mpw, and I just decided to keep with it. I ran the NYC marathon at 26 weeks, with the blessing of my OB. And it was great -- although I probably didn't look quite pregnant enough (people seemed to wonder what the "26 miles at 26 weeks" on my shirt was supposed to mean). It certainly wasn't my fastest time, but I came in under BQ time, which was sort of fun.

It certainly was easier the second time around, b/c I was less worried that I'd screw something up (thereby proving the naysayers right) and also b/c my running friends (and husband) were less worried, b/c I had run through pregnancy just fine the first time. I loved that my OB would bring med students by to my checkups, to demonstrate to them that there was absolutely no reason why a fit woman (my only risk factor was being 37 years old) shouldn't keep running throughout pregnancy.

I joked to my husband the other day that I'd better not get pregnant again, lest I have to do an ultra in my 3rd trimester to demonstrate my toughness. Ha ha (and good luck at your 50M!)

Layna

楊儀卉 said...

你的努力我們都看見了--支持你...............................................................

Wendy said...

SLG- Just found your great blog.

Are you familiar with the super soccer moms: Joy Fawcett and Carla Overbck- both USWNT captains?

Long before you had The Lorax, Joy gave birth to daughter no. 1 in 1994 and trained fully through 9 months. She was back on the pitch 3 weeks later.

Repeat similiarly for daughter no. 3-- with a bit more time off for daughter no. 2.

Overbeck lifted (squats) the day her water broke with son (1st of 2 kiddos).

Listen to your body and good luck! You'll do wonderfully!

Mary said...

Wow, I can't believe people could be so rude. The sad fact is that medical science hasn't studied women in sports nearly enough, and pregnant women in sports hardly at all. Until the medical establishment cares enough to study women in sports, our best bet is to do exactly what you are doing. Find a good doctor, do what feels right, and remain observant. The other big thing is that it isn't anyone else's business! Your body, your baby, your life. Good luck on the training! If you want some perspectives on pregnancy that respect your choices, I highly recommend the following books.

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Wears-Combat-Boots-Parenting/dp/1904859720

http://www.amazon.com/Runners-World-Guide-Running-Pregnancy/dp/1579547478/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279491859&sr=1-1

Cheers! Thanks for being an inspiration :-)

宜欣宜欣 said...

may the blessing be always with you!!..................................................................

sea legs girl said...

Thanks, Layna for sharing your experience. You running an ultra in the third trimester may be fun after all. There was a legedary woman in the midwest who ran either a 50 k or 50 miler months pregnant. Everyone was a little scared, but mostly in awe.

Wendy, welcome and thanks for the info on Joy and Carla. I was not aware of them.

Mary, I also think it is HARD to do a good study with pregnant exercisers because they are just healthier to begin with AND it's unethical to force woman who don't exercise to start. So yeah, a lot of what we do we have to just trust ourselves and our doctors and most of the time it works out well and the times it doesn't, it's not because we exercised!

Anonymous said...

SLG--as someone who struggled to get pregnant and would do anything to have a baby, your comments are abrasive. You seem to take pregnancy for granted. And, I guess, since you have not had the pain of infertility you can't know what a blessing it is and how there are those of us that would do anything to have a baby and would give up anything to have that baby. To me, you seem like a very selfish person who puts vanity above the potential health of a child. It seems staying "skinny" and running high mileage is more important to you than taking care of your child. I think it is fine to run through your pregnancy and be active; I ran through my first pregnancy. But, running 13 miles a day plus biking, swimming, and dieting is not healthy. Do a search on pregorexia and you may find a description of your tendencies. I can't believe you and your husband are both physicians and so blatantly suffering from confirmation bias in your thoughts on exercise during pregnancy. Perhaps your recent miscarriage will make you think twice about the value of life and appreciate that some things are more important than your vanity. And, make your husband consider whether a woman that is willing to take risks with the health of her child to maintain a workout regimen and limited weight gain is worthy enough to be a mother. You may have gotten lucky once, but I believe your luck has run out.