Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exercising While Pregnant

I hope this can become a theme of this blog, because I am discovering that working out while pregnant is a little trickier than I originally thoughtit would be.  I belong to a dojang where I study taekwondo, and since I started seven or so years ago, I have worked out with one woman who was pregnant and heard rumors that there had been another one before I arrived -- so I didn't think it would be a big deal to keep doing martial arts when I got pregnant.  Yes, there are modifications to make, and I will probably go into those in another post, but a lot of it can transfer quite easily.  Forms, my favorite part of taekwondo, are just fine.


A few weeks ago, I went to the doctor to confirm my pregnancy and had an unpleasant conversation with the nurse.  There were about a million forms to fill out and I had to check off all kinds of boxes about my own medical history and that of my family.  One of the questions: what kind of exercise do you do?

I put down everything: martial arts, cycling, walking, jogging, swimming.  The nurse went over my forms with me and when we got to that question, she told me that walking and swimming were just fine.  Martial arts and jogging would need to be modified (I was expecting that).  And then she told me I had to quit riding my bike.  I was shocked, and then she gave me her explanation:

"You don't want to get hit by a car, do you?"

Now, I'll admit that she was right.  I don't want to get hit by a car.  In fact, I would include that item pretty high on a list of things I never want to happen to me.  But what does it have to do with being pregnant?  I mean, let's face it -- I would rather not get hit by a car even when I'm not with child.

My husband helped me buy my first bike shortly before we got married, about three or four years ago.  He loves to bike around town, and we made a habit of biking to dinner, to the movies, downtown, to the bar, anywhere we wanted to go.  I commuted to work by bike about twice a week when I had a job and it was about eight miles each direction.  In all this time -- riding on the road with traffic, riding at night, riding out in the country, riding downtown at rush hour -- I have been hit by a car exactly zero times.

I was a little upset at the nurse's answer, because it was so obviously bullsh*t.  And if she was feeding me garbage about cycling, then I had to face the possibility that everything she told me during that meeting was garbage.  (And since one of the other things she said was that I would "never remember anything" from that meeting, and I can still recall most of it, I don't think I actually believe anything she told me.  I switched to a different practice.)

But dealing with this nurse throws into high relief something I'm learning about being pregnant: there's no way to make everyone happy.  Most non-pregnant people seem to think you should be on the couch with your feet up most of the time, except then you read in all the books about how fat you are going to get if you don't start working out more.  But don't work out too much or you are going to faint and/or end up with a stupid baby or something.  So.  I can't make everyone happy.  I can just do a little research on the things I like to do and try to keep myself and my unborn kid safe.

Whatever I find out in my search, I'll put it here.

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