The 2012 London Olympics seemed like a baby shower for fit pregnancy, a watershed for sport and motherhood. At the 2008 Beijing Games, swimmer Dara Torres had opened a door for women in sports to be highly visible moms, and the London Olympics picked up where she left off by placing mothers front and center. In no other Olympic broadcast had athlete moms been more celebrated, or perhaps more decorated. Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh-Jennings took home her third consecutive gold medal, having become a mother of two in the years between the Athens (2004) and London Games. The 2012 medal favorites in the women’s high jump included three moms of toddlers. Several of the most promising marathoners were also moms, including Kara Goucher of the United States and Romanian Constantina Dita, a 42-year-old mother of a teenager. No longer just waving flags tearfully from the stands, mothers were high-profile in the action and on the podium.
London was also a groundbreaking Olympics for expectant women. In no prior Games had a competitor participated at 36 weeks pregnant. Malaysian riflewoman Nur Suryani Mohammed competed in the 10-meter air-rife event, saying later in a press interview that she talked to her baby daughter in utero every morning, asking permission to shoot without being kicked. “If the baby kicks, I have to breathe easy and let her calm down before shooting,” said Nur. Now, that’s good advice for moms everywhere.
As a Muslim woman competing in Olympic air rife while 8 months pregnant, Nur might have broken through several layers of ground in elite sports. At the same time, she represents the modern age in women’s athletics. Today, many women are more likely to register for baby joggers and bike chariots than rock- ing chairs, and they’re inclined to stay fit and active throughout pregnancy. As Nur put it, “I am the mother. I know what I can do. I am stubborn.”
And yet many of us don’t know how much we can do, and we encounter raised eyebrows and voices of concern that Nur and other expectant mothers also face as they strive for a fit pregnancy. This book offers answers to clear up that confusion, and it will help empower you for a healthy, active 40 weeks and beyond. It covers your mind-body wellness as well as the health and safety of the baby you’re growing. And by presenting the most current knowledge on pregnancy and exercise and the advice and experiences of countless expectant women with active lifestyles, this book will equip you to navigate what can seem like the ultimate 9-month endurance sport.
At the same time that you’ll learn about fitness that is safe and healthy for women with pregnancies that are progressing normally, reading this book will help you focus on yourself. The central tenet of a fit pregnancy is that you value your own experience and heed your individual body’s cues in order to be strong, active, and healthy. This is your body and your pregnancy—no one else’s. You’re creating an ecosystem of flesh and blood, and your fit pregnancy won’t look precisely like that of any other woman. This book reminds you to trust your body and focus on a balance between mental and physical health in order to be fit and healthy while you grow a baby.
Designed for veteran and recreational athletes as well as general fitness enthusiasts, the book digs deeply into each trimester, including the often neglected “fourth trimester” of postpartum adjustment. Each of these chapters covers the essential information you need to cultivate a healthy pregnancy and start toward motherhood.
You’ll be able to read about such key topics as:
- What’s happening to my body?
- How do I fuel each trimester?
- How do I exercise safely throughout my pregnancy?
- How do I keep a fit mind during pregnancy?
You’ll learn about fitness options for each phase of pregnancy, focusing on running, biking, swimming, stretching, and strength training. Chapters feature simple and efficient exercises to enhance your fitness routine as well as advice on building mental strength and finding calm during this period of change, both for yourself and for your relationships.
A distinctive feature of this book is the insight offered by the many moms who have been there before you as well as the expert contributions of coaches, trainers, midwives, and doctors. What’s more, the book is rooted in the medical expertise of athlete OB-GYN Dr. Rachel Kramer, who offers current, balanced advice to guide you through a safe and rewarding pregnancy experience that honors your need for fitness and your care for your growing baby. You’ll find her expert contributions highlighted throughout the book. Simply put, this book offers you the best of all sources: sound medical advice, a mind-body fitness guide, and motivation from other women who have walked—or worked out—in your shoes.
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Please consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise program during pregnancy.