Why do women stop training while pregnant?

I am part of a Climbing Mama FB group, and despite the fact that all of us are seasoned climbers and moms or moms to be, we all still seem confused about what’s ok to do. Whenever someone asks a question that starts with “while pregnant, is it ok to…”, everyone talks about what they do, and then the consensus is, “just do what ‘feels’ right”. I for one hate this answer! I personally am the type of person that might be like, “ok, well I’ll just do everything to my max because it feels right to push myself”, while someone else who has a lot of pregnancy fears might go, “ok, well I’m terrified of hurting the baby, so my exercise will be limited to walking”.

Assuming we are fit to begin with, and assuming we have no issues or health problems, ( this is where we talk to our doctors) then we should all be able to do similar excercises and NOT rely on some vague mama super-sense (which I may lack because I don’t know what ‘feels right’ ever).

So what influences our feelings of what is right and wrong? Typically, I think it could be our family (particularly older generations telling us we shouldn’t be lifting heaving things etc). Or perhaps it is society. If we aren’t confident that squating with weights is safe, and we are on our 3rd rep at the gym and we are the recipient of some snarky comment such as “oh that’s how you got so fit right after the last pregnancy, you never let your body be pregnant”, then yeah, we might avoid that. Western society used to dictate that women were delicate flowers prone to fainting whenever we encountered stress, heat, or exertion. And a pregnant woman? Well, this woman was especially susceptible. I mean just look at the birth practices of the early 20th and even mid 20th century! There was NO faith in a woman’s strength or power. They were strapped down to beds, drugged, and birthed. Family couldn’t even be in the room for fear of women being seen as un-lady-like. Of course it was the drugs that caused  women to behave like deranged animals, and they didn’t remember it (because of the drugs). So yeah, my point is that we have a lot of societal expectations and old wives tales to overcome when it come to training during and after pregnancy.

Am I saying train with reckless abandon? No. Am I saying ignore aches and pains while training? Absolutely not! Should you ignore your doctor when he/she advises you to stop climbing while pregnant? No, but you should make sure you explain climbing, show them your harness AND maybe ask a 2nd opinion. Also, it’s important to take pregnancy day by day. There are certainly days where energy is really low, nausea is strong or you just couldn’t sleep the night before. Should you go and “train through it?” Maybe it’s a good day to just go for a walk or just lay on the couch. So my point is, don’t make a big decision about what you will and will not do regarding exercise without some research. Certainly don’t base decisions on what your grandma suggests or even on fear, because likely this fear is a product of antiquated beliefs. There is good research based info out there! It’s just not common knowledge.

Kris at Power Company pointed me to a great resource called girlsgonestrong.com. She has a great article that talks about training and talks about the do’s and don’ts AND explains why.  Check it out! She also has a FB group and an Instagram page.


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