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Does My Pregnant Wife Exercise Too Much?

How much exercise is too much during pregnancy?

On Tuesday, Caroline got her first 3-D ultrasound during this pregnancy, and the images of Grand Finale were absolutely incredible. He’s beautiful, y’all. At 3lbs and 11oz, he’s already bigger than one of our triplets was at birth (Kirby at 3.5)! Caroline’s doctor is tickled pink. Not only with Grand Finale’s weight, but also with Caroline’s.

So why do others continually freak that Caroline, at 31 weeks, still works out regularly?

The truth is, I’m one of those people. But it’s for a different reason than others. See, Caroline’s primary mode of exercise these days is tennis. She plays at least two times a week and still competes in USTA matches (in which she regularly prevails, I might add). And I’m not at all worried that she’s jarring her body too much, or getting her heart rate too high, or that she’ll fall while lunging for a volley.

I’m worried someone’s gonna peg her in the stomach with a two-handed backhand. But aside from the visceral reaction to the potentiality of my unborn son getting pelted with a tennis ball, I realize that there is little danger to such an occurrence.

Still, others seem to be concerned about the actual physicality of the exercise. They express this concern in different ways, usually in the form of statements just ambiguous enough to not come off judgmental.

“I can’t believe she’s still exercising as much as she is.”

Then there’s the insinuation by comparison:

“There’s no way, I’d still be exercising at if I were at that stage of a pregnancy.” (This one is always followed by a self conscious laugh.)

But what most of these women fail to realize is this: Caroline has always exercised a lot. More than most people, in fact. So it’s not like she’s just gonna stop once she got pregnant. The reason why many these women can’t imagine exercising like she does while pregnant is because they could never imagine exercising like she does while not pregnant. They don’t have the baseline of fitness that Caroline does. So, while I’m certain they are genuine in the comments and observations they make, they’re operating under the assumption of “one size fits all.” And it doesn’t.

Caroline isn’t exercising too much at all. At least that’s what I think. Yet my opinion means little on the matter. The only one that counts belongs to her doctor whom we trust with our lives, and, obviously, with our unborn child’s. And he’s just fine with exercise. As is the medical community in general. Here are some tips when it comes to pregnancy and exercise from WebMD:

Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation.

Do not let your heart rate exceed 140 beats per minute.

Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.

The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, and low-impact aerobics (taught by a certified aerobics instructor).

Tennis and racquetball are generally safe activities, but changes in balance during pregnancy may affect rapid movements.

Regardless of what Caroline’s doctor says, or, for that matter, what WebMD says, there will always be naysayers. During the triplet pregnancy Caroline had to deal with countless whispers pertaining to her weight. I always chalked up such comments to pettiness.

But aside from pettiness, my time blogging at Being Pregnant has taught me that pregnancy, for many at least, is quite competitive. Far more so than the USTA matches in which Caroline regularly competes. Yet like those matches, the object for the women who are competitive with regard to their pregnancy is to win.

Because winning makes means they’re a good Mom. And if someone is doing something differently than they would be doing in their pregnancy, then questioning that person puts them in a position of victory. Which, of course, means that the questioner is the better mom. She wins.

But that’s not Caroline’s game. Her game is tennis. And playing it keeps her in great shape. Even when she’s 31 weeks pregnant.

Visit John’s personal blog.

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