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Extreme Pregnancies: Are These Moms Hardcore or Hard-headed?

When you’re far enough along in your pregnancy, even the simplest task — getting out of bed, making it to the bathroom, putting on shoes — can feel like an extreme sport. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to exercise during their pregnancies, but what do you make of these super-active moms-to-be? They’re not just attending prenatal yoga classes; they’re surfing, ice skating, and even running marathons! — Amanda Green


  • Bikram Baby 1 of 10
    Bikram Baby
    Actress Jenny McCarthy has been in hot water for encouraging pregnant women to practice Bikram yoga, in which the studio is heated to at least 100 degrees. This form of yoga is challenging for even non-pregnant individuals, and most doctors don't recommend it for pregnant women, as it can raise core body temperature and lead to dehydration for two. McCarthy claims Bikram yoga kept her energy up and her body fit during pregnancy. (FYI, Prenatal yoga offers the same benefits, minus the heat.)
    Photo credit: Glamour
  • Biking with a Bump 2 of 10
    Biking with a Bump
    Brandy Keener wasn't allowed to work as a flight attendant throughout her pregnancy, but she chose to keep her side job teaching spin classes. Brandy found an obstetrician who was accustomed to working with athletic patients, got her regimen approved, and hit the exercise bikes. But pedaling actually wasn't the biggest challenge; surviving a one-hour class without a bathroom break was.
    Photo credit: Baby Business
  • A Hike to the Hospital 3 of 10
    A Hike to the Hospital
    Hiking trails vary in terms of steepness, but a pregnant woman isn't as quick on her feet, whatever the terrain. When Rachel Suttie tripped and fell while hiking with her father, she immediately began experiencing abdominal cramps. Hours later, she gave birth to her second daughter. Here's the thing: Rachel had no idea she was pregnant. She'd suffered a miscarriage months prior and was told she'd lost twins, when it turned out one twin survived and was carried to term. Rachel named her baby Fern, after the plant that brought her to her feet.
    Photo credit: Losing the Familiar
  • Preggers on Ice 4 of 10
    Preggers on Ice
    While it's a struggle to get into those pre-baby jeans after giving birth, French ice dancer Isabelle Delobel fit into something even slinkier: the short spandex costume she wore to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Delodel trained with her skating partner throughout her pregnancy and returned to the ice a mere three weeks after giving birth. With the baby born, the pair could finally practice the lifts and jumps required in their routine. On the big day, they earned sixth place. Not too shabby for a woman who'd just had a baby — or any woman, period.
    Photo credit: icenetwork.com
  • Rock-climbing for Two 5 of 10
    Rock-climbing for Two
    You won't see anyone with a baby bump trekking up Everest, but extreme outdoor sports aren't entirely out of the question. Carrie Cooper, an experienced rock-climber, was surprised when her obstetrician gave her the okay to keep going. (It helps that rock-climbing is about choosing routes suited to your skill level and using safety gear to prevent falls.) Apparently there are enough pregnant climbers out there to spur one woman to create Mountain Mama, a line of outdoor clothing just for moms-to-be.
    Photo credit: USA Today
  • Pregnancy’s a Marathon 6 of 10
    Pregnancy's a Marathon
    Veteran marathon runner Amber Miller is used to going the distance, but the 2011 Chicago Marathon was especially exhausting for her. At 39 weeks pregnant, she finished the race in 6 hours, 25 minutes — running one half and walking the other. Seven hours later, she gave birth to her second child. Miller's marathon training was doctor-approved during not one, but two, pregnancies, and her husband ran alongside her each time. Oh, and since you're wondering: Miller said the 26.2 mile marathon was much easier than childbirth. Noted.
    Photo credit: Running Skirts
  • Prenatal Parachuting 7 of 10
    Prenatal Parachuting
    When skydiver Shayna Richardson's main and reserve parachutes failed to deploy, she landed face-first on the ground at 50 mph. Her leg, pelvis, and most of the bones in her face were shattered. But her unborn child — the one she didn't even know she was expecting — was miraculously unharmed. Richardson carried the baby to term, despite undergoing various surgeries. Doctors strongly advise pregnant women to abstain from skydiving. (Most facilities won't allow it anyway.) Richardson made her next jump after fully recovering from her accident and childbirth.
    Photo credit: Mental Health Foundation
  • Baby on (Surf)Board 8 of 10
    Baby on (Surf)Board
    Pro surfer Crystal Dzigas made waves when she surfed into her seventh month of pregnancy, despite doctor's orders that she stop during her first trimester. The mom-to-be couldn't imagine not spending her days at the beach but knew she had to accommodate her changing body and decreased dexterity. So she began surfing at a gentler ocean break, where amateurs tend to start out, and paddled on her knees instead of her belly. Her fiance, another pro surfer, encouraged her to hang ten.
    Photo credit: Mark Holladay Lee via PineappleLuv
  • Second Trimester Triathlete 9 of 10
    Second Trimester Triathlete
    Mandi was training for a triathlon when she discovered she was pregnant. Instead of letting her hard work go to waste, she decided to stick it out and compete at 18 weeks along. With years of strength training and daily exercise under her belt, the experience was enjoyable, if challenging. Mandi said her pregnant triathlon was less about competing with others and more about reveling in the completion of each task. Being pregnant even made the race easier in one way: the 20 pounds she'd gained provided more momentum when she biked downhill!
    Photo credit: Trainer Momma
  • Watersliding with Child 10 of 10
    Watersliding with Child
    Elsa Pataky, wife of Thor star Chris Hemsworth, had People magazine abuzz when she slid down a waterslide in St. Barts while newly pregnant. Yep, even a hint of a bump can lead to unwelcome judgment from strangers. (But you knew that!) You might want to stick to the shallow end in the third trimester, but a waterslide isn't as hardcore as, say, a rollercoaster. And what do you think it's like in the womb? Not too different from a waterslide ... with a lot more cushioning.
    Photo credit: People

Are “extreme pregnancies” a triumphant example of what women — with or without child — are capable of, or are these moms-to-be examples of what NOT to do?

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