"Who says working out means you’re only concerned with your appearance?"

By Claire Gillespie
June 18, 2020
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Social media can be a great place when you’re pregnant. You can get advice on everything from heartburn to hemorrhoids, maternity clothes to potential baby names. But there’s another side of the coin: Pregnancy-shaming for moms-to-be—and fitness trainer and influencer Anna Victoria, who's currently 32 weeks pregnant, found herself on the receiving end some unwarranted pregnancy advice recently. 

In an Instagram post shared Wednesday, Victoria, 36, shared that she received a comment related to her pregnancy workouts, which she regularly posts on her page. "I recently got this comment in regards to me working out while pregnant," she wrote. The comment told her to: "Go swimming. Don’t hurt your baby. Those bends are not good. Enjoy pregnancy and stop being so concerned about your appearance."

Clearly irked by the comment (and who wouldn't be?), Victoria responded to the suggestions in the rest of her Instagram caption by sharing all the things she's worried about during her pregnancy—none of which have anything to do with her physical appearance.

"Here's what I *am* concerned about," she wrote: "The aches and pains of pregnancy making life more painful/difficult on a day to day basis, which my workouts have helped with tremendously thus far in preventing." Victoria said her workouts can also help with diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction, both conditions which "can be greatly mitigated via exercising, specifically by working your transverse [abdominis] and inner core muscles as well as the pelvic floor."

Victoria also brought up the possibility of her having a vaginal birth, if she's able to, and how being physically fit may help to ensure she has "the endurance and strength to endure the marathon that birth will be." She's working on strengthening her posterior chain—or the muscles along the body's backside—too, "which will help counteract my growing belly and help prevent back pain/postural problems both during pregnancy and post-partum," she wrote.

Lastly, Victoria said that, overall, her reasons for working out during pregnancy are "to lay the foundation for an overall strong body to prepare for the fact that I’m going to be carrying a human around for the next few years, minimum. It’s going to take a toll on my body NOT for how it looks, but for how it’s going to feel, and that’s something that my workouts will help with," she wrote.

Of course, Victoria's not claiming to be the expert on pregnancy workouts, but shared that she's simply doing what feels right for her body—and again, her looks have absolutely no bearing on that. "Whoever said working out means you only care about your appearance was greatly mistaken, especially when it comes to working out in pregnancy since the benefits are numerous," she wrote. "I’m also not claiming working out is the answer to all pregnancy woes, there’s SO much more at play than that, but if it helps and you’re physically able, why not try?"

And just so her point was totally clear, Victoria also fought back for women who are concerned about their physical appearance during pregnancy—and how it's unfair to shame them for whatever reason they choose to work out while pregnant. "And let’s say a woman IS concerned about her appearance, who are we to shame her for that, pregnant or not," Victoria questioned. "You can still work out, reap all the benefits, be proud of the physical manifestation of all that hard work, but still love and appreciate your perfectly imperfect body. Mmmk??” 

The moral of the story: You do you. If you stay active during pregnancy, you’ll reap the benefits. Whether that involves swimming or lifting weights, it’s your call (as long as it's approved by your doctor). And if you don’t want to do anything more strenuous than reach over your baby bump for the TV remote, that’s fine too. But don’t shame a mom-to-be who makes a different choice than you.

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