Pregnant Runners are NOT Mommyrexic.

3 Aug

I am going to try very hard to approach this subject with the severity and attention this issue deserves while also trying to express my personal views with how this issue was presented. Please keep in mind that I am not a healthcare or fitness professional and that these words are only my opinions. This post may end up being long, but I beg you to hang with me and read this in its entirety.

The other day while playing around on my friend, Katye’s blog (Legs On The Loose), my attention was brought to this clip that was presented on the Today MOMS segment of The Today Show.

(Note that NBC does not allow me to embed the video. This is only a screen shot. Please feel free to click the image to view the segment completely.)

There is so much here that upsets me. On one hand I want to be sad about the issue of Mommyrexia, while on the other, I want to punch someone about the women they have chosen to be the “face” of this problem.

First, let’s tackle the issue of Mommyrexia.

I understand that these days, with magazines showing us how mamas-to-be are “supposed” to look, the pressure is on to stay “hot”…even while carrying a child. The photos nag us to get back into pre-baby shape (or better) immediately and we feel like we are not doing our “job” if we aren’t rocking our pre-baby jeans within weeks of delivery. Knowing that there are pregnant women out there that are starving themselves, exercising to extremes, and practicing unsafe habits that endanger not only their lives but their children’s lives deeply saddens and concerns me. That is no lifestyle for a non-pregnant woman, but especially not for a pregnant one. Anyone with an eating disorder or body image/self-esteem issues, or who feel that being Mommyrexic honestly describes them should immediately seek counseling or medical attention.

Now, that being said…I would like address the WAY the Mommyrexia issue was presented.

Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are REAL diseases. I am in NO WAY trying to make light of this. However, I do not think that showing celebrities who have not ever admitted to having an eating disorder is appropriate or responsible on behalf of The Today Show. I agree that some celebrities seem unusually thin, but to assume that they are that way because of an eating disorder is presumptuous. These are women who do not have 9AM to 5PM jobs. In addition, they can afford personal trainers, hours spent at the gym, organic foods, nutritionists, etc. to help get them back in tip-top shape as soon as possible. And some of them actually ARE gifted by the High Metabolism Gods or Gene Pool Fairies. For almost all of them, looking slim and fashionable is their JOB. Most mothers and moms-to-be that I know have a regular day job and then have to fit in exercise, fixing meals, cleaning, family time, and everything else around it. We cannot be expected to hold ourselves to the same standard, nor should we. I know that women do it all the time, but comparing ourselves to celebrities is impractical. We are not in the same league.

Secondly, to show images and video clips of pregnant runners and assume they are Mommyrexic is COMPLETELY and UTTERLY irresponsible. I really expected more from The Today Show. To presume that women running through their pregnancies are only doing so to be “skinny” is atrocious. For many women, myself included, running is just a way of life…it was before I was pregnant, and to not include this activity during my pregnancy would seem odd. As runners, it is part of who we are. Very few female runners I know run to be skinny. I am not saying they don’t run to be fit and in shape, but “skinny” is very rarely a word that is tossed around. Running through pregnancy doesn’t automatically imply that these women are scared of gaining weight, that they aren’t eating, or that they are practicing unhealthy habits. Quite the contrary, staying active during pregnancy typically indicates a mama-to-be is more concerned with overall fitness, eating healthful and nutritious foods, being conscious of adequate hydration levels, taking vitamins, and staying healthy in general. Odds are, these are habits she had pre-pregnancy and plans to have post-pregnancy…to bridge the gap and practice these things DURING pregnancy only makes sense.

I want to make it clear that I do understand that by the end of the clip, the doctors are saying it is okay for women to continue exercising. But to have this commentary following the words “Mommyrexia” flashing across the screen seems contradictive and confusing for women who might be trying to educate themselves on the issue. Furthermore, if the topic of the segment was Mommyrexia, why did they only interview a woman who exercised and lost weight the healthy way? Why did they not interview a woman who was honestly Mommyrexic? I fear that by showing the words “too skinny” and “mommyrexia” on the screen followed by images of happy pregnant runners may inadvertently reinforce that “old school” mentality that, as pregnant women, all we should be doing is sitting around on the couch growing a baby.

This is NOT the picture of Mommyrexia. It is a picture of AWESOME.

Running through pregnancy is a perfectly safe activity under the guidance of a doctor or healthcare professional. In fact, you are seeing more athletic wear companies like For Two Fitness, fit2Bmom, and Mom Bod Fitness catering to mamas-to-be because being active is a GOOD thing! But to show women running (happy, smiling, and waving at the camera no less!) and plaster them with the negative shadow of being “mommyrexic” is not fair. In fact, one of the pregnant runners shown in the clip was Cindy Lynch, the founder of RunningSkirts.com. From what I understand, Cindy’s image and video was used for this segment without her explicit permission. (Note: This video was not obtained unlawfully.) These images were taken out of context and this, in my opinion, is thoughtless and potentially unethical journalism. There are many “old school” people that still believe it is absurd and preposterous for a woman to even want to run though pregnancy (often staring and yelling their opinions as we go by), but to show one who is doing it to keep her and her baby healthy and then imply that she is Mommyrexic seems dreadfully irresponsible…especially when this could not be farther from the truth.

NOT Mommyrexic

As a pregnant woman I will be straight-forward. As of today, I am 26 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I run, cycle, swim, or do some form of exercise EVERYDAY. I count calories. I drink crazy amounts of water. I also occasionally fret over the number on the scale and the roundness of my body (that seems to be getting rounder by the second). Did I do all this before I was pregnant? Of course. Will I do this after Baby Key arrives? All signs point to “yes.” Does it mean I have a problem or that I am Mommyrexic?? Gracious, no! It means that I am a health-conscious woman who wants to maintain my level of fitness, gain a healthy amount of baby weight, keep my vital signs in check, and be the very best version of me that I can be when my sweet bundle of joy enters the world. How can I or any other fit mamas-to-be be faulted for that?

Again, I completely understand that Mommyrexia is a serious and dire issue. But equating Mommyrexia to a mama-to-be who is just trying her best to stay fit does not seem like a fair comparison.

What do you think of the video? If you are a pregnant runner, how did seeing those images being associated with Mommyrexia make you feel? In general, what runs through your mind when you see a pregnant runner?

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44 Responses to “Pregnant Runners are NOT Mommyrexic.”

  1. Anna August 3, 2011 at 4:26 PM #

    I find it utterly ridiculous that the segment showed footage from Runningskirts.com without permission, not only does it have to be unlawful in some way. But it’s also disgusting. When I first watched the segment I was HORRIFIED. I’ve always struggled with my weight, had my parents commenting on weight gains, but not gotten the support that someone who is trying to be healthy should have.

    I really wish that everyone would realize that there needs to be an emphasis on being HEALTHY and not your SIZE. Because there are some times when having your doctor promise you that you’re a perfectly healthy weight for your height doesn’t cut it when you go home to a family who makes you feel like you’re insanely overweight.

    What kinds of examples are we setting for our children and our families? Health will always be more important than vanity, and I wish that everyone would focus more on health so that we can change the future for coming generations.

    • Lindsey deBlieux August 3, 2011 at 4:51 PM #

      As a former journalist, let me just say that, more than likely, the video of the Running Skirts founder was not unlawfully obtained. It does appear that this video was from Running Skirts directly. News outlets like NBC have different ways of obtaining video. It’s possible that it was included in a press packet sent to NBC, it’s possible that Running Skirts allowed an affiliate to use the video and they sent the video on to NBC. Even if they pulled it directly from the Running Skirts website, unless there are specific prohibitions spelled out on the video, it’s fine to use.

      In general, everyone should know that if you are out in public, you’re image can be used by journalists in almost anyway they deem fit.

      Is the way the video was used ethical? Well, let’s just say there are reasons why I’m a former journalist and not a practicing one… Just remember that the Today show is at best a tabloid with weather and all stories like this one are designed to provoke and be outrageous. Let’s all take it with a grain of salt.

      What irritates me about the whole thing is that the only interview they found was not a woman who said, “yes, I deliberately tried to stay skinny while pregnant,” but instead someone who clearly gained healthy weight and wanted to lose it after.

      • Sarah Frankel August 4, 2011 at 7:47 AM #

        Lindsey – “A tabloid with weather” is such an accurate description, right on!

      • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:21 PM #

        Lindsey, you are correct. “Technically” the video was obtained with permission. From what I understand, it was taken from a race the two ladies participated in in Canada. I agree with you though, I don’t feel it was appropriate or ethical for the video to be used in this context without their knowledge.

        Its kind of scary how we can be photographed or recorded anywhere doing just about anything and it is “okay”.

        Again, I agree. I think the fact that they were talking about Mommyrexia but never actually interviewed anyone who admitted to being such is really one-sided and makes the information presented confusing to the viewer.

  2. Megan August 3, 2011 at 4:29 PM #

    I really hate how the media has to come up with short, ridiculous names for things. Then, all they do is use the word over and over again, trying to make it a legitimate thing. Mommyrexia? Ridiculous!

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:22 PM #

      I totally agree. I feel like the “cutesy” name of Mommyrexia takes some of the sting or severity out of the issue.

  3. DubyaWife August 3, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

    Love love love love this post. And I’m not even preggers right now, but I think your post shows how we all TRULY feel deep down about fitness.
    My fav parts:
    1) “I know that women do it all the time, but comparing ourselves to celebrities is impractical. We are not in the same league.”
    2) “Very few female runners I know run to be skinny. I am not saying they don’t run to be fit and in shape, but “skinny” is very rarely a word that is tossed around.”
    3)”It means that I am a health-conscious woman who wants to maintain my level of fitness,”

    That video is just a media – melodramatic.
    When I see you out there I always think “I want to be her” (and I’d prolly feel the same way if you weren’t pregnant). I admire your courage, your stamina, and your motivation.

    Keep on running happy, hot mama.

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM #

      Thanks for the blog love, Christine! It is the truth though…how many runners do you ever hear say they do it to be skinny. Now I’m not saying that isn’t what enters our brain when we get started, but after you really get into it, you realize it isn’t about being skinny at all. Its about feeling healthy, the “high” of a good run, breaking a sweat, etc. You are doing so awesome with your running! Keep it up!

  4. Michelle @ Running with Attitude August 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM #

    Typical media drama – this is the problem with “soundbite” news – no depth! And to depict and running mom-to-be as being solely weight obsessed is ridiculous. I wasn’t a runner when I was pregnant with either of my boys but I was very active, and worked out – In fact I was still going to my pilates classes one week before delivering. If you enjoy an active lifestyle before getting pregnant, there’s nothing wrong with continuing that lifestyle during your pregnancy (unless your doctor says otherwise).

  5. Megan @ On The Road Again August 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM #

    I’m so glad I came across this post today and was able to see that Today Show video! This is a really interesting and complex topic.

    My thoughts: 1) I agree that we (pregnant or not) compare ourselves to celebrities far too often. But you’re right: those women have trainers, chefs, and time to get the body that their job requires.

    2) I don’t know if I necessarily agree that the Today Show totally misrepresented pregnant runners. What I didn’t like: broadcasting the clip of the RunningSkirts.com founder, which, if they didn’t get explicit permission to use, was totally inappropriate and biased to show. Also, I didn’t like how they pointed to maternity fitness apparel manufacturers as part of the problem. I love companies like For Two Fitness – they promote a healthy, active lifestyle during pregnancy and clothes to make that lifestyle more comfy.

    What I thought was more appropriate: the show’s commentary from the medical correspondents after the video segments. Both women agreed that exercise during pregnancy was good and even healthy for mom and baby, provided it was done with doctor’s approval and within the limits of the mom-to-be.

    While Mommyrexia is a serious issue not to be taken lightly, The Today Show would’ve been better off exploring what REAL women are doing during pregnancy and after to stay healthy and lose weight (after the baby, of course). Showing rail-thin celebrities only further promotes that lifestyle, IMO.

    Sorry this was so long!!

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM #

      Thank you for your comments!! You bring up a point that I hadn’t really thought about. I am in agreeance with you that it seems like they are pointing to clothing manufacturers as being part of the problem. They aren’t at all! Regarding maternity non-activewear being offered in sizes like 0, I think this is totally okay. At maternity stores, they tell you that the clothing is sized by your pre-pregnancy size. Thus, I am able to buy a size 6…even in maternity clothing. It is “upsized” if you will to fit a size 6 pregnant body. I love this because it takes some of the guesswork out of maternity clothes shopping. And if regular stores offer size 0, why shouldn’t a maternity store? If you’re small, you’re small. Whatever. Maternity activewear companies should not be blamed either. All they are doing is giving women like me an option of clothing to wear. I’m going to exercise anyway…why shouldn’t I have appropriate clothing to do so? Before I found those companies, I was exercising in my husband’s old cotton t-shirts. I was getting SO hot. The maternity activewear has helped me feel like my old runner self in my cute running clothes! 🙂

  6. Jamie August 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM #

    I tried to comment on the Today Show website about their segment the other day but my computer chose that moment to take a vacation…:(

    But I agree with you 100%. I was annoyed by every detail they presented in that video. I agree with everything you mentioned in your post. Women who have the “symptoms” of mommyrexia should seek serious help so that they can get back to being the best person they can be and best mother for their child. Those of us who are athletes should consult our doctors and stick to what works for us.

    I am so tempted to (when/if I ever get pregnant that is) have my doctor write me a note saying that it’s OK! for me to exercise/run while pregnant and have it made into a t-shirt. That way no one can give me crap!

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:41 PM #

      A “doctor’s excuse” t-shirt is a GREAT idea! I might have to make myself one of those. Seriously, the looks and comments I get is ridiculous. I want to yell from the mountaintops that I am fully aware of what I am doing, my doctor is okay with it, AND I am not jiggling my baby to death in there!!

  7. Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:27 AM #

    Since I just found out that I was pregnant, I had several people ask “Well what are you going to do about running?” Um, I am going to talk to my doctor and see what he says. I have enough knowledge (thanks to your experiences) and from other mommy runners to know that it is safe to run while pregnant. I am not going to worry about running time anymore if I continue to race (to support the cause) but instead run to finish.

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM #

      I hope you get great news next week and the doctor gives you the big GREEN LIGHT to keep on keepin’ on! But, if he doesn’t, remember that this is what is best for you and baby right now. You’re in great shape though and you’ve been training, so I don’t see why it would be a problem. Be sure to let me know how it turns out!

  8. Karen Janos August 4, 2011 at 7:49 AM #

    Love this post! I was not a runner when I was pregnant and I therefore did not run while pregnant. I also was not a stick when I got pregnant. I found my appetite increased a ton while pregnant and I ate a lot. That being said, I gained very little weight (20 and 13 pounds for separate pregnancies). My doctor kept telling me to gain more weight and I would eat until I wanted to throw up, but for whatever reason I did not gain much weight. I have no idea why. I chalk it up to that both my girls had (and still have) very fast metabolisms. Who knows!

    I also felt my most beautiful while pregnant. I don’t know if it was the hormones or what, but emotionally and mentally I felt awesome!

    There are women out there who have an eating disorder and need help, but I thought this segment went a little far. Maybe I’m naive, but I know of no women who starved themselves while pregnant. I’m sure some celebrities do starve themselves, but I bet most do not. They were in amazing shape before getting pregnant and have top personal trainers to help them right afterwards. Good for them!!

    I do agree that pregnanct should be a happy time despite all the physical issues. It is a time to celebrate your body and this amazing life growing inside you. Bringing a new life into the worls is awesome and no man can ever experience that!

  9. graciesbakes August 4, 2011 at 7:52 AM #

    I can’t view the piece as I don’t live in the US but I think to imply that a woman who is trying to maintain their health and fitness practices during pregnancy is a mommyrexic is absurd and terribly irresponsible.
    It is sad but it seems that where I live, the idea of pregnant women doing anything more than a gentle stroll while pregnant is frowned upon as totally unacceptable.
    If and when I get pregnant I intend to run/ exercise as much as I can or as my body will let me because I know that if I don’t run now, my mental health suffers. I want my child to know that I am working out to give them the best start in life by making sure that my mental, and physical health is as good as it can be.

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 7:56 AM #

      If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? I find it so interesting to hear about how other parts of the world view pregnant women and activity. I can’t imagine being totally sidelined from running. Like you, running does so much for me mentally (and socially – with all my group runs!) and to just stop completely for 9 months would be tough…especially when I feel fine! I feel like I am not doing anything to excess and I am keeping me and my sweet baby boy healthy. Besides, when you are used to running, walking sucks. 🙂

  10. Kara August 4, 2011 at 7:54 AM #

    Oh, so many things to say.

    First of all, as a former “actual” anorexic, cutesy terms like “Mommyrexic” rub me the wrong way.

    I was unable to run during my pregnancy because my body just didn’t like it (dizziness, bleeding, etc), but I still worked out. I worked out every day until the day before I was induced at 41 weeks.

    Also, a year after my baby was born, I ran an ultra marathon, so not running during pregnancy didn’t hold me back.

    I have to admit, when I see a pregnant runner, my reaction is “Oh, how can she be ok with that risk?” Not just to her baby, but also to her joints. That’s just my 2 cents though.

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 8:02 AM #

      Thank you for commenting on this. As a former mild bulimic (Can one ever be “mild” with these things? Let’s just say it is something I battled off and on for a while. Finally under control as of a few years ago…), the term “mommyrexia” irks me too. I think it makes like of a serious situation. Good for you for remaining active throughout your pregnancy. Obviously, every woman and her experience with pregnancy is different. I have had some SUPER in shape, Ironman-conquering friends who just couldn’t run past their 3rd month. Some women can run up until the day before she gives birth. We’re all different. The important thing is to be educated about what level of activity is good and listen to your body. So far, I have been able to run with ease (pretty much). To date, the BIGGEST issue I have had to overcome isn’t the bouncing belly and joints, its the breathing. Apparently, my baby boy enjoys sitting right up in his mama’s lungs. 🙂

      Again, I appreciate the thoughts and perspective!

  11. Beth @ 990 Square August 4, 2011 at 7:56 AM #

    Thank you so much for speaking out against this. Being healthy and pregnant is a GOOD thing!!

  12. Aimee Moll August 4, 2011 at 8:02 AM #

    I think you said it perfectly. Yes, there is pressure on women to be skinny, even when pregnant. That doesn’t mean every woman working out or eating healthy is doing so because she has anorexia or is obsessed with ‘baby weight’. That’s so absurd!

    One of my biggest concerns with shows like these, is that they seem to downplay the seriousness of anorexia itself. This particular segment gives it a catch-phrasey name “mommyrexia”. If a person has anorexia, they have a *disease*. Sensationalism and sound bites take it from a medical problem to a mere phenomenon that fills 10 minutes of tv time.

    • katieRUNSthis August 4, 2011 at 8:04 AM #

      YES. Giving a name to “mommyrexia” seems to make it almost “cutesy” or “okay”. It is a serious issue and if this is something a woman is dealing with, ESPECIALLY if she is pregnant, she needs medical care or counseling. Period.

      Just like not every woman who runs is anorexic, not every PREGNANT woman who runs is mommyrexic.

  13. Jessica August 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM #

    I was ticked off with not only the term “mommyrexia” but how even though the doctors would mention the healthy range of weight to gain for most people, they have other women going off about how if you didn;t gain huge amounts of weight you were “mommyrexic”

    I wasn’t running years ago when I was pregnant for either of my boys. I did gain in the recommended range because thats just what I gained in the course of my prengnacies. I had an active job that didn’t require sitting (I was a cook). I ate healthy with many many treats and basically gained in the belly and boobs with a bit in the butt. But to think that since I didn’t go up in clothing sizes or that my weight gain didn’t go all over my body that others would think that I was trying to be skinny while carrying my child(ren). That just tickes me off. Nothing about what I did during my prengnacies was done without my doctor(for the first)/midwife(for the second) knowing and when I was told to take it easy I did. It really bothers me that because I was continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle throughout my pregnancies others would deem me, or others like me, “mommyrexic”.

  14. marci August 4, 2011 at 8:46 AM #

    I saw the segment last week and was really glad the Today Show talked about it. I loved how mad Nancy Snyderman got, and was surprised that women really count calories and try to burn more while pregnant. I was glad that she was so opposed to pregnant women being too thin or not gaining enough weight. I plan to be an active and healthy pregnant woman and continue to exercise, but also hope to rest more let my body gain what it needs.

  15. Concrete Runner August 4, 2011 at 9:05 AM #

    I am a pregnant runner – I am currently 30 weeks and 5 days pregnant and was running 5 days/week up until about 2 weeks ago. Until about a month ago, I too was counting calories to make sure I was getting enough calories. It was something I did before I was pregnant and just continued, making sure I was adding an extra 300 calories in for pregnancy along with extra for the amount of activity I was doing. If you saw a picture of me pregnant (which you can on my blog), I am not very big for 30 weeks. However, I have gained a healthy 20 pounds so far in pregnancy. Never once has my doctor said a thing about my weight gain. I have gained steadily throughout my pregnancy and plan to gain at least another 10-15 pounds more in the next 10 weeks. Just because I am conscious of my weight gain and how my body looks DOES NOT mean that I am “mommy-rexic”. I absolutely love running and when I could no longer run like I was because it just got too uncomfortable, I was devastated! I love running because it helps keep me fit, yes, but also healthy. I could care less about other forms of exercise – I simply just love to run. Now, has that stopped me from working out… heck no. I want to be HEALTHY throughout my pregnancy. Is that going to help me get back in my skinny jeans after? Sure, but I don’t expect to fit into to them I pop my little girl out. 9 months up, 9 months down.

    In all honesty, I felt like I was being attacked in that video. I guess because I know I am small for being 30 weeks pregnant, but it is something I worry about every day. Am I big enough? Did I gain enough weight this week? Is my baby gaining enough weight? Just because a woman is small for her pregnancy DOES NOT mean she has an eating disorder or disordered thinking about her body. I LOVE my pregnant body and I would love to be bigger than I am, but I’m not. I just felt I was being lumped into a category that I am certainly not in.

    Thank you for writing this post and sharing the video. I hope people come to your blog to see that not all pregnant runner or women staying active through their pregnancy have eating disorders.

  16. alli August 4, 2011 at 9:10 AM #

    I managed to catch this segment with my mom the other day. My mom who is a recovering anorexic (I don’t know anyone who “was” anorexic, only those who have recovered enough to ignore the voice of this disorder) and who weighed 85 pounds when she found out she was pregnant with me. Her doctor told her to gain 30 lbs or she would lose the baby (this was 30 years ago). Thank goddess that she was willing/able to put her baby’s needs over her own body image issues.
    Her comment on this segment was “it’s so disturbing that there are women who can’t see how blessed they are to live in a country where you can have this problem.”
    Katie, you have pretty much convinced me that whenever I do become pregnant, I will spend the majority of my time in public with my ipod on, otherwise I might cut someone who dares to tell me not to run/work/walk/eat sushi that contains no raw fish/eat meat because my baby needs it blah, blah, blah. I’ve recently gotten to my goal weight (after 6 months of eating healthy and working out) and am having to deal with people telling me “you’re too skinny, are you eating?” It’s frustrating to know that they are taking out their own insecurities by not believing that I AM healthy!

  17. Jen August 4, 2011 at 9:28 AM #

    Omg! Thanks for addressing this girl!
    I cannot believe the Today shoe did that and totally lost any respect I have for them. To use the founder of Running Skirts’ image and apply she is mommyrexic is atrocious! She’s awesome, you’re awesome, I’m awesome, and so is every other woman who continues to be active throughout their pregnancy.
    I absolutely hate news stories like this. We have an all time high for obesity in the US and as a result the stroke rates in pregnant women are increasing. So now the media is going to make those of us who are active during pregnancy feel bad? Not working on this girl. The health of my son is the most important thing to me right now. And to keep him-and me- healthy, I’m going to keep running, swimming, and sweating.

  18. goodbutgettingbetter August 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

    Wow!! That’s about all I can say! I LOVE to see pregnant women working out. I’ve never thought anything other than, “Good for her!”

    The Today show should have addressed it as a real issue using women with the problem. If ANYTHING the women they did use should have been shown as a healthy way of being pregnant.

  19. Marjorie @ For Two Fitness August 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM #

    Thank you, Katie! We posted about this topic recently also. I agree with you that this term trivializes serious medical conditions that are both psychologically and physically damaging for those who are suffering from true eating disorders, and also attacks healthy women making mindful choices to live well for themselves and their growing babies. Good for you, for raising awareness of this with your wonderful blog and engaged readership, and thanks for inviting us to comment on this post. We are looking forward to your next post with us! (And we continue to love all your photos – we are so proud!)

  20. Laura J. August 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM #

    I guess I interpreted this segment differently than everyone else– I actually agreed somewhat with what they had to say. When I was pregnant, 2 of my girlfriends were pregnant as well and we were all due around the same time. One of my friends was OBSESSED with staying thin– she exercised constantly and hardly ate anything. She didn’t even get a bump until 7 months. So this “mommyrexia” thing that they are talking about is very real. However I do think there is a difference between being obsessed with staying thin thru pregnancy and being healthy during pregnancy. I don’t think they were trying to say not to eat healthy and exercise– it seemed to me like they were talking about these women who are pregnant and are more concerned about gaining as little weight as possible and getting their post baby body back within weeks instead of being healthy for their child. If you are that self-absorbed then you aren’t ready to be a parent.

  21. Robin August 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM #

    I really appreciate your post and point of view. Thank you for sharing. I agree with so much of what you have to say! I’ve dedicated my career to women’s body image, health, fitness, perception of what it means to be “in shape”, etc. so I always appreciate strong passionate women sharing their opinion. Way to go 🙂

  22. deepsouthrunner August 4, 2011 at 3:43 PM #

    Saw this article on nola.com this morning, great job.

  23. Celeste@mombodfitness August 4, 2011 at 11:58 PM #

    Katie-

    You said it so well! This “mommyrexia” term is being so overused and so generalized. I’d like to see statistics on how many pregnant women actually have a problem, and just because a woman shows late, runs or is skinny dies not mean they have an problem!!!

    I help women recondition their core after birth. I don’t do it to help women have the perfect body, I do it to help women get their core function and strength back…that hey deserve. Yes the waist slims down as a result, but it is for health purposes first!

    Loved the article!

  24. jeanniegilbert August 6, 2011 at 12:31 AM #

    This kind of topic really gets to me. I gained tons of weight with my first pregnancy but managed to exercises and gain the minimum amount of weight with my other pregnancies. Why is it ok to eat whatever you feel like and let your body be go just because you are pregnant. In fact, your baby will be much healthier and you will most likely have a easier and uncomplicated delivery if you keep your body I. Good shape while pregnant. I was proud yo continue running and exercising throughout my last couple pregnancies. It kept me sane. It helped me keep a better body image because I knew I was healthy and strong and would return to my former body quicker afterwards. It eased the symptoms of pregnancy and it helped me have better stamina and strength during delivery. I was fortunate to have an OB who supported me all the way and admired the fact that I was an avid exerciser and I kept my body healthy. She would always comment on how great my vitals and statistics were.

  25. Lyndsey August 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM #

    The Today show segment was great in some ways bad in others. I like your blog, I’m a runner before pregnancy, a runner during and runner after. If you feel good, then do it.
    Love the prego running gear!

  26. Malina August 8, 2011 at 4:04 PM #

    Thanks for addressing this issue. When I saw that segment I was furious. Extreme excercise and eating disorders are terrible, even more so in pregnancy. But when I saw Cindy’s image come up as they were discussing excercise wear for pregnant women I was so dissappointed. I am 35 weeks pregnant and have run through my entire pregnancy, up until 2 weeks ago when my pelvis seperated and I had to stop. I love running. It is not about weight or being skinny. This is my 5th baby and I have gained more weight this pregnancy than in any other (almost 30lbs at 35 weeks.) I am also more fit this pregnancy.

    I loved running before I was pregnant and saw no reason to stop just because of a little pink line on a pregnancy test. My OB totally supports me, and another OB in her practice ran a marathon while pregnant. It is unusual, but not unhealthy. I am so grateful for all of the moms who are going against the norm and staying active and fit through pregnancy.

  27. Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming August 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM #

    Thank you for writing this. I love being pregnant. I also love running. That said, running while pregnant is difficult and there are so few resources out there it gets frustrating. The worst is when I try to speak about the rapid weight gain.

    My doctor told me to expect to put on 40-50 pounds since I was 2 days away from a marathon when I found out i was pregnant and well below my usual weight (I’ve been a marathon runner for over 10 year, and in the final stages of marathon training I average 7-10 pounds below my normal weight). I’m not worried about gaining or losing the weight (I’ve already gained 26 pounds- but was probably underweight by 10 when I started so technically I suppose I’m not *that* far off). I do worry about lasting effects of the rapid weight gain, which has been hard on my body. I have developed plantar fascitis and have to stick to prenatal yoga and labored run/walking.

    I find that I cannot discuss the oddities of gaining weight so rapidly or the increased difficulties of working out with anyone. The second I broach either topic, I am interrupted by, “You look FINE! Stop worrying about your weight. Pregnant women gain weight. It’s not healthy to think that way”. I find this offensive as I’m neither stupid nor anorexic. Thank you for addressing this topic in such an assertive manner!

  28. Martha August 15, 2011 at 8:30 PM #

    Thank you for existing! I just found your blog and I’m now a regular reader. I’m not pregnant, but hoping to be at some point, and I am a diehard runner. This blog makes me feel more comfortable about continuing to run when I am pregnant. And I love the gear reviews! Awesome.

  29. Marie September 6, 2011 at 8:17 AM #

    I loved reading the comments on this post from all the other pregnant runners! I am 27 weeks and I do a scaled-back version of my pre-pregnancy routine: I run a little, I swim, lift weights, go for long walks, etc. I try to eat right and I diligently take those gigantic horse pill prenatal vitamins. There may be some vanity there, which I think is normal, but mostly I do it because I want to be healthy and I want my KID to be healthy.

    Also, the results of that poll?? 49% said when they see a skinny pregnant woman they are “horrified, thinking ‘why doesn’t she eat more?'” I think that probably indicates what most people are taking away from this story — not that there’s a right way to stay healthy during pregnancy, but that if you look too slim, you’re probably have an eating disorder (which I have actually joked about on my blog).

    They came in with an agenda to show sensational photos of pregnant runners and skinny celebrities, toss around terms like “skinny jeans” and “mommyrexia” (I hate that word, by the way), under the guise of a health report. Typical.

  30. Tara May 9, 2013 at 4:38 PM #

    My unborn baby and I ran and completed the New Jersey
    Marathon this past Sunday! And are gearing up for a 30 miler in 2
    weeks! I’m also registered for about 7 half marathons and over 13
    mini 10ks- ill be 7 months at the time of NYC marathon which I have
    every intention of waddling;) I AM A RUNNER! This is what I do! I
    run over 100 miles a month. And my doctor thinks it’s great! I not
    adding milage or just starting out. I run. It’s my lifestyle. Shame
    on Today. Maybe if they did their research they would know how much
    runners eat! and how healthy we eat… its all part of the run. I
    couldn’t imagin running 26.2 on NO FUEL! and if I could- then wow-
    I’d be subhuman. I say Go Preggos Go! When was the last time Rachel
    Zoe or Bethanny Frankle ran a marathon? Now I can’t speak for if
    they were mommyrexic but if they were, I doubt they stayed skinny
    by running.

    • katieRUNSthis June 6, 2013 at 5:45 AM #

      Great job on keeping running with your bump! If your doc say you can go…keep going! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Active Weekends: Inspiration for an Active Pregnancy | Narrowly Tailored - August 20, 2011

    […] behavior, prenatal exercise is a subject about which the societal dialogue is, well, pretty weird. (Case in point, this Today show story about “mommyrexia,” featuring clips of pregnant wom…) And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that in addition to being incredibly fortunate that […]

  2. Mix Tape Volume 17 | My Running Shorts - September 5, 2011

    […] Women, some people believe, only run when pregnant to stay thin. I’ve always suspected skinny vanity is what keeps Cheaper than Therapy running through her pregnancy. Seriously though, Katie links to the original sources and adds her own thoughtful commentary on running in pregnancy a…. […]

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