I always start out my pregnancies with the best of intentions to keep exercising. Unfortunately for me and my postpartum pants, however, I usually end my pregnancies bigger than I ever thought possible and my exercise routine is reduced to the encouraging pep talk I must give myself to attempt to roll over in bed. (And I'm not even exaggerating a little on that part.)
Unlike me, there are women out there who prove that it is possible to still kick some serious athletic ass when you're pregnant — some even taking home Olympic gold while preggers. Baby bump power for the win.
Three-time Olympic gold athlete Kerri Walsh Jennings was five weeks pregnant at the 2012 London Olympics. She and her husband actually tried for their third baby a month before the games started — and like Jennings' athletic career, they obviously took home the gold. She also defied all odds by sporting a very distinct six-pack while performing her pregnant dives in the sand. Life just isn't fair sometimes.
At eight months pregnant when she competed in the 2012 Olympics as a rifle shooter, Taibi didn't take home a medal, but she did take the record for being the most pregnant Olympic athlete in history. "I think that I can do whatever I want to because I'm quite stubborn," she said. "Anything I want to do, I will do."
The archer responsible for training Jennifer Lawrence for her role in The Hunger Games is obviously no wimp — and she's also one heck of a trailblazer. Way back in 1992, single mom Lorig competed in the Olympics while four months pregnant with her son. "I was so conditioned and trained to compete that I did not view the Olympics as anything more than another competition," she said.
Smith-Puzo is a two-time Olympian field hockey player who isn't afraid to combine motherhood and athletic training. She had two kids before competing in the 2008 Olympics and in 2011, she competed in the Four Nations tournament while three months pregnant.
Robinson is a mother of three who has inspired me to start running again after the birth of my fourth baby and subsequent 50 pound weight gain. Robinson has been running for a long time and completed her second half marathon while six weeks pregnant (pictured above). "I felt like crap, but I shaved 30 minutes off my time from the previous half I ran," comments Robinson. "Go figure!"
Peterson is a pregnant athlete who has seemingly earned the title of "super mom," recently profiled by the New York Times for the feat of training through four pregnancies. "I also got lots of positive attention as well from other women on the trails," wrote Peterson on her blog about running at eight months pregnant. "They would say things like 'You go girl' or 'I ran through all of my pregnancies too, you look great!' I don't know if this positive encouragement would have happened to a women running while 8 months pregnant 15 years ago, but it is common enough and proven to be safe now, so I am loving all of the cheerleaders surrounding me everyday!!!"
Sara Cooper isn't an Olympian athlete — but she is proof that you don't have to be the best of the best to make extreme sports a reality during pregnancy. She competed in two triathlons while pregnant, completing one at 10 weeks pregnant and one at seven months along. "I... had a philosophy that pregnancy is not an illness; it's just a normal part of life," says Cooper.
This mother of four hasn't let pregnancies slow her down. With the support her doctor husband by her side, Tackabury has raced right through her third trimester and finds running to be key for her emotional, physical and mental health. "I knew that my body was capable of so much more," Amy says simply.
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