Serena Williams recently confirmed that she is expecting a baby and was in fact 8 weeks pregnant when she won the Australian open earlier this year.
Gone are the days when society deemed pregnant women to be fragile, ‘eating for two’, or to sit back on the couch and take it easy. Pregnant women are now taking charge and ownership of their bodies to stay physically active. From prenatal yoga to spinning, swimming and walking, exercise reduces the risk of many health issues such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum depression, low back pain, cesarian section surgery or instrument assisted birth. It has also shown to speed up postpartum recovery and even increase the baby’s brain power.
The American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently changed their recommendations from stating that exercise is safe to noting that exercise is actually beneficial to both the parent and baby in pregnancy. It’s no wonder more and more women are partaking in physical activities during pregnancy, and there’s an increase in the number of women over the age of 35 who feel perfectly healthy and fit to have babies. In fact, according to the National Vital Statistics Report, the number of births to women in their late 30s increased 4% in 2015 and has steadily increased by 13% since 2010. Williams is having her first baby at 35 years old.
“Being active not only helps avoid the common aches and pains of pregnancy but helps build strength and endurance for labor and birth. Giving birth is one of the most intense physically and emotionally demanding experiences of a person’s life, it requires building up your endurance and tolerance to pain. You would never try to run a marathon without training — the same goes for birth.” says Neelu Shruti, prenatal & postpartum fitness expert and owner of Love Child Yoga in New York City.
While Williams’ pregnancy news may have thrown fans into a social media frenzy, perhaps it’s not surprising that someone as fit and athletic as she is, is pregnant after all. No matter how you look at it, she’s a rockstar and we look forward to her return to the courts in 2018.