“Running is my passion; I typically log thirty to forty miles per week. In my first trimester, I could still manage the lower end of that. I ran three half marathons, a 10-miler, and a 10K. During my second trimester, I had serious discomfort in my pelvic floor and found out I had a short cervix. My pregnancy became high risk and I had to step back from running.
With my doctor’s consent, I continued exercising. Even though it was hard to drop my favorite form of exercise, I stayed in motion. The Stairmaster became my new best friend and swimming became a labor of love. By welcoming new workouts into my life, I felt happier and less stressed throughout my pregnancy.”
—Cynthia Martinez, Tier 3 trainer at Bryant Park in New York City
“For those nine months, I focused on what I could do to feel my best. Luckily, Pilates is amazing for supporting the body through pregnancy, and I continued teaching until the day I gave birth. (This is true for both of my pregnancies.) I knew that even on the days I was exhausted, I would feel better after doing Pilates, which was the only constant. By staying active, I was doing my baby a great service. It was my touchstone to consistency, and mentally, that was priceless.”
—Natalya Sebastian, Pilates manager at Yorkville in Toronto
“My goal was to teach for all nine months—I wanted to be that instructor. But at my second trimester checkup, I was diagnosed with a weak cervix and put on bedrest for four months. No sex, no walking except to use the bathroom. I felt like I’d let everyone down.
My pregnancy taught me that no two situations are the same and that each one is temporary. It’s a time to let go and let the body perform this miracle. If I could go back and change one thing, I would spend more time talking to and rubbing my belly and less time being frustrated.”
—Mary Onyango, group fitness instructor in New York City
“I love my daughter, but I truly disliked pregnancy. It was so hard to have zero control over my own body. I’ve always been very active and had a fast metabolism, so I never had to think about what I was eating. But while pregnant, I got gestational diabetes so I had to monitor my diet more carefully than ever.
Testing my blood sugar after every meal taught me so much about how food affects my body and how I process sugar. It was a really rough few months, but now I put so much more importance on my body’s functionality. How it looks is simply a byproduct of that.”
—Liz Miersch, vice president of content and partnerships
“I’m currently pregnant, and the first trimester kicked my ass; I felt like I had a hangover every day. It’s been hard for me to continue my regular fitness routine. Still, I choose to be positive. Pregnancy has shown me what I’m truly capable of as my body works in overdrive to create a life. When I do exercise, I no longer feel defeated by being slower. I feel empowered because I know I’ll be even tougher after this journey.
Adaptability is the key to life. I’ve proven my strength in the past few months more than I have in any race. Pregnancy is the ultimate race, and I’m living up to the challenge.”
—Angela Rubin, Precision Run manager at Chestnut Hill in Newton, Massachusetts
These interviews have been edited and condensed for publication.