Her last pregnancy was a breeze, her labor was just 15 minutes long, she says, and fitness mom Sharny Kieser claims she knows exactly why.
She got "PregFit" instead of "PregFat."
Kieser, from Australia, is one-half of the bestselling fitness duo Sharny and Julius. Kieser is pregnant with their sixth child, but it was only with her last pregnancy, her fifth, that she decided she was done with excess weight gain. She said she had gained up to 65 pounds in her previous pregnancies, but only about 20 with number five.
"All I did to go from being pregFAT to pregFIT was to see pregnancy for what it really was. An experience to cherish. Sitting at a coffee shop eating cakes is not something that empowered me. Sure, it tastes good and nobody is going to judge you because you're pregnant. But the excess fat you put on has to come back off some time," Kieser said.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists lists several benefits of exercise during pregnancy, including improved mood, reduced swelling and possible avoidance of gestational diabetes. The group recommends walking, swimming and cycling as good options. The recommended weight gain for a normal-weight person during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds.
It "was never about body image or body fat," Kieser said. "For me it was just about eating to fuel me and my pregnancy best. I wanted to have energy. Eating highly processed crap all day just made me tired and lethargic."
But not everyone believes a fit pregnancy can do what Kieser claims. One criticism cited the 50-hour labor of a yoga instructor; other women who claimed not to be fit at all said they too had fast labors and easy childbirth.
Kieser said she hopes "mums see there is an alternative way. I didn't want to be the tired, sore, exhausted mother any more. I wanted to experience this pregnancy to its absolute fullest potential. I wanted to be the best vessel for my baby to grow in."