Iím seven months pregnant and I still work out and will continue to do so. I know, many of you just gasped at me. Itís okay, in fact itís more than okay. I am allowed to work out with a baby in my stomach. In fact, itís actually suggested. So please, while Iím at the gym and jogging on the treadmill or squatting 30 pounds, donít give me a dirty look.

One, itís annoying and two, itís really not up to you. If my doctor said Iím okay to keep working out, just reduce the impact Ö then Iím going to reduce the impact and keep working out.

I cannot tell you how many people give me weird looks when Iím in the gym lifting weights, doing pull ups, and jogging on an incline.

And you know whatís even sadder?

Itís the women who judge the most.

Men just give you a nod and con≠tinue benching their heavy weights.

Wouldnít you think women would be more ďgirl power!?Ē I would think so.

Contrary to popular beliefs, Iím not handicapped because of the ďbun in my oven.Ē Of course, you have to check with your doctor first. Every pregnancy is different. Just because I can still run at seven months, doesnít mean you can or even want to. After checking with your doctor, you also have to listen to your body. I want to squat more than 30 pounds Ö But the doc says Iím not supposed to lift more than 40 pounds. So, well, Iíll stick with my 30 pounds. My brain says it wants to run another mile, because we have to hit our mileage

for the week Ö but the body says, ďNo, youíre tired, you need water, and you need to stop.Ē So, I stop.

Which leads me to another thing.

Because youíll be exercising, you also need to take in extra calories. While pregnant, you should be consum≠ing at around 300 more calories Ö if youíre working out, youíre burn≠ing through those extra calories.

So, you should probably eat a little more. And Iím not talking about an extra Snickers bar, healthy calories.

Because face it ladies, once the baby is out, your body doesnít just magi≠cally shrink down to normal size, especially if youíve been eating extra Snickers bars!

You also have to be safe while working out. Stretch, warm up, donít do any exercises on your back, drink plenty of water, donít get overheated, donít over do it, and do a cool down and stretch when youíre done.

Also, many suggest not starting a new workout routine if you werenít already exercising before pregnancy.

If the furthest you ran was to the Burger King two stores down, you shouldnít start running 10 miles the second you find out your pregnant.

Start out slow, build on it, and take it easy.

Exercising while pregnant has many benefits, it boosts your energy, it helps you sleep better, it reduces pregnancy discomfort, prepares your body for childbirth, it reduces stress, improves self-image and helps you get your body back faster. I mean, it makes perfect sense; your body liter≠ally runs equivalent to a marathon during childbirth ó why wouldnít you want to be prepared for that?

Not to mention, if youíve been keeping up with exercise during pregnancy (and proper diet), your body will remember that and re≠member to lose the baby weight faster.

Just remember to make a commitment to work regular exercise into your schedule.

Keeping a regular routine is better than just deciding to run a mile every month.

Your body wonít be able to adjust to it and you may end up doing more damage than good. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can safely engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week as long as you have your health≠care

pro≠vider ís

go- ahead.

And please, ladies, donít judge a pregnant woman while sheís exercis≠ing. She already

feels like all eyes are on her anyway. Let her rock her belly with pride and squat those 30 pounds with a smile on her face. Just because you didnít run or lift weights while pregnant, doesnít mean other mommys-to-be need to suffer your evil glare as you walk by in your compression pants and itty-bitty waist.

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Connection