Changing Pregnancy Misconceptions in Lebanon

By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1

As most of you all may know I moved to Lebanon from the US about 1.5 years ago. When I first started telling friends that I was pregnant I was shocked at the different reactions I got from people in Lebanon vs people in the US. Here in Lebanon every single person, whether they had kids or not, and no medical background, told me that I needed to stop doing anything remotely active or strenuous like: working out, training people, taking the stairs, carrying anything (even my purse!), and even going for a walk in the park! In the beginning I attempted to explain that it’s healthier for both baby and mom to be active pre, during, and post pregnancy. But I was met with aggression and horror from a lot of people and it really just wasn’t worth the stress. Thankfully my OB supported me and told me that since I was active prior to pregnancy I could continue to do whatever I felt comfortable doing – even though I had a history of two early miscarriages (week 7)!

My friends in the US however didn’t say anything of the sort. I’m not sure exactly the reasoning why, but I think there is more of a culture in the US of women remaining active throughout their pregnancy.

I will admit that I limited myself the first two months because I just didn’t have the energy to work out – I always preferred a nap to exercising. I was also dealing with bouts of nausea throughout the day and just didn’t feel comfortable working out. However I still went out for long walks on the weekend with my husband and did light workouts and yoga once a week.

I listened to my body and gave it what it wanted those first two months but now that my energy levels are back to normal and nausea is almost nonexistent I feel strong! I feel capable! I don’t feel like someone that needs to sit on the couch all day, after all I’m not sick or disabled, I’m just pregnant! Now that I’m working out again my appetite is back, the lower back pain I had the first two months went away, my bloating has reduced, and I feel amazing! More than anything, I feel more empowered as a woman now in my pregnancy!

Of course a woman should NOT begin a vigorous exercise regimen after becoming pregnant. But a woman shouldn’t need to limit her activity levels if she has been deemed healthy and low-risk by her doctor. I hope that with my weekly updates on my workouts it will help to change the misconceptions surrounding pregnancy in Lebanon!

Pearl Maalouf

Pearl Maalouf

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