About 20 or 30 years ago, pregnant women were advised that rest was always to their benefit. Women were told to take it easy. To relax and not overexert themselves. They were counseled against intense activity in favor of a more sedentary lifestyle. By taking it easy, pregnant women were keeping the strain off their bodies and thus off the baby. Women with husbands were the most accepting of this advice, as they could shift the burden of their daily grind to their husbands while they sat on the couch eating Cheetos.
As scientific paradigm shifted over the years, pregnant women were encouraged more and more to become active. While they certainly were not encouraged to leg press their increasing body weight on a daily basis, they were directed into a more mobile lifestyle, as science had now decided that regular exercise was favorable to both the pregnant woman and the unborn baby.
Sometimes being the husband to a pregnant wife is challenging. Men are forced to maintain a high level of awareness. Pregnancy for a man means that at any moment you could be called upon for some whimsical task, like delivering a cinnamon roll in the middle of the night. Despite the fact that you are tired and not particularly hungry, as the man responding to a pregnant woman’s urge for a cinnamon roll, you are expected to know the location of the nearest cinnamon roll and immediately calculate how long your journey will take before you lay the requested item before her. For a man dealing with a pregnant woman, it is difficult to deny a request no matter how outlandish it may seem lest you become the proverbial effigy to her hormonal voodoo. It is a widely known yet rarely discussed fact that a pregnant woman at odds with her spouse will forego the voodoo doll entirely and begin stabbing the husband with needles of ill will designed to represent her disdain for his existence.
Although the man may always have the best intentions, it is challenging to get the point across to the pregnant woman and the needles hurt. This is where we get back to the exercising. Pregnant women may be reluctant to purposefully workout simply because getting out of bed or moving at all is strenuous enough when the body is undergoing such a dramatic metamorphosis. As the man, you’ve retained most of your logical and mental faculties. There are no hormones driving you to continue to sit on the couch and eat Cheetos, even if that’s what you’re best at anyways. Encouraging a pregnant woman to get off her ass and exert herself is not the route you want to take unless you’re a former or current intravenous drug user or have some sort of sick needle fetish.
Here are some simple ways to secretly promote healthy exercise to your pregnant spouse.
When you go grocery shopping, let her do some of the heavy lifting. This tactic works best if you live in a third-floor walk-up apartment, townhouse with an upstairs kitchen, or have designed a vehicle proof moat around your residence that requires you to park a significant distance away. The goal is to get her moving and adding some weight to mimic actual exercise. The key in this step is assembling the proper items in the grocery bags. Now while it seems like this would require some time without her present, bear in mind that it takes the average pregnant woman about 10-13 minutes to even boost herself out of the car. Use that time wisely. Don’t help her get out of the car. The act of leveraging her pregnant body out of the passenger seat is exercise in itself. You’re doing her a favor. While she struggles to remove herself from the car, load up the heavier items in a couple of bags and cover them with items appearing lighter in nature. Most types of large produce, milk, canned goods, and juices work great for this. Simply place those items in the bottom of a bag and cover it with a loaf of bread and some deli meats thus creating the illusion that it is a weightless grocery bag. The important part here is also creating the illusion that you’re actually carrying more items. Learn to be a magician. Load up your arms with the rest of the stuff, the light stuff, and make a dash for the front door so you can hold it open for her. Chivalry is still alive.
Untie her shoes. This one sounds stupid but trust me here, men, it’s abdominal exertion at its finest. If you have a spouse who likes to leave her sneakers tied and just slip them on for convenience, make sure you inconspicuously untie them. The further along she is the better this one will work. Watching a pregnant woman struggle to tie her shoes is akin to watching a sea lion do anything out of water. While it may take several minutes for her to complete the task, prepare her “going-out” items for her: cell phone, handbag, any other essentials she may need. Make it look as if you’ve been busy assembling her accoutrements. It is important to keep her mind at ease. After all, only a great husband would undertake this level of stealth to bolster her wellbeing.
Rearrange the pantry. Break out your inner ninja and put her most commonly used items in lower locations. This cannot be a wholesale reorganization of the kitchen. While a pregnant woman’s mind may stray from time to time, she will not believe that she mistakenly put everything in the wrong place. This is a piecemeal task but can be ongoing throughout a pregnancy. Pregnant women, as their girth increases, have trouble bending at the waist. By cleverly yet inconspicuously placing some of her favorite things on lower shelves, you are encouraging squats and thus encouraging exercise. As a tertiary benefit, she may begin to question her mental stability which can remove some of the scrutiny off of you for screwing up everything, which is what you’re going to become known for if you let pregnancy hormones run their course uninterrupted.
It is in all these ways that a man can encourage his pregnant wife to exercise without explicitly telling her to do so. You do not want to overtly tell a pregnant woman to do anything unless you enjoy verbal and physical abuse. It is because of your love for your wife and child that you go to such clandestine lengths to ensure their health and welfare. If done properly, your wife will never know the thought and effort you put into crafting an environment of exercise so carefully around her. It is the true definition of familial altruism.