A Planet Fitness branch in South Carolina has made the news worldwide after an employee told a pregnant woman that she had to cover her stomach. This has (understandably) caused outrage.
The motive behind what the employee said was the dress code of the gym; basically Melissa Mantor's stomach wasn't fully covered by her vest top, and the gym have a policy that bare midriffs are not allowed. As you can see in this photo, Melissa's stomach is barely showing, and it's perfectly obvious that she is pregnant. Either that or she has a severe case of stomach bloating!
Picture courtesy of WCIV-TV The issue has been reported to be that her top kept riding up and exposing her stomach. I'm not entirely sure why the gym have a "no bare midriffs" rule, but in this case surely an exception can be made...it's hard to find workout tops that fully cover your pregnancy bump unless you are willing to pay out for a pregnancy workout top (which often cost a small fortune). In an article on yahoo.com, Melissa is quoted as saying: “What frustrates me the very most about all of this is that it’s really hard to get the motivation, pregnant or not pregnant, just to go to the gym. You go to the gym to feel good about yourself and be healthy. The last thing that people want to hear is that their body that they’re trying to take care of is offensive and needs to be covered up.” Since when did baby bumps become so offensive though? The Daily Hiit's Sia Cooper worked out throughout her pregnancy and, to my knowledge, never encountered any discrimination. And why would she? Seeing a woman's pregnancy bump during a workout isn't (in my opinion) distasteful. Look at Sia here; her whole stomach is on show, but is it offensive or off-putting? Not in my opinion!
Melissa was distraught about the encounter, telling a local ABC News station: "Nobody wants to go to the gym being told that they need to cover up their body because it is offensive. I am a mother and a modest person. I do not want to be told I am dressed inappropriately." Planet Fitness does apparently also have a policy banning strappy tops like the one Melissa was wearing at the time, but Melissa says it was her visible baby bump, not her outfit, that irritated the member of staff, despite the fact that she had worn similar tops to the gym in the past.
Are people uncomfortable with seeing pregnant women workout? Personally, I think it's great that pregnant women continue to workout! All you have to do is take a look at Sia's photos of her during and after pregnancy
to see how great it is for getting you back into shape. Aside from that though, it's actually very beneficial to stay active during pregnancy. Exercising during pregnancy can help you to sleep better and even ease your discomfort during pregnancy because regular workouts strengthen and stretch your muscles, meaning that you will be able to cope better with the aches and pains pregnancy causes. Possibly the best reason to workout during pregnancy though is that it has been linked to shorter labours...who doesn't want that!? Although there is no guarantee that working out will affect your childbirth, surely anything that could possibly speed up the childbirth process is worth a try. The director of public relations at Planet Fitness told The Huffington Post that Melissa was not asked to leave
as a result of her outfit, but simply given something else to wear because of their dress code, saying: "In this instance, staff informed the member of the policy and offered her a free T-shirt to complete her workout. She was not asked to leave the gym as a result of her attire." Are people really that bothered about being able to see a woman's pregnancy bump though? My personal opinion is that pregnant women should be encouraged to go to the gym; bump on show or not, it really doesn't matter. What do you think? Sources: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/pregnant-at-the-gym?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-womenshealth-_-content-fitness-_-PregnantAtGym http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/28/pregnant-woman-planet-fitness-stomach_n_5227182.html?ir=Parents http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/keeping-fit/fitness-matters/top-ten-benefits-of-exercise.aspx http://www.babycenter.com/0_seven-great-benefits-of-pregnancy-exercise_7864.bc https://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/planet-fitness-kicked-out-a-pregnant-woman-because-of-her-exposed-baby-bump-173244404.html http://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/prenatal-workouts/preggo-discrimination-why-planet-fitness-kicked-pregnant-woman-out-gym