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Jillian Michaels: 'Pregnancy Does NOT Ruin Your Body!'

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momlogic's Julie: "The Biggest Loser" trainer extraordinaire Jillian Michaels set off a firestorm of controversy when she told Women's Health Magazine that she had no interest in pregnancy because "I can't handle doing that to my body." Her comment irked and infuriated many mom bloggers. Now, Jillian talks to momlogic about what she really meant by that.

Jillian Michaels

momlogic: So many of our readers responded to our post about your Women's Health article. It's obviously something moms were very passionate about. Were your comments taken out of context?

Jillian Michaels: They were taken out of context and misconstrued. First of all, the writer wrote that I have an "aversion" to pregnancy -- which was her word, not mine. I never said that. It was at the very end of a three-hour interview. The writer said, "Do you want to have kids?" And I said, "I'm planning to adopt." She then asked, "Why wouldn't you get pregnant?" I said there were many reasons ... one being that "I can't handle doing that to my body," but I didn't tell her why.

The truth is, I learned very early on that I have endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. I was always told that fertility would/could be a problem for me. Why do I have this? I've heard everything from, "You have too much caffeine in your body" to "It's genetic" to "You need to be put on the birth control pill" -- and I don't believe in using synthetic hormones. In order to get pregnant, I know it would require surgery. For me, it becomes a sort of "I can't handle doing that." I've always just accepted that this is my thing, and this must mean I was meant to adopt, and that's OK. But who knows -- there might be advances in science for women with endometriosis, so I'll never say never. But, for now, I plan to adopt.

[The writer] then asked if one of the reasons I wanted to adopt instead of get pregnant was because I was an overweight kid. I said, "That could be part of it ...." Then, in the piece, she said that was the reason for my "aversion" (again, her word) to pregnancy.

I was feeling kind of panicked about answering the question. For me, it was a very personal question -- and I had a lot of shame about the answer. If I tell people I have issues in this area, will they judge me and say, "If she has problems in this area, how healthy can she be?" I don't think anyone with issues is "less than," but this is just how I was feeling in the moment. It caught me off-guard.

But NEVER in there did I say, "I WON'T get pregnant for sure" or that it ruins your body. Never have I said that pregnancy ruins bodies. I don't believe that. My best friend has an 8-year-old and she has one of the best bodies in town. Ali Sweeney's body looks even better after having Megan ... she looks amazing. I helped train her! Madonna has one of the best bodies in the world, and she's had two kids.

I don't feel that pregnancy ruins a body at all, and I was really upset that an entire community of women felt hurt by what I allegedly said. So much has been misconstrued and taken out of context. I do expect that from the media, so I don't really care about that. But what I DO care about is moms. So if moms or women out there feel betrayed at all, that matters to me. Moms are incredibly important to me.

ml: Were you surprised by the reaction that your alleged statement received?

: I didn't really understand how touchy this subject was. When it got the reaction it did, I realized that this had really struck a chord with women. This must mean that so many women do have these worries and concerns. The words that "pregnancy ruins a body" were put in my mouth -- because I didn't say it -- but many women must worry that it does or that it might, because it just had such an impassioned response. Obviously, all women don't have these insecurities, but they are real for some. And this may have triggered that for some women.

It also made me realize that I need to be much more careful and on my feet about a topic like this. Shame on me for being ashamed! Had I not been ashamed about it ... if I had been 100 percent honest, none of this would have happened. I could have just said, "I'm not going to answer that," but I think that implies I'm hiding something. I always wanted to be truthful and tell others to "live in your truth." But here, I was withholding a little bit. The lesson I learned is that I need to be truthful.

ml: What have your interactions with moms been like since the story broke?

JM: A lot of women have come up to me [since] this article came out and said they are scared about what happens to their bodies during and after pregnancy. They said, "I'm scared; I'm worried; it was hard for me." My first instinct was to say, "Don't be scared," but then I just tried to listen to them about why they are scared and tried to reassure them. I think it's incredibly important that we allow each other to be scared, and to have feelings that are less than perfect -- just so we can open up the dialogue with each other, and share, support and encourage.

That was the thing that was the most interesting to me: that so many women came out and said they were scared, too. They said what they were thinking and feeling even if it was not politically correct. I think that's so important, so we can educate and support each other without judgment.

ml: Jillian, we couldn't agree more. Thanks for being so honest with us!

next: Claudia Schiffer: Preggers and Proud in Vogue
105 comments so far | Post a comment now
Beth May 11, 2010, 5:16 PM

I don’t think she needed to explain at all. It’s a shame her words were taken out of context, but in any case, she has a right to feel however she wants.

Molly May 11, 2010, 6:26 PM

I actually find that inspiring. I knew JM had struggled with her weight, but I had no idea that she had pcos on top of it. I do, too, and it is incredibly hard for us pcos-ers to lose weight. But Jillian obviously did, and kept it off! I, too, feel ashamed, like it’s my fault. I don’t know why. But anyways, that gives me hope. Thank you for your honesty!

Wendi May 11, 2010, 7:15 PM

Well said, and shame on them for twisting your words. I am glad that you told everyone, but I do agree that it is personal and should not have had to be said.

chris May 12, 2010, 5:22 AM

I also think the it is personal as to why she would or wouldn’t have kids. Why should anyone care what her reason is. I know women who don’t want kids just because they don’t want the responsiblity or because it doesn’t fit into their “life plan”. I say it’s better to not have kids if you don’t really want them then it have kids because you feel pressure to and end up resenting the kids. To each their own.
P.S. I love Jillian and think she is an inspiration to a lot of people.

Carla May 12, 2010, 5:24 AM

Ruinous bodies and pregnancy don’t have to go hand in hand. WoW Gold Guide

Endometriosis Research Center May 12, 2010, 8:15 AM

Kudos to Ms. Michaels for opening up publicly about her battle with endometriosis, potential infertility and PCOS. Were more women in the spotlight forthcoming about their health situations, they would help break down some of the awareness barriers that exist around reproductive disorders such as endometriosis. Thank you for also pointing out that there are other options - clearly working well for Ms. Michaels - aside from hormones and invasive surgery to potentially manage symptoms.

Ira May 12, 2010, 8:43 AM

Glad that momlogic gave Jillian a chance to get an untwisted version. I believe in a lot of what she stands for. It has inspired me to take my life into control NoMore560

dom May 12, 2010, 9:02 AM

Haha, she’s just patching up a PR disaster. This is about body image but she wants to blame it on “physical limitations” because it looks better. She said so herself on her facebook page:

“I think that pregnancy is admirable and selfless. For myself, I have remnant body issues left over from childhood which leads me to make adoption my personal choice down the road.”

NADINE BRACKEN May 12, 2010, 11:09 PM

I think it is really sad that opinions are asked of people who are not experts and then the media exploits these naive blunders so heavily that a wave of ignorant and misinformed feedback is blown out of proportion like women who are mothers need any further demagoguery or humiliation. I have 3 sons, ages 40, 27, and 21. HAVING GAINED AND LOST THE WEIGHT THROUGH THREE SEPARATE PREGNANCIES I find it chilling that now the media wants women to think it is a baby’s fault they’re fat. Babies save mothers’ lives—people that never give birth are the prime candidates for most deadly diseases. Women on birth control from the cradle to the grave are just as disease prone as anyone else can be and being skinny certainly did not keep a whole lot of models, role models, and actresses alive whose deaths have been headline fodder for the last five years. Exercise and a well rounded diet help anyone to live long and prosper. LADIES GET A GRIP.

Lina Rey May 14, 2010, 5:58 AM

I have a grip! If Jillian doesn’t want children because of body image or medical condition or whatever, that’s her choice. Isn’t that what women have fought for? Reproductive choice? Also, it’s not quite accurate to say women who haven’t given birth are “prime candidates” for diseases.” In the case of cancer specifically, a woman who gives birth for the first time after age 35 has a higher risk than a woman who has her first child before the age of 20. But a woman’s risk for breast cancer is temporarily increased after giving birth.

K May 18, 2010, 10:07 AM


The quote you posted could equally refer to physcial limitations as stated by Jullian. It just doesn’t provide specifics or the why she feels that way. This demonstrates her desire not to have her personal business out in the open. I don’t think you or I could knock her for that. Besides, having babies is wondering, selfishless and all thing she said but there are plenty already here that need love and a home. I think its awesome that she want to adopt. It is more selfishless than having a baby in some ways.

Lynn May 23, 2010, 9:56 PM

She did say she had remnant body issues, so adoption is her personal choice. You can’t fault her for being an overweight child & struggling and being afraid she might gain the weight back and it might be harder to get rid of since it’s mental not just physical. I can’t fault her for how SHE feels about herself, but it should be limited to speaking of her own issues, not a blanket statement for all women. I guess I’m of the selfless brand and care more about the baby than just myself. I just believe it will work out and I’ve done what I had to do to get rid of the extra weight after. Katherine Heigl said kinda the same thing & that’s why she adopted.
Truthfully, some women are afraid of delivery not pregnancy.

Sylvia June 24, 2010, 9:11 AM

Anyone else think that she made this up to cover up a mistake? I mean seriously, she is a personal trainer, and pregnancy DOES take a toll on your body.. I’m sure she wouldn’t want to ruin her image.
Digital Kitchen Scale

sharon  July 6, 2010, 1:41 AM

I applaud jillian for opening up. I think wanting to have a baby and not being able to can affect a woman’s psyche. I think people are blowing this out of proportion when really the person who wrote false statements in the article is the one to blame. I’ll be honest and say that though am 5 months pregnant with my 1st child am scared I won’t go back to my pre pregnancy weight. It’s a fear many women have but are too scared to admit. jillian’s responses here sound honest. I believe her reasons.

Alexia October 12, 2010, 9:31 PM

I definitely agree, women can still have pregnancies and with proper diet and exercise don’t have to worry about never wearing that bikini to the beach.WoW Gold Guide

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