I think part of me has procrastinated so much on getting this post out because I was scared of judgement. I know I’m pushing limits and defying a lot of the info out there on what I “should” be doing and I didn’t know if I was ready (or could handle) comments that in any way said I wasn’t doing the best for my baby. There are too many unknowns in pregnancy already to have comments add worry.
And then I read this article from CNN about CrossFitting while pregnant. And it pissed my off enough to publish this damn post and be one voice out there saying I am pregnant and vigorous exercise (mainly CrossFit) is good for me and my baby.
My midwife approved my activities. She said to stop when it doesn’t feel right and to drink a ton of extra water. “Even heavy lifting? Like, setting PRs-heavy-lifting?” I asked.
“Absolutely!” she said.
CrossFit during pregnancy is keeping me sane. It’s a healthy choice for me, my baby and, honestly, for everyone around me. I took more days off in my first trimester, didn’t push so much and ate terribly, and I’ve all around never felt so bad (and in more ways than just the 1st tri problems). I feel my best when I’m exercising- my nausea, weight gain and constipation are second thoughts and my focus is on the task at hand. And that feels great.
I can’t believe it still has to be said, but pregnancy is not a disease. It is not a disability. It is not weakness.
“I think it is sad that people would compare my weight lifting with smoking and drinking. Or call me a poor mother for keeping fit and strong during pregnancy. “There is an obesity epidemic in our country with diabetes on a rampage. People need to embrace a healthy lifestyle and for babies it starts in the womb.” -Lea-Ann Ellison (the kick ass mom in question in the article)
In fact, I think I’ve never been stronger. After all, I’m still a wife to Richard and a mom to four dogs. I still work 40 hours every week, workout, visit friends and clean my house… but now all while growing a human. Strength, not weakness.
Pregnancy is a long list of unknowns. Eat the right things, take in enough water, avoid stress, get plenty of sleep, exercise (but not too much). There’s no Perfect Pregnancy Guide for all women to follow. From talking with other women, I’ve gathered that none of our experiences are even close.
I remember when I hit my second trimester and my midwife told me I couldn’t be on my back at all. I hardly slept for days because I would wake up at all hours, terrified that I may have rolled on my back! I was exhausted and stressed out from over-stressing about what was right and wrong.
We don’t get ultrasounds and doctor visits daily. The baby doesn’t have an iPhone to text me what he’d like to see more of or less of. So for the most part I read the information, talk to my midwife and then listen very carefully to my body. And at the end of the day I trust that my body is performing as it was created to perform and everything will be okay.
“The real deal here is that our society does not get pregnancy and birth….To all that criticized this woman and the rest of the women out there for doing their best as mothers, GET A UTERUS and/or EDUCATE YOURSELF.” – this awesome article written in response to the headlines
The First Workout
I was signed up to WOD later the day we found out we were pregnant. I was scared to move or breath hard or really move my body. Richard watched me with worry on his face and I couldn’t think of anything but the baby the whole time.
I’ve found a sweet spot of knowing my preggo limits and reminding myself to still push hard. For example, heavy deadlifts are out until this baby comes out. On the other hand, squats feel fine and I’m not going to ditch my heavy squats just because I don’t feel like doing it and have a convenient excuse that’d get me out of it.
I CrossFit 5-6x/week and RX most of the movements (except for those darn DU’s and pull-ups). I run slower than everyone else and pace myself a little differently, but otherwise you wouldn’t know I was pregnant. I also sprinkle hot power yoga and running into my weeks. I feel amazing.
A few things to note:
- Obviously, I never want to endanger my baby. I won’t do anything that could risk complications. And when it doesn’t feel right, I slow down, modify or stop.
- My midwife supports lifting heavy, being upside down and anything that feels fine.
- I am surprised at how much I can feel when something isn’t right. Heavy deadlifts pull my pelvic floor muscles so I keep the deadlifts to around 75% of my previous max or less. Whatever feels right. I also lose my breath easier and spend a solid minute just standing there waiting for my breath to regulate in the middle of some WODs.
What I’m doing now:
- I stopped box jumps. I’m clumsy anyway and the risk of falling is too great.
- I scale back on tire flips and heavy deadlifts.
- I find modifications for back and belly exercises.
Preggo CrossFit Tips:
-Consult your doctor first.
- Make sure your instructors know you are pregnant. The coaching I receive is different now (I squat slightly wider to make room for the belly) and my coaches have helped me with modifications mid-WOD.
- Drink plenty of water. And then more and a little more.
- Wear a supportive bra and breathable clothes. They go a long way!
- Watch your body temp and heart rate. Realize you may have to rest more now than pre-pregnancy.
- As long as you are low-risk and have your doctor’s approval, always take information from the web in with a grain of salt. I even disagree with mods from CrossFit Mom. Find what works for you and avoid feeling pressure to perform a certain way during this time (or ever).