Are you curious about pregnancy and CrossFit? Is it safe to try CrossFit during pregnancy? Read this great article from fit mom ambassador, Katie.
I’m Katie, a 30-year-old wife, mom of a toddler with #2 on the way, CrossFitter, and full time marketing specialist (but soon to be stay-at-home-mom) from Richmond, Virginia.
After I had my first baby, with whom I had gained 55 pounds (a result of being practically sedentary for no reason other than wanting to be lazy, and eating anything I wanted), I was in a bad spot, physically, and therefore, emotionally. I loved what my body had created and nourished for over 9 months, but I did not love what I saw in the mirror.
Three months after having my daughter, in September 2013, I decided enough was enough. I could either wake up every day avoiding the mirror, or I could do something about it. My sister-in-law had been doing CrossFit for nearly a year and not only was she looking amazing, but I could tell she loved what she was doing, and she kept telling me how much I would love it. I signed up on September 19, 2013.
Fast-forward to May 2014, I am CrossFitting no less than four days a week and absolutely loving it. I’m down 70 pounds (so all of the weight gained during pregnancy with my first and then some) and I’m on my way to living a fit and healthy life.
And then, on a hunch, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was scared. I was so afraid I would have to quit CrossFit and I would turn back into what I had worked away from for the past eight months. My husband assured me that I had built such great habits, that he knew I wouldn’t blow it just because I was pregnant again.
The Monday following my positive test, I tried out a new CrossFit gym that is closer to my house. And who do I see there? None other than my OBGYN. I couldn’t have been more relieved! My doctor, who cared for me the whole time during my first pregnancy, and who would do the same for this one, did CrossFit too!
At our first appointment at eight weeks, I chatted with my doctor about CrossFit. I explained to him my concerns and to find out what I should or shouldn’t do. I wanted to continue to do CrossFit and stay as active as I was, but did not want to put the baby at risk or increase the chances of hurting myself or the baby.
He told me that the best thing I could do was to keep doing what I was doing. He assured me that as long as I felt good, that I could keep working out at my normal pace. I asked him all the questions about heart rate, squatting, jumping, running, burpees, lying on my back, etc. He was very reassuring that all of those movements, especially early on in a pregnancy, are totally fine as long as the mom feels fine doing them.
During the first trimester, I kept pretty going pretty much at the same rate as I had been before the positive test. My doctor advised me to not try to hit any PR’s with weights, but otherwise, I was clear to continue to do the movements as normal. The only advice was that if something felt uncomfortable, don’t do that thing.
The beginning of the second trimester was much like the first, not a whole lot changed until my belly started to make an appearance. Until about 27 or 28 weeks, I was doing pretty much everything as normal, except doing box step ups instead of jumps. Running became increasingly difficult towards the end of the second trimester so I switched to rowing. I also had to scale some of exercises, including strict burpees (drop down into a push up position, jump back up…no flopping on the floor), ring rows instead of pull ups, and I try to avoid exercises that have me on my back for longer than a minute or two.
Including the changes from the second trimester, I’m still pulling weights from the floor, but can see that doing that is coming to a close, as my range of motion due to the belly is impeding the path of the bar from the floor, so I’ll start pulling from the hang position soon. Double unders are also increasingly difficult, so I typically do singles unless I’m feeling really good. Rowing is also proving more difficult because of the range of motion and babies feet in my rib cage. I just do the best I can. I know the farther I get into the third trimester, the more I will have to modify, but for me, as long as I can continue to work out, the better.
My best advice is to talk to your doctor. Explain to them what your goals are and have an open, honest discussion about what you should or shouldn’t do. Every pregnancy is different, so don’t compare your journey to someone else’s (or even a previous pregnancy). Trust your doctor. If you don’t trust your doctor, find a new doctor. It’s my belief that your doctor is not only there to monitor the health of your baby, but your health as well, so it is important to find a doctor who respects your health and fitness goals.
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