Pat and I joined our local CrossFit gym (or box) in August of 2012. Two months after, I found out I was pregnant. Naturally, I was a little worried, given my last pregnancy experience and also because CrossFit can be an intense workout. But after speaking with my midwife and trainer, I learned that I was in the clear for two reasons: 1. I was really active PRIOR to doing CrossFit. I did yoga, ran, and was a pilates fiend. So while CrossFit was definitely a different workout, it wasn’t like I was shocking my body with exercise. And 2. I was attending regularly for those two months, and still working out on my off days.
Still, not a day goes by where I don’t hear a comment about how I shouldn’t be doing CrossFit while pregnant. And it’s almost always from people who don’t understand how CrossFit works. So I’m here to clarify that up for you a bit, in case you are thinking I’m totally crazy and have lost my marbles wanting to do some intense workout while with child!
First off, not every who does CrossFit is super jacked and looks like they could drop kick you to the other side of town. It’s not just for “younger people.” And we are definitely not a bunch of meat heads (these are just some of the comments I’ve heard regarding CrossFitters). There are men and women who are 60+ in my class and kick my ass in the workouts! And of all shapes and sizes! All the workouts can be scaled to your capability. That is something important to understand, and something I think people who don’t go to CrossFit don’t always realize. So really, anyone can do it! (Meaning me, while pregnant!) It can be competitive, but in a FUN way. I love trying to push myself a little more to beat a previous time in a WOD (thats Workout Of the Day). The comraderie is incredible, and people are always willing to help you, coach you, and cheer you on.
You can find more information about CrossFit here, but what’s important to remember is it’s COMPLETELY MODIFIABLE. Which is KEY for me right now!
There’s a really great website called CrossFit Mom that I’ve come to love during these past few months. Some interesting facts found on the CrossFit Mom site are as follows:
Women who exercise during pregnancy:
Have reduced weight gain and fat deposition during pregnancy
Have fewer pregnancy discomforts
Report a more rapid physical and emotional recovery from delivery
Tend to have easier, shorter and less complicated labors
Have less need for pain relief during labor
Have more stamina during labor
Increase their aerobic capacity
Decrease their susceptibility to illness
Increase their energy level
Babies of exercising moms:
Have significantly lower heart rates than babies of non-exercising moms
Are better able to cope with the stress of birth
Have a greater ability to adapt to life outside the uterus
Are more healthy at birth
Are leaner at birth and tend to stay lean as they grow
Sleep through the night sooner
Are better able to self-calm
Score higher on tests of general intelligence and oral language skills
Have decreased risks of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases later in life
Okay, if that isn’t reason enough to exercise while pregnant, I don’t know what is. Good for mom and baby! And I will say…I’ve had VERY few pregnancy discomforts. Not sure if I just got lucky or if CrossFit/exercise is the reason, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t be having such an easy time if I WASN’T so active!
Now obviously I can’t work out exactly like I was pre-pregnancy seeing as I now have someone else to think about. So here’s how I modify my workouts, depending on how I’m feeling that day. Keep in mind I’m still a CrossFit newbie, so I definitely don’t lift heavy because I didn’t from the start! But I have noticed significant strength increase which is pretty cool.
I drink a LOT of water. And stop during the workouts frequently to hydrate. The workouts rarely last longer than 20 minutes, which is good, but they are an intense 20 minutes. Staying hydrated is key for me.
I modify the runs, if needed. Sometimes the WOD will call for a 400m run in between rounds or something along those lines, and 400m may be too much for me. I may drop it down to 200 or 300, or substitute a row instead of a run.
I make sure I’m able to carry on a conversation while working out. The trainers told me this is key. If you can’t speak, you’re breathing too hard which is not good for you or baby. I’m not looking for a high-intensity workout anymore, I’m just looking to maintain my fitness level.
I don’t lift heavy. Period.
I don’t pay attention to the timed workouts (where you try to get your best time). Not really a concern for me right now, my goal is to just make it through the best I can.
I substitute certain movements for others. For example, with my growing belly I am no longer able to do hand-release pushups (where you drop completely to the floor, lift your hands, and then push back up). I also can no longer do full out burpees (where your stomach hits the floor). Instead, I’ll do regular pushups (on my knees because I’m still not strong enough!) or no-press burps (jumping out to a plank instead of hitting the floor). I no longer do rope climbs or any gymnastic movement that can jeopardize safety. I also have modified my box jumps to step-ups. CrossFit Mom has some great tips for modifications if you’re interested!
I talk to the trainers. I let them know I’m pregnant (they all know at this point) and they check in with me and tell me what I should modify and what is safe for me. The gym owner just had a baby herself, so she e-mails us pregnant girls modified WODs daily!
And last, if I feel off one day, I don’t go. I’d rather take it easy than push myself too hard.
Bottom line, I’m loving being a pregnant CrossFitter. And of course, if at any point in time my doctors tell me it’s contraindicated…well, obviously the health of my baby is priority!
If you’re pregnant, what’s your current workout regimen? Any healthy recipes you want to throw my way? Let me know in a comment!
Also, I’m totally buying these for our little one….;)
Please note: All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any way to post about CrossFitting while pregnant, or to review those cute little WOD Toys above. Also, this is my OPINION, as previously stated. If you do not agree with my stance, that is fine! I just ask that you be respectful. 🙂