Crossfit can be BRUTAL, but is it worse when 28 weeks pregnant? Well, you might be thinking…
1) She must be crazy and you want to see who the crazy pregnant lady is doing Crossfit and Pilates (of all things) this late into her pregnancy
2) This is awesome – you’re pregnant too but you could never do it or you have been told you can’t (maybe for a medical reason, maybe not)
3) You have never even thought about it
To be honest, I never once thought about not working out through my pregnancy (that is not to say it has been easy but I will discuss that more in a bit). It only made sense that if I wanted to have the healthiest baby, I should make sure my body was getting one of its core requirements, movement.
In the beginning, I was nervous. I published a research paper (p79) in school that reviewed what core exercises are prescribed for pregnancy. My conclusion, there is a lot of fear surrounding exercise! Best thing I did when I got pregnant was to listen to my gut because my body would tell me to STOP if I couldn’t handle it.
The first three months sucked – every work out was a challenge. Pre-pregnancy I was training at Crossfit 3-4 x/week and doing Pilates 1x/week. I dropped the amount of weight I was lifting because I just felt burnt out. My cardio decreased and things I had done before all of a sudden became difficult such as pull-ups and push ups. I was constantly battling my ego and felt tired so I dropped my workouts back to 2x/week plus one Pilates session. This gave me the perfect amount of time to recover properly. At the gym I go to, I am blessed to have a female coach who trained throughout her pregnancy and helped provide some motivation on the days when I really didn’t want to push myself.
My second trimester, it felt like a light switch had been turned on. I had much more energy, was able to push myself safely and increase my weights by 15-20%. I would always make sure I was able to breathe fully before starting a movement and that my core was engaged. If I was unable, that was my signal to stop and take a moment for myself to get my breathing under better control. My sticking points were definitely pull ups (no surprise there!) and my husband did remind me it was like doing weighted pull-ups so I didn’t feel so bad.
Most literature out there instructs pregnant women not to lay on their back – how I looked at it was that if I felt uncomfortable or my body was telling me to move, I would do it. Anyone who goes to Crossfit knows that if you’re on your back, you won’t be there for long! Have you ever thought about how most people give birth on their back? Kind of counterintuitive…
The other limiting belief is that core exercises are bad. In all honesty, that seems like insanity to me. Your core is something that you require for birth so you should keep it in the best shape possible. This is why I focus on doing 1 hour of Pilates every week – it is very difficult for me but the way I look at it – if I suck at it, it probably means I really need it.
Now, if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that makes exercise not safe, don’t push your limits. Listen to your body – it will tell you what to do (or not to do)! That does not mean that you can’t walk or do gentle movements at home – don’t look for excuses. Your baby will thank you later.
Make sure you have awesome coaches! I have been training at Crossfit Waterloo and Pilates Performance for a year and a half (and was doing this pre-pregnancy) so my body was conditioned for these types of workouts. A lot of women are afraid to talk to anyone about their pregnancy prior to 3-4 months – make sure your coaches know ASAP so they understand how to push/help you accordingly. There are a ton of awesome coaches in our area, and if you want to know where to go – message me at email@example.com.
My belief is…you can have results or excuses – never both.
-Dr. Sarah Green