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CrossFit Pregnant: 5 Women Share Their Stories

“I saw a video of you doing that CrossFit on Instagram.  I really don’t think that’s a good idea.  Your uterus could burst!”

“I thought women couldn’t lift more than 10 pounds while pregnant.”

There is something about a woman doing CrossFit while pregnant that elicits a response.  Most of the reactions I’ve received on this CrossFit pregnant journey have been incredibly positive.  Some are inspired, others are shocked or curious, but there are still a few people who believe pregnant women should be hibernating at home for 9 months.  

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to a group of women that are CrossFitting pregnant at CrossFit Apollo in Las Vegas.  In fact, we’re all completing the 2016 CrossFit Open together on the same team: The Wall Ball Smugglers.  Our gym hosts a team competition for the CrossFit open annually.  All of us have had completely different experiences, as each pregnancy is different.  I asked them to share a bit of their stories with our readers.

Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.

If you are a CrossFitter that just found out you are pregnant, or debating on whether or not to CrossFit during pregnancy, I hope the genuine responses of these women help to answer a few questions and dispel a few misconceptions.

Always consult your health care provider regarding your exercise routine during pregnancy.  We share with our readers what has been successful for us in our own lives.

Elizabeth:

Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.

My name is Elizabeth and I have three boys (two and a half-year old twins, 8 month old baby, and one angel we lost too soon).  I have been crossfitting since 2008 and coaching on and off since 2011.

The first time I became pregnant I did a lot of research on what was safe and what wasn’t and I found a good groove for me.  I take things slower while pregnant.  I am probably more cautious than most.  I workout the same amount as if I am not pregnant but the intensity and weight is decreased.  You have to do what feels comfortable.  I am into my fourth pregnancy and at this point I feel pretty in tune with my body.  I know when to slow down and I know when I can lift some heavy stuff.
So far, each of my pregnancies have presented their own challenges and I have had to stop working out for periods of times throughout all of them.  Each time I was unable to workout I felt the effects of that sedative lifestyle and it isn’t fun.

Some of my most common modifications for workouts always seem to involve dumb bells.  Eventually the belly gets so big that wrecking my form to use a bar bell just isn’t my thing so I tend to use dumb bells a lot.

The advice I would give to pregnant mamas that want to continue crossfitting would be that they should seek the advice of others, take what is useful, chuck everything else to the wind, and listen to your body.  No one knows your body better than you.  If something feels uncomfortable, stop doing it.  It doesn’t matter if the pregnant lady next to you can run a marathon.  If it makes you uncomfortable then row instead.  Don’t compare your pregnancy to others.  Every mom is different and every pregnancy is different.  Go with the flow and adjust where needed.
Sarah:
Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.

Hi, my name is Sarah and this is my first pregnancy. I have been doing CrossFit for three years and coaching for two. I did not hesitate to continue CrossFit while pregnant I just made sure to look into what I could and couldn’t do. The first thing that came up was handstands and the dangers it could present especially early in my pregnancy. I completed the gymnastic certification with going upside down but I was cautious of any jarring movement such as hand stand push ups. The rest of the movements I was not worried about and knew down the road I would need to modify as my body changed.

Unfortunately I injured my shoulder early in my pregnancy (not during a CrossFit workout) so I haven’t been able to do as much as I could just being pregnant. I do have to modify further than just being pregnant and though some days this is discouraging it is also amazing to see that I am still able to move and workout even though I am healing my shoulder and I am pregnant. Belonging somewhere that the coaches care and work with you to make a modification I can do with both and injury and pregnancy is the most motivating thing.

Most responses I have received is shock I am still lifting weights followed by asking if it is allowed in my ‘condition’. People around me know that I am pretty big on working out so they are not too surprised when I answer yes I still do CrossFit. I have been asked how long I plan on doing it into my pregnancy, to which I respond until I can’t or she is born. Most people tell me that it is great that I am doing it and tell me they wish they would have done something like that while pregnant.

I was using the abmat for burpees until my injury prevented me from continuing. I have found wearing a support belt has made working out more comfortable.

I would tell any woman who is already doing CrossFit that becomes pregnant to continue to do so. She will notice that her energy levels will decline off and on throughout this experience and to listen closely to her body. If someone is pregnant and wanting to start CrossFit then I would warn them to make sure they let their body adjust not only to the new stressors of working out but also to the internal changes happening due to pregnancy, but by all means do it. I do not believe just because we are pregnant we are made of glass and should be shut in, we are fully capable of the same activities we were before. The difference is now we need to listen to our bodies and respond accordingly.

Stephanie:

Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.

I’m Stephanie and I have a 5-year-old son and have been doing CrossFit for 7 months. This is my first time doing CrossFit pregnant.

Before we moved to Las Vegas in August, my husband was trying to convince me to try CrossFit since he had been doing it since February 2015. The box that he went to in VA was not very good and I felt very intimidated going to it. My husband had a very serious box injury from doing box jumps and was completely ignored by the coaching staff. That type of environment was definitely not for me. When I moved here I tried a class at Apollo and my workout was just burpees and kettle bell lunges. It was so hard but it felt good to push myself. Chad made me feel really welcome. I started foundations and before I could even finish I found out I was 3 weeks pregnant. So I have ONLY been doing CrossFit PREGNANT! At first I was very concerned because all my doctors said I could keep doing it as long as I was doing it before I was pregnant but technically I hadn’t. Since I was so new to CrossFit I was very apprehensive about how my body would respond to all of the changes. So far I have been feeling really good and all of the coaches help me modify anything I don’t feel comfortable with. I will admit I get very frustrated with myself all of the time because I have no idea what I can do or what I’m capable of because I have only been doing CrossFit pregnant but I am looking forward to see how I bounce back and my accomplishments that will follow!

I have been really shocked with all of the things I am capable of while being pregnant. Although I can’t experience any milestones like a first pull-up but the fact that I haven’t passed out or died after a very hard workout is enough for me.

My husband has been very supportive of me doing CrossFit pregnant and I could even say he is proud of me. He has been very encouraging and pushed me even when I am not appreciative of it. When people see me working out or find out I do CrossFit pregnant people are normally shocked. I believe CrossFit has a reputation for being extremely hardcore. When in all actuality it isn’t like that. CrossFit is for everybody because if you can’t do something there is always something else you can do!

One of my most used modifications is ring rows. I am a ring row champion! In my current and last pregnancy both babies have been very low and because of that crunching and jumping have been a challenge for me. I constantly have to pee, have wet myself, and have severe cramps whenever I do these movements. Some of my modifications have been planks, mountain climbers, and slam balls.

I think if you are pregnant and are considering doing CrossFit you should. There is always something else you can do if you don’t feel comfortable with a movement. There are more women than you think that are still maintaining their fitness doing CrossFit. You don’t have to be a beast or the best at CrossFit but you owe it to yourself to at least try and you might even surprise yourself. I know I have and I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it!

Julie:Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.

Hi!  My name is Julie Sanders, I am 31 weeks pregnant with our second girl, and I have an almost 2-year-old daughter. I have been crossfitting for about 4 years now and I have crossfitted through both of my pregnancies.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my first, I knew I wouldn’t do anything too different from my regular routine and I never believed in any old wives tales relating to pregnancy. I ate sushi, worked out 5-6 days a week, and enjoyed an occasional glass of wine. This pregnancy is no different. I knew I would be able to keep training the same way and if I feel a little off or uncomfortable that day then I’ll just scale it back as needed.
Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think! When I found out I was pregnant for the second time, I soon after found out I was moving. Because we had so much extra going on, I discontinued my strength training program and just stuck with one wod per day. Even though I wasn’t lifting very often or very heavy, every time we maxed out on lifts I was able to match, get close to, or even beat pre-pregnancy PR’s (personal records). I owe it all to the #babyroids. It’s a real thing, so I say take advantage of it!
I got a lot more cautioning comments from people my first go around. But this time people just know I’m going to keep doing me and they have seen that my first pregnancy went great with no complications. I even get a lot of support from my doctors about my eating habits and workout routine. They think it’s great and I know it contributes to my healthy pregnancies.
It took a while in my pregnancy this time before I had to start modifying movements. I did bar muscle ups and burpees till around 4 months, when my stomach really started to poke out and get harder. Using ab mats under my legs for the burpees is such a great modification!  You get the benefits of doing a burpee without smashing your belly into the ground.  I will admit modified pregnant burpees are way harder than regular burpees! Sit ups is another one that I like to modify sometimes. Some days I feel great and can do sit ups, but other days it’s uncomfortable so I’ll hold a plank instead.
The best advice for crossfitters who just find out they are pregnant is to just keep showing up and doing your thing. Listen to your body, if something hurts or is uncomfortable then modify and take it easy. There are always going to be certain movements that we can’t perform safely while pregnant. Knowing your body and paying attention to it are key in keeping mama and baby safe and healthy.  It’s great getting tips and advice from other pregnant crossfitters but you have to always keep in mind that everyone and every pregnancy is different. Everyone started out at different points in their crossfit journey. Some preggos may be able to perform certain movements that others cannot. So don’t feel like you should be able to do something just because someone else can. Pregnancy is not, however, an excuse to lay on the couch and eat hoho’s for 9 months. Pregnancy is the perfect excuse to tighten up the reigns on your diet because now someone else is relying on the nutrients you put in your mouth. I am much more motivated to eat cleaner while pregnant so I’m not feeding my baby crap while she’s counting on me for nutrient dense foods to help her grow and thrive. Battling the nausea is hard and it’s even harder trying to work up the motivation to get to the gym when all you want to do is curl up and sleep. In my experience, workout out always took the nausea away and made me feel so much better. That alone kept me motivated to keep crossfitting. Just be yourself, take it slow (or fast!) and try not to compare yourself to other pregnant crossfitters.  This is your journey!  Just know that continuing to crossfit while pregnant is probably one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and for your baby.
Tracy:
Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.
I went to my first CrossFit class about one month before I got pregnant with my SECOND child.  I got a Groupon for a foundations class, finished the class, really enjoyed it, but knowing that my husband and I were planning to get pregnant, I decided not to continue.  I didn’t know anything about the safety of crossfitting pregnant and I didn’t want to “risk” my baby’s health if the jury was still out.  My husband decided to join the gym, and we decided that I would join sometime after baby number two.  I ended up having an extremely high risk pregnancy, and my high risk doctor told me that yoga was the only form of exercise I was “allowed.”
When my second baby turned 9 months old, I finally decided to give CrossFit a real shot.  You can read about how terrified I was to do that here.  Shortly after I joined CrossFit Apollo I was hooked.  Since then I have CrossFitted 5-6 days a week and thoroughly enjoy everything about it; the community, the competitive atmosphere, and pushing my body to do things I never thought possible.  8 months ago, Chris and I found out we were pregnant with baby number three.  The thought of discontinuing CrossFit didn’t once cross my mind.
I watched several pregnant women CrossFit safely throughout their pregnancies.  I picked their brains, asked them how and when they modified, and then have done pretty much exactly what the ladies before me recommended, I listened (and still listen) to my body.  I think people who haven’t CrossFitted before get concerned when they see anybody, especially a pregnant woman, throwing barbells above their heads with a decent amount of weight on the bar.  CrossFitting for two and half years prior to becoming pregnant has given me the skills, and confidence to safely continue pushing through workouts, and has even allowed me to set a few (PR’s) personal records.
Want to know something crazy?  This has been by FAR my easiest pregnancy.  When women ask me if the third pregnancy is harder on the body that the first or second, I have to say, “It hasn’t been for me.” And I think that answer is largely because of my consistency with diet and exercise this time around.  It hasn’t all been smooth sailing by any means either, I’ve tried to be very honest about how the First Trimester of pregnancy kicked my butt, but overall I think continuing to CrossFit pregnant has been THE BEST for my baby and me.
CrossFitting has always given me such an appreciation for what my body can accomplish, but CrossFitting pregnant has taken that appreciation to another level.  The human body truly is an amazing creation.
Five women share their CrossFit journey while pregnant. Tips, misconceptions, and modifications for a healthy pregnant CrossFit experience from StayFitMom.com.
 
5 Tips for women that are pregnant and interested in continuing or beginning CrossFit.
  1.  Communicate with your coaches.  My CrossFit coach was the second person after my husband to find out about this pregnancy.  Don’t be afraid to speak out your concerns, or ask for a modification.  Chances are you aren’t the first person to CrossFit pregnant and you definitely won’t be the last.  Your coaches are probably armed with a full arsenal of pregnant modifications and have more ideas than you ever considered.
  2. Modify accordingly.  I was VERY cautious my first trimester of pregnancy.  So much so that my family asked me if I was pregnant because they immediately noticed a “drop” in my white board scores. Ha!  Don’t be timid about speaking up and changing movements if you need to.
  3. Listen to your body.  As mentioned above, every pregnancy is different, and you will soon discover what feels uncomfortable for you and it may be something totally different from your pregnant workout partner.  Some days you might feel wonderful, and other days you might struggle a lot more.  Just do what you can do on that given day and know that tomorrow will most likely be different.
  4. Forget about the whiteboard.  This might be a great piece of advice for any CrossFitter, not just the pregnant ones, but your biggest competition should always be yourself.  And while prior to pregnancy, you might’ve noticed yourself getting better and better, the major body changes that come with pregnancy WILL limit you eventually even if it doesn’t right away.  This is NOT the time to compare yourself to anybody else.  Pregnancy is fleeting and before you know it, you’ll be back to doing movements you had before.  CrossFit has always been a humbling experience for me, but CrossFitting pregnant takes it to a whole other level.  Show up, do your thing, and leave confidently knowing that you are giving it your best.
  5. You do you.  Nobody knows your body better than you do.  Like I said before, there is something about a woman doing CrossFit while pregnant that elicits a response.  While some people may applaud you, others might think that you have lost your mind.  Be confident in your choice to continue your fitness journey while pregnant.  You are not the first and you certainly won’t be the last pregnant crossfitter.
 If you liked this post you might also like 8 Great CrossFit Modifications for Pregnancy.
Modification options from StayFitMom.com to stay active while pregnant.
This mom tells the concerns, advantages, and disadvantages of doing the Whole30 program while pregnant.
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2 Comments

  • Reply Melissa April 26, 2018 at 5:23 am

    Thank you for sharing your stories, ladies!! I have been Crossfitting for 5 years and am about 11 weeks right now. I have only slowed down my training because the more cardio-focused metcons get me too out-of-breath and I simply lack the energy to go 100%. I have always been very gymnasty and have not really felt the need to modify yet. But of course I question if that is the right thing because everything I read is MODIFY, MODIFY, MODIFY. I love that each of you did what was right for YOU and your advice is to really listen to your own body since we are all so very different. Thank you again for these beautiful stories!

    • Reply Tracy April 26, 2018 at 5:32 am

      You’re welcome, Melissa and congratulations!!

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