Can I CrossFit While Pregnant?

January 30, 2017

Can I CrossFit While Pregnant?

CrossFit Training During Pregnancy

There’s a common misconception that pregnant women are fragile, but this simply isn’t true. In most healthy pregnancies, it is perfectly safe for women to engage in exercises which are designed to strengthen their body. Doctors recommend that pregnant women get at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to promote prenatal health.

When you first learn you are pregnant, discuss your pregnancy and fitness with your physician.  This will ensure there are no medical related issues to be aware of as you and your baby can benefit from keeping up with your CrossFit training routine.


The Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant


Regular exercise provides a range of health benefits for you and your baby, both during and after pregnancy.

  1. You’ll experience an increase in energy and an improvement in mood, in part by encouraging a healthier sleep cycle. Exercising also reduces your risk of developing postpartum depression.
  2. Stronger muscles help to decrease backaches and other pains while improving posture. Toned muscles also help you to look better and feel better about yourself.
  3. Improved circulation will help prevent a number of health issues and relieve the discomfort associated with cramping and swelling. Increased blood flow is also the reason behind the coveted “pregnancy glow.”
  4. Your baby will be healthier, both physically and cognitively. By exercising regularly, you reduce the risk of a premature birth.
  5. You’ll recover from childbirth more quickly, and it will be easier to get back down to your pre-baby weight. You’ll also reduce your risk for developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and requiring a C-section.

It’s important that you don’t overexert yourself, as straining yourself during exercise can cause more harm than good. Try to stick to light exercises, and take frequent breaks. It’s easy to overheat when you’re pregnant, so you should wear breathable clothing, drink plenty of water, and avoid hot or humid environments during your exercise routine.


CrossFit Guidelines for Pregnant Women


It’s a controversial subject amongst exercise enthusiasts, but the truth is that doing CrossFit while pregnant is perfectly safe so long as you take the proper precautions. You may have to tone down your regular workout to accommodate your changing body and shifting center of gravity.   


Communicate Early and Often


Discuss your pregnancy and fitness with your physician to ensure there are no medical related issues to be aware of as you progress in your pregnancy.  This is also a great time to talk with your box owner or trainer and let he or she know your plans and goals.  They can help monitor you throughout your workouts and help suggest alternate options for movements which might be uncomfortable.  


Advantage of Individual Remote Coaching 


Every pregnancy is different, and women often experience their pregnancy in a unique way. Individual Remote Coaching is a great way to provide programming custom to each woman's needs.  Remote coaching can help women safely and effectively continue CrossFit or fitness training throughout their pregnancy.  The individual coaching relationship will facilitate private communication  and programming which can help ensure a positive, safe and fit pregnancy.  

emily Breeze crossfit while pregnant individual remote coaching

Break Parallel Coach Emily Breeze, safely trained through her pregnancy.  

 First Trimester


During your first trimester, your body doesn’t change drastically.   Generally speaking, you can keep doing your regular CrossFit routine, but make sure that you moderate yourself. It’s best to match the intensity of your workout to your comfort level.   You can still safely perform supine exercises such as sit-ups and bench presses. 


Second Trimester


Your second trimester introduces bigger changes to your body, including an expanding belly and changes in normal weight distribution. You should avoid supine exercises (exercises on your back) during CrossFit at this time, as they can impede blood flow to the uterus and harm your developing baby. It’s also important to avoid any exercises that increase your risk of falling, such as inversions or rope climbs. Pay particular attention to the cool down and stretching stage of your workout to avoid doing damage to your muscles.  



Third Trimester


By your final trimester, you’ll probably be feeling the effects of your pregnancy in full force. A large belly may throw off your balance, while increased weight can cause swelling and discomfort in the legs and ankles. An increase in the hormone Relaxin also loosens your joints, which can increase your risk of injury. You should be especially careful during this time to avoid any exercises during your CrossFit training that might put pressure on your lower back.  At this time, you might decrease the intensity of your workout to match your comfort level.  Ensure your physician is aware of your fitness routine and align your workouts with your Doctor's medical advice.


This is YOUR pregnancy.


The most important thing to remember is that it is YOUR pregnancy.  You will experience this much differently than other people, so do what feels right for you and your body.  

Be aware of your body and adjust your weight as you continue to perform lifts and exercises.  If you have a bad day, don't beat yourself up.  Realize you are doing what is right for you, even if that meas slowing down or taking precautions.



By Jessica Walter, Break Parallel Contributor
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.

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