I often get questions about pregnant mothers wanting to workout. Can they continue their pre-pregnancy routine? Is CrossFit safe during pregnancy? The truth is, as long as a woman is under the guidance of her healthcare provider, it really is OK for her to continue with her pre-pregnancy workout – even CrossFit.
However, it’s important to note not all moms can continue with the same workout routine they were doing prior to pregnancy. Many of them want to, but their body may not allow it. Runners sometimes have to become power walkers and CrossFit athletes usually have to scale back their workouts quite a bit. For some moms, walking is about the only cardiovascular activity their body will allow, and that’s OK! It’s important for expectant moms to listen to their bodies. If it seems like you’re pushing too hard, it might be time to scale back the workout routine.
CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program with the aim of improving muscular strength, cardio-respiratory endurance and flexibility. The “workout of the day” (or WOD) is typically intensity-based. This fitness regimen isn’t suitable for every pregnant woman and certainly not for beginners. But, for someone who has spent several years doing this type of workout, it is acceptable.
Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy because there are many health benefits to both the mother and her baby. The healthier and more physically fit a mom is, the easier her pregnancy and possibly her labor will be. Exercise also helps reduce a woman’s risk of diabetes and hypertension that can develop during pregnancy. For the baby, some of the benefits include a healthy birth weight and better oxygenation because the mother’s blood vessels are actually enriched during exercise.
The key to a safe pregnancy workout routine is to listen to your body and only do what your body will allow. And, if you continue with your CrossFit routine or similar workout, a workout buddy is important, since a lack of balance during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of accidents.
I urge all expectant moms to focus on a healthy exercise program during their pregnancy, whether it’s walking, yoga or something more vigorous, as long as she and her healthcare provider are working together.