Is CrossFit safe during pregnancy?

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.

About Dr. David Zepeda, OB/GYN

I am an OB/GYN with The Women’s Specialists of Houston at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women. I’ve have the pleasure of delivering more than 8,500 babies during my career. I love taking care of my patients during pregnancy because there is a lot of joy that comes from bringing life into this world. I also have a clinical interest in minimally invasive surgery.
Posted in 101, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pavilion for Women, Pregnancy

One Response to Is CrossFit safe during pregnancy?

  1. Valeria says:

    I have been doing Crossfit for a few years and was exercising my entire pregnancy and even up till my due date (I was 40+5 when I got induced as a VBAC). My labor went very quickly and my body responded so well. My baby’s heart rate was so strong throughout and there was not a single issue. After giving birth, recovery went extremely well. I attribute that to staying so fit. My OB/GYN (at the Pavilion) kept encouraging me to keep my normal routine, and I was so thankful to be supported!

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