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Crossfit While Pregnant: The First Trimester

29 December 2014

Crossfitting while pregnant has been such an awesome adventure!  I've gained so much confidence and trust in my body as my pregnancy progressed.  However, if you're reading this post, you might be in the same situation I was in...

I'm pregnant and I Crossfit--now what?!?

3 months pregnant

What's safe for the baby?
What will my doctor think?
How much do I need to modify?

I'm certainly not an expert, but my goal is to share my story and some helpful resources.

My Crossfit coaches were the first people my husband and I told about our pregnancy.  We told them at 6 weeks and waited to tell anyone else (including family) until 13 weeks.  I felt that they were a part of our healthcare team--just like our OB/GYN--and needed to know in order to help me make good choices in the gym.  Fortunately for me, several awesome women have had babies at our gym during the past year, and they set a great example for staying empowered and active throughout the entire nine months.

I was very lucky during my first trimester.  I avoided the dreaded morning sickness and fatigue that plague many women.  It seems important to say that upfront, because I have friends who used every ounce of energy just to get through the workday during the first tri.  In that situation, it seems necessary and obvious to cut yourself some slack and really reduce your expectations in the gym.

My First Trimester Symptoms:

  • Tons of food aversions!  Almost all food sounded very gross, and then all of a sudden feeling ravenously hungry (but still not being able to figure out what to eat.)
  • Sore boobs!  Double unders and burpees were incredibly uncomfortable at times.
  • Lots of bloating & constipation in the evenings.
  • Some days feeling very weak in the gym (with "easy" weights feeling challenging.)
  • Feeling so overheated!
  • Very thirsty, but also having to pee non-stop.

Burpees!  3 months pregnant

The weird thing about the first trimester is that there's nothing visibly different about you.  You look the same and most likely no one at your gym even knows your pregnant.  However, on the inside, massive changes are happening.  Not only are all your hormones changing, but your body is beginning to produce 50% more blood--which requires a lot of water, electrolytes, and energy.  For me, there were good days at the gym where I felt pretty normal and strong...and there were days when I felt weak and frustrated and had a hard time accepting my slow time or weak lifts.  My ego wanted to shout out "guess what--I'm pregnant!  That's why my time is so bad!  That's why I couldn't lift very much."  It was hard to turn off that competitive spirit that many of us Crossfitters possess.

What Did I Modify in the Gym?

The biggest modification I made was to my attitude.  I tried to just be proud of myself for showing up 4-5 times per week and feel less attached to the score next to my name.  I also stopped doing sit-ups after about 8 weeks.  I became an unashamed fan hog.  I took more frequent rest to catch my breath and drink water.  I also quit during a WOD for the first and only time...I was feeling slightly dizzy and extremely out of breath.  It was so hard on my pride and who knows if it was even necessary, but looking back on it, I'm glad I erred on the side of caution.

What Didn't Change?

I didn't stop pushing myself to whatever my personal best was for the day.  Some days my performance looked better than others--but each time it was my best effort.  I PR'ed my front squat, back squat, and weighted pull-ups before I knew I was pregnant.  Then I PR'ed my clean & jerk and my split jerk during my first trimester, knowing I was pregnant.  I felt great those days and so I went for it.  I continued doing all movements (except sit-ups.)


The least helpful resource was my doctor.  She was clueless about Crossfit.  I think very few doctors will enthusiastically endorse any "high intensity" exercise during pregnancy.  I read things on the internet about certain heart rate thresholds or the "talk test."  I cannot hold a regular conversation during the warm-up jog at Crossfit, so being able to keep a normal conversation as an indicator of how much exercise is okay just seemed laughable.  Here are a few sites that I found truly helpful:

BirthFit: I highly recommend BirthFit because I find it to be the most empowering and least conservative advice for pregnant Crossfitters.  Follow them on Facebook and Instagram and you'll enjoy seeing photos & videos every day of pregnant Crossfitters hitting PR's and staying active.  

Crossfit Mom : I like Crossfit Mom as a resource, but find it to be very conservative.  I'm now almost 31 weeks pregnant and haven't implemented very many of the modifications she suggests.  If you or your spouse or your doctor are very concerned about doing Crossfit while pregnant, you can follow her suggested modifications to really be on the "safe side."

Crossfit Redondo Pregnancy Stories: These are some of the women at my gym that inspired me.  I think reading stories and seeing examples of other women helps give a sense of confidence during a time when the pregnancy still feels new and overwhelming.  More and more women are writing blogs about their Crossfit journey while pregnant.  My own personal bias is to try and only read positive stories, especially during the first tri.  Your mind will naturally worry about how your baby is growing and developing.  Even one random comment or post on the internet that's negative or fear-based can linger in your mind and make you second guess yourself.  

The first trimester goes by quickly in the grand scheme of things.  Try to stay as active and healthy as possible.  Even if it's a struggle to get to the gym, you'll find you have more energy later on because you went.  Trust your body.  Your body knows how to grow your baby.  Your body also knows how to do Crossfit.  In fact, you were doing Crossfit while pregnant for 3-4 weeks before you even knew you were growing a baby.  Let that thought comfort you.  Your body knows what it's doing.  Just try to listen to your body and make any small adjustments that give you peace of mind or comfort, while staying active.

Much love to you and your growing babe!

Second Trimester Experience
Third Trimester Experience

21 Weeks

22 October 2014

How far along are you? 21 weeks and 2 days 
Cravings: I haven't really had any specific cravings.  I'm slightly more interested in carbs than normal, and sadly my sweet tooth has returned.  It was completely gone in my first trimester and I was hoping by some miracle that I would be permanently cured.  But alas, it turns out I do still enjoy sugar.
Weight Gain: roughly 9-10 lbs
"Today I spent the majority of the day thinking about having to pee, trying to find bathrooms, and going pee." -me
"A great drinking game would be to take a shot every time "c-section" is mentioned on this maternity tour." -Jeff
"I think it's a boy"- Everyone
Favorite moment this week:  Far and away the best moment was Jeff getting to feel the baby kick for the first time.  Not once, but twice!  It felt like such a special gift and I immediately burst into tears.
General mood:  Great!  I have energy, I feel good, and people are finally starting to acknowledge that I have a baby I'm pretty excited about that.
Sleep: Easy peasy.  I love sleep and I have a heavenly sleep mask that makes the experience that much better.  I've been listening to my Hypnobabies CD's in bed and I easily drift into hypnotic amnesia (that's what they call it...but it sure feels a lot like sleep.)
Things I was surprised by: My balance is the teeniest bit off at times.  I totally bit the dust while doing a warm up jog at Crossfit.  It was surprising, embarrassing, and scary.  Fortunately, my mommy instinct was to avoid any belly contact and just slide across the concrete on my shoulder, hip, and knee instead.  It's all good though...nothing a little Neosporin can't treat.
Things I am most looking forward to:  Our ultrasound tomorrow morning!  I cannot wait to see this little nugget again and find out the gender!
What I think is really cool and crazy: Feeling so much baby movement, and now expecting some kicks around 8:30 every night.
Food Aversions:  Oh man, I had soooo many of these in my first trimester.  Thankfully, I haven't had any food aversions lately.
Maternity Clothes: The top I'm wearing in the first photo is a maternity top I picked up from Ross for $6.99.  It has buttons down the back.  Love it!  I don't really need maternity clothes at this point, but I do need my BellyBand or a hair tie to fasten my pre-preggo jeans.
Gender: Finding out tomorrow!

The Big News

13 October 2014

What could possibly cause these reactions???

Jeff's mom & aunts
my mom & dad

 Well, our parents finally got video-tours of our new house with all our completed renovations.  They especially enjoyed seeing our plans for the final bedroom of the tour, with a sign that read:

Future Nursery, Coming March 2015

We are so excited to be adding a little kiddo to our family.  It makes it even more awesome that two of my good friends are preggo right now too.  One of those hot mamas happens to be my blogger BFF, Lindsay, from Trial by Sapphire.  I've been telling Linds for over a year that we need to have babies at the same time.  And what do you know?!  Without planning it, and despite trying at different times, we are only one week apart.  Meant.To.Be. 

18 week selfie, finally showing a little bump
I'll be 20 weeks (five freakin' months!) tomorrow.  I feel great and am excited to start showing a bit more.  Love this little nugget so much already :)

Why I Competed in the Crossfit Open {And Why You Should Too!}

06 October 2014

The Crossfit Open is the first and only Crossfit competition I've ever done.  It's a worldwide event that takes place in Feb/Mar every year.  A workout gets announced every week for five weeks, you complete the workout at your own gym with a judge watching you and keeping score, then you submit your scores online.  You get ranked against all other athletes worldwide.

So Why Compete?

I competed mainly because of the amazing camaraderie of my gym.  We did the workouts each Saturday and made it into a really fun atmosphere.
What I learned in the process is what an incredible opportunity it is to stretch yourself and test the bounds of your fitness in a safe environment.

Every single person in our gym hit PR's, completed a movement they've never done before, and pushed themselves beyond their perceived limitations.

Power snatching for workout 14.1

Double Under jump roping for workout 14.1

Excuses Not to Compete:

I cannot lift the weights required.
I cannot do some of the movements.
I'm not where I want to be--I'll wait until next year.

Here's the thing--you never know.  You don't know what the workouts will be when you sign up.  I thought for sure there would be at least one workout where I wouldn't be able to handle the weights, but there weren't.  If there's a movement you cannot do, the Open is a perfect time to try.  I had never done Chest to Bar Pullups before.  I did eighteen in workout 14.2...surprised the heck out of me.  We had members PR their first overhead squat of 65# (or 95# for men.)  In one workout, I did fourteen deadlifts at 185#, even though my one rep max is only 200#.  It's the best feeling in the world to have people cheering you on, and to use that energy to do something you didn't think you could.

As for waiting until next year...again, you never know.  One of our best female athletes couldn't compete this year because of a non-injury health issue.  I won't be able to compete next year because I'm due to have a baby at the beginning of March.  I had no clue when I signed up this year, that I would be pregnant next the point is, don't wait for the "perfect" opportunity.  It may never come.  Just sign up and have fun.

in the background, doing chest to bar pullups for workout 14.2 (the woman in the foreground PR'ed her OH squat)

Doing overhead squats in workout 14.2
I don't have any photos of me doing this workout
No photos of this workout either...even though I was crazy enough to do it twice.  I got one of the Top 3 Female scores in our gym (and again was completely surprised by my performance.)

burpees over the bar (a movement belonging in special circles of hell)

I think my final ranking after the five workouts was something like #1,500 for females in my age division.  Whatever it was, I was really happy.  It's funny because the rank was so bad, but I performed so much better than I anticipated.  Even though I went into it with trepidation and some feelings of inadequacy, I completed the competition feeling proud of myself and so thankful that I did it.

Every person in my gym, regardless of fitness level or age had the same reaction after the Open.  For that reason, I really encourage you to compete.  I'd been doing Crossfit for just shy of a year when the Open started, as a point of reference.  So the only exception I'll make to my statements if that if you're brand new (less than 6 months Crossfitting), then I can understand wanting to wait a year.  But of course, it all depends on your level of fitness {and how adventurous you are!}

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