We’ve welcomed a number of babies to the CrossFit Pendle family over the past few years, so we thought it about time we shared a few tips about exercising while pregnant, in case you’re the next in line ;)
First things first, LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY– we can only offer our general advice
First Trimester (up to 3 months)
Little may change as far as your training’s concerned and exercises such as sit-ups and bench press may still be performed should you feel comfortable doing them. As many women choose not to announce their news until after their 12 week scan, no one but you will know, so it may be worth having a quiet word with the coach if you are concerned about any movements. You can trust that we will not share this information with anyone; it’s certainly not our news to share!
If you’ve been doing CrossFit regularly to this point, you can likely continue to use your regular weights—but again, it depends on how you feel. Max effort lifts and high intensity WODs should be approached with more moderate effort.
Often, during this time, you are extremely tired and may well be suffering from morning (or all-day sickness), so be sure to take a break from classes if you’re not feeling at your best – there’s plenty of time yet to make your comeback!
Second Trimester (3 to 6 months)
During this time, especially weeks 20 and beyond, your bump is undeniable and you will likely become mindful of ways to adjust your training appropriately. Any exercises that involve lying on your back for a prolonged period – such as sit ups - should be avoided from this time as the size of the uterus can be large enough to prevent blood supply to you and the baby and it increases the risk of diastasis recti (abdominal separation).
Again, listen to your body. If you feel lightheaded after a certain movement, consider it a sign that you shouldn’t be doing that exercise. Let’s face it, your swelling belly will dictate a lot of what you can and can’t do, but exercises that involve the risk of falling should be avoided, particularly kipping pull ups and box jumps. You should again start to ask yourself whether you should decrease the weight and intensity of your training; you know your body’s capabilities, but make sure you listen to it.
Good substitute movements:
Sit ups - plank, side plank
Bench Press = press, push up (elevated as necessary).
Handstand Push Up = dumbbell or barbell press/push press.
Box Jump = lower box at first, and then step up.
Kipping Pull Up = should be on low bar and then strict or ring row.
Kettlebell Swing = possibly fine throughout, or modify to single arm swing
Deadlift = possibly ok throughout, or try sumo or kettlebell deadlifts
Snatch/Clean = hang power versions, then dumbbells as necessary once the belly is in the way
Jump Rope/Running = as far as your level of comfort allows, keep doing them. Rowing is a good sub, as are kettlebell swings
Thrusters/Wall Ball = controlled squat and presses, either with a barbell or dumbbells.
Push Ups/Burpees = on a raised surface
Third Trimester (6 to 9 months)
You’re almost there!Our advice at this stage is to keep on doing what you did in the second trimester, but only if you feel comfortable doing so. You may well now feel out of balance and more prone to falling, so be careful and mindful. Reduce weights again if you think it’s advisable; don’t try and match what you were doing before you got pregnant, you’ll be back to those standards and weights before you know it. You’re here and you’re getting a good workout, that’s all that matters!
Some women feel more comfortable doing spin only sessions and open gym at this stage – not a problem for us, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
You are now in charge of another human!
While the gym may be the last thing on your mind as you adapt to a new routine with you baby, many are itching to get back on it as soon as they can. Don’t worry, we’re going nowhere!
Your midwife or doctor will advise when they feel is the right time for you to return to regular exercise, so make sure you’re not coming back too soon; it could well prove harmful in the long run, particularly if you have undergone surgery.
However, exercise is great for both your mental and physical health, so if you’re ready to come back, great, we’d love to see you (and bring your little bundle for cuddles).
Ease you way back in slowly and be mindful of what your body’s been through. It may be frustrating, but you’ll be back to full strength in good time. We advise that you don’t attempt any max effort lifts for some time, from 6 to possibly 12 months - your abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles have undergone significant stress and need time to re-condition.
Remember, you’re likely to be short of sleep and those all-important calories; especially if you’re breastfeeding, so be careful and again, listen to your body.
Please, please keep talking to your coach about your training and we will advise as much as we can.
And why not talk to some other members who have been through the process and may be able to offer their personal advice?
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