WODing for TWO!
We’ve all seen the pictures of the pregnant women on Facebook and Instagram showing off their robust bellies seemingly moments away from giving birth, all the while swinging a kettlebell heavy enough to make most men jealous. We’ve seen soon to be mommies repping out pull ups, burpees on paralettes and of course even those snatching, squatting, deadlifting and a handful of gifted super humans performing muscle ups! These pictures are usually accompanied by one of two reactions: A mixture of amazement, inspiration and maybe slight jealousy that a woman who looks like she might be recreating the infamous scene from Alien at any second is making something look so easy, or you’ll read of disgust, disappointment and outrage that a soon to be mother would be so “selfish” to “risk” her unborn child’s life.
As a CrossFitter and a new mom I am very familiar with both of these reactions.
For ME, having no idea what I would be truly expecting my body to do during delivery, I thought of working out as a way to prepare myself for the most important WOD of my life. My goal throughout my pregnancy was to give my body the ability to safely and efficiently bring what turned out to be an 8 pound 15 ounce baby into this world. That, to me, translated to staying on top of my mobility, continuing to squat (light weight and form focused), keeping my back healthy, my cardio up as much as I felt comfortable and my weight gain under control. In my opinion, the best way to do that was to continue to CrossFit. However, I can assure you continuing CrossFit was not a choice I took lightly, it was a group decision between my husband, my doctor, my training partners and myself. Making the decision to continue to not only do CrossFit but to also coach, I knew I was opening myself up to the negative opinions I spoke about earlier. In order to combat those potentially hurtful judgments, I knew I needed to make sure I was ready to not only be willing to pass on what I had learned but to also sometimes accept that not everyone agreed with my choices.
Here are the four most common topics and misconceptions I spoke with people about. 1.) “A pregnant woman shouldn’t get her heart rate above 130.” FALSE. There is not a target heart rate that’s right for every pregnant woman. My doctor recommended going off “perceived exertion.” If it’s impossible to say a full sentence (10 words) at anytime, slow down a bit. 2.) “You shouldn’t continue your normal fitness routine you did prior to pregnancy.” FALSE. Pregnancy is not the time to take up new sports but it is completely safe to continue with your current activities. An educated, experienced CrossFit coach can and will always give safe modifications to any and every workout! 3.) “Pregnancy can make you more susceptible to injuries.” FACT. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. It’s designed to help lubricate joints and most important for the pregnancy’s sake causes ligaments to loosen causing a natural shift in the lumbar spine, a change in the hip girdle, and causes changes in the rest of the joints as well. This can indeed increase your risk of injury. Avoiding heavy squats and lunges especially as the pregnancy progresses is important. Also, activities involving balance are greatly affected after the fourth month. 4.) “Your body will tell you when enough is enough.” FACT. Trust your instincts. This goes for anything in your pregnancy. If something seems off, call/go to your doctor. If nothing else, for peace of mind.
Now, that my son is 15 weeks old and I’ve been back to CrossFitting for 9 weeks there are new struggles I face. My lifts are lighter than they were before I got pregnant, I’m slower, I currently sit 10-15 pounds heavier than I was a year ago, I’m scarred, I sleep less and I always manage to eat more! Will my body ever be the same? Nope. Not a chance. It’s incredible to me how someone who has yet to even touch a barbell is my biggest motivating factor. It’s for that reason that I know in time my body will be better, stronger, faster and more efficient than I ever was before.
Every woman, every pregnancy and every body is unique. If I could give three pieces of advice to every woman, CrossFitter or not, it would be: 1.) Trust your body and your doctor. 2.) Don’t beafraid of the keyboard nah-sayers! As long as you’re following #1, you have nothing to worry about! 3.) Rock that belly proudly!