Exercise is great for pregnancy. Adequate exercise can help you maintain great health, build your strength for pushing out your baby during childbirth and make your post-childbirth recovery a bit faster.
Enter Crossfit, an exercise program that mixes aerobics, calisthenics and weightlifting. It’s considered a great exercise overall that helps build muscle, strength, flexibility and balance.
However, Crossfit is one of the exercise programs that is considered potentially dangerous for pregnancy. It can, after all, be pretty intense and intense exercise is not exactly ideal when you’re expecting a baby.
For some, however, it is possible to stay safe with this exercise regimen. But whether it is safe or not depends greatly on several factors. We’ve listed the major ones here. If you fit in the safe categories, then you’re probably good to go. However, if you’re even a little bit in doubt, maybe it’s best to opt for a gentler exercise regimen.
20 Safe: For Long-Time Athletes
If you’ve been doing Crossfit well before you were pregnant, it may be alright to continue depending on your overall health condition. If it has always been part of your daily routine, after all, your body will be used to the energy requirements and the strain of the exercise and can more easily adjust. Do note that this applies to women who have been doing Crossfit in particular. If you’re a runner or a swimmer, for instance, going for your regular exercise routine may be a better idea.
19 Unsafe: For Crossfit Newbies
If you’ve just discovered Crossfit or want to start Crossfit, your pregnancy is a terrible time to start. Even if you’re pretty good with some other sports, the specific exercises that Crossfit requires may require extra unfamiliar strain on your body. As a general rule, pregnancy is not a great time for risks. The best thing you can do is to stick to your routine or go for an exercise routine that is tailored specifically for pregnant moms.
18 Safe: An Uncomplicated Pregnancy
Aside from your regular exercise habits, your general health is one of the most important indicators as to the safety of Crossfit. If you have a clean bill of health – no hyperemesis gravida, no hypertension, no diabetes, no heart disease, no lung disease – Crossfit may be alright.
17 Unsafe: High-Risk Pregnancy
If you have any condition that makes your pregnancy high-risk, Crossfit is probably a bad idea. This includes teenage moms, moms over the age of 35 and those who have a history of miscarriage. As a general rule, if you have to think of something else health-wise other than your pregnancy, you’re better off resting and doing more slow-paced exercises.
16 Safe: Workout Feels Great
So you’ve been doing Crossfit for quite a while and don’t have any health conditions. If Crossfit makes you feel great after your workout, you’re probably OK. One of the guiding principles of all pregnancy exercise is to listen to your body. Feeling great is one of your body’s way of saying that this is something that’s good for you and your baby.
15 Unsafe: Being Uncomfortable
On the other hand, if Crossfit becomes painful or if it makes you feel extremely fatigued after your workout, it’s better off that you stop. There are, of course, certain variations that you can try that may feel better for your body. If nothing works, however, try out another exercise.
14 Safe: Pacing Yourself
One way to keep Crossfit safe for pregnancy is to pace yourself. Don’t expect that you will be working out as fast as you used to pre-pregnancy. After all, with all the hormonal changes going on in your body, you will also be carrying a bit of extra weight. Work with what your body is capable of doing and you should be good.
13 Unsafe: Being Competitive
Pregnancy is not a time to be competitive. It’s not a time to feel bad if you can’t beat your previous record and it’s not a time to compare your performance with that of your fellow Crossfitters. Remember that your body is trying to sustain life in addition to doing all the things you usually do. It’s best to respect what you can do as of now.
12 Safe: Gaining Normal Pregnancy Weight
During pregnancy, you should gain a total of about 25 to 35 pounds. Make sure you check the normal weight gain per month and monitor your progress. It’s a good sign if you’re gaining the proper amount of weight even while sticking to your Crossfit routine.
11 Unsafe: Not Gaining or Losing Weight
If you’re not gaining enough weight or even losing it, you may want to stop with your Crossfit training. This probably means that you are burning more calories that you can take in, which can be dangerous considering that your baby needs the right amount of calories to grow. If you’re still not gaining weight after stopping your training, you may want to go see a doctor.
10 Safe: Keeping Your Ground
Your balance and center of gravity changes drastically, especially late during pregnancy. It’s best to stick to exercises where you mostly keep both feet stable on the ground, adjusting your balance to accommodate the extra weight.
9 Unsafe: Losing Your Balance
Pregnancy is not a time to do dizzying acrobatics or carrying significant weight that puts you off balance. The danger of losing your balance is that you might fall and land on your tummy during the process. While your body has normal mechanisms to protect your baby, abdominal trauma is potentially dangerous and should be taken seriously. A much better option is to avoid conditions where you are at risk for falling altogether.
8 Safe: Doctor Says Go
Your doctor, especially if she’s been looking after you for a while, likely understands your overall condition and is aware of all the risks that you may face. She should be aware about all the medications and exercise regiments you’re undergoing during your pregnancy. If she thinks you can handle it, she’ll probably say that Crossfit is fine but still give you a few useful precautions you should keep in mind.
7 Unsafe: Doctor Says No
However, if your doctor says that Crossfit is potentially dangerous for you or your child, you should avoid it altogether. Although this may not be a great thing to hear, especially if Crossfit has been part of your regular routine, you might want to ask her for any exercise suggestions that you can incorporate in its place.
6 Safe: Keep Track of Temperature
When you’re doing Crossfit, or any other exercise during pregnancy for that matter, be conscious of your body temperature. Muscle activity, after all, generates heat may build up in your body over time. When you feel you’re getting a bit too hot, take a break from your routine. Wait until your heart rate has returned to normal before continuing your exercise. Another way to help regulate your heat is to drink plenty of water. Always bring big bottles of water during workouts and drink frequently.
5 Unsafe: Overheating
Overheating is potentially dangerous for your unborn child. Remember that your baby is still not able to regulate his own body temperature and is still highly dependent on the one that you provide for him in your belly. Being too hot can hamper your baby’s development and even induce premature labor.
4 Safe: Someone to Spot You
When you’re in the Crossfit zone, it can be difficult for you to determine objectively whether or not you’re overexerting yourself. It is therefore important to ask your Crossfit coach or your gym buddies to help you keep track of whether you’re doing something that’s taking you off balance, making you give too much effort or, in general, something that looks very uncomfortable. One thing that’s even better is if you have a Crossfit coach who is familiar with routines and techniques that are safe and suited for the needs of pregnant women.
3 Unsafe: Going Without Guidance
If you’re left on your own without anyone to keep your workout in check, you may veer into unsafe territory. This is especially when you’re late into your pregnancy and your balance has significantly shifted. When you’re overfamiliar with a routine, it may be too easy to underestimate the amount of effort it requires to do it. Having someone to spot you before you make a mistake is vital in preventing problems before they happen.
2 Safe: Taking Breaks
If you feel like you’re getting too hot or tired, take a break for a few hours before getting back to the routine. If you’re experiencing nausea and vomiting, going on with your exercise regimen may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. In this case, it is a good idea to stop working out for a few days or, at least, until the symptoms go away. As a general rule, if you’re feeling anything that’s a bit off, take a break from workouts for a while.
1 Unsafe: Ignoring Your Body
While exercise buffs do bank on the “no pain, no gain” mantra, pregnancy isn’t a the time to follow it. Instead, listen to your instinct to protect your child. If you’ve been exercising for a while, you may even have to relearn a few things that seem obvious: if you’re tired it means your body wants to rest, or if you’re hot, it means your body wants to cool down, or if you’re in pain, it’s probably best to stop. Athletes often ignore these bodily signs, which may be beneficial when you’re trying to train for the Olympics, but not so much when you’re training for the delivery room!