I had my 6 week postpartum check up with my OBGYN yesterday and I am officially cleared to workout again! I have been itching to workout since giving birth because it is a big stress reliever for me so getting the clear was exciting. Before I was pregnant, I had a regular routine of doing CrossFit at Nevermore a few times a week. After I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to continue to exercise but didn't know if CrossFit would be safe to do during pregnancy. I did a lot of research and found that hundreds of other women around the U.S. did CrossFit throughout their pregnancy and there were wonderful benefits! I found several blogs that had helpful modifications to do throughout each trimester and also figured out what worked best for me.
I wanted to write this post to emphasize the importance of keeping in shape while pregnant and the many benefits that come from it! And if you do CrossFit, there are several modifications that I wanted to share that worked for me throughout the pregnancy. Everyone experiences being pregnant in a different way, so some of these modifications may not be right for you, but it is helpful to have options from someone who has been through it! I found this chart very helpful throughout each trimester and thought it would be great to share.
Here are several of the benefits of working out while pregnant, no matter what form of working out you chose!
Woman who exercise during pregnancy:
Have less weight gain and fat deposits
Recover easier postpartum
Have higher energy levels
Babies of moms who exercise:
Cope with stress of birth better
Sleep through the night sooner
Tend to be more healthy at birth and in childhood
I experienced many of these benefits because of working out throughout my pregnancy! Obviously there can be complications with the baby and other things can go wrong in pregnancy and birth, but working out when you are able can produce wonderful benefits. I gained 28 pounds during pregnancy and thankfully am now only 7 pounds away from being back at my pre-baby weight. I did CrossFit 3-4 times a week up until my 37th week of pregnancy and plan to hopefully do the same the next time I am pregnant. I slowed down a lot towards the end, but it still felt great to get my heart rate up and sweat a little bit. Some of my favorite modifications (especially in the 3rd trimester) included these substitutions:
ring rows instead of pull ups, chest to bar, and toes to bar, and ring rows
kettlebell swings instead of burpees, turkish get-ups, and stone-to-shoulder
push ups from your knees instead of handstand push ups, and handstand walks
rowing instead of running or biking
box step ups instead of box jumps
weighted kettlebell squats or wallballs instead of sit ups
hang snatch/clean/squat instead of barbell from the ground
DO NOT do inverted exercises such as handstand walks or handstand push ups at any time throughout pregnancy. It is not the best idea to do workouts that could cause you to fall including kipping pull-ups and rope climbs. I also did not do sit ups at all because it felt strange. Your abs disappear anyways!
I used these specific substitutions because they took around the same amount of time as the normal movements. That way I wouldn't be too far behind with time and finish around the same time as everyone else! It is nice to feel like you are still in the group working out with everyone even if some of the movements you are doing are different.
It was helpful when the workouts were longer than 10-15 minutes since I moved through the workouts at a slower pace. On the days that the WOD was a 1 rep max or under 10 minutes I would walk 2 miles on the treadmill instead of doing the WOD. Sometimes if there was a strength part of the workout I would row or jump rope while everyone was doing strength to get a little cardio in as well. The coaches were very supportive and I was very thankful for that! A few more tips would be to scale the weight down by 10-20 pounds less than what you normally would do. Drink A LOT of water and don't be afraid to rest during the workouts! If something doesn't feel right, stop doing it. You have to listen to your body because in the end, baby comes first.
Now it's time to get back on it and lose that baby weight. Below are some images of me working out while pregnant!
I hope you enjoyed this post! I think it can be helpful to see how other people manage working out while pregnant to get ideas for modifying movements. Stay strong!
And if you wanna see more adorable pics of Pay Pay, check out her newborn session!