CrossFit and Pregnancy: My Journey
Written by Ali Jones

Over the last couple of months, I have had many people in the gym ask me when I am going to stop lifting. I keep thinking maybe they know something that I don’t. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am 6 months pregnant with my 3rd baby. Yikes! I have trained with the Competition classes for a little over a year and a half now. CrossFit was not part of my life during my first two pregnancies. I started CrossFit when my daughter was about 7 months old. She just turned 4. During my other two pregnancies I was glued to the elliptical for 40 minutes, 5 times a week, and threw in some light dumbbell and callisthenic work as well.

When I was pleasantly surprised with this pregnancy news, I immediately started researching what I should or shouldn’t do only to find…..not that much info on pregnancy and CrossFit. I did find a couple of women who had successfully done CrossFit throughout their pregnancies…but there were no clear guidelines on how to do this. So along comes my first prenatal appointment and the obstetrician tells me I shouldn’t do any weights and that even doing a plank hold might cause my placenta to tear away from the uterine wall. She was immediately fired. I quickly realized that I would have to just go by how I feel.

So my journey began. At first there were some obvious things that had to go. No more weight belt and no more 1 rep max (1 RM) attempts where I would be holding my breath or bearing down for more than a couple seconds. The first trimester I found I was very out of breath easily, especially with any kind of interval training, which we do a lot of. On those days it was more productive for me to go for a 30-40 minute run. I seemed to tolerate the steady cardio better than intervals. I also noticed that any conditioning workout with weights was significantly more difficult so my weights were scaled quite a bit. I still stuck with the Competition workouts but scaled weights and some days I didn’t finish because I could feel when I had done enough work for the day.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.25.58 AM

Finally, my second trimester rolled around and I had so much more energy. Some of the interval training started feeling better and my times wouldn’t drop off as much. I have also found that, during the strength portion of our workouts, I have been able to do pretty much the same amount of weight as pre-pregnancy. Some days it actually feels better than before I was pregnant. I typically am a little cautious with the Olympic lifts because they are so dynamic. Of course not everything feels great. Apparently my feet got pregnant because my split jerk is now awful…my feet don’t want to move. I can push jerk as much as I can split jerk now, which is not normal for me. I stopped doing rope climbs because it is not worth the risk. I no longer attempt muscle-ups. Push-ups are done on a bar in the rack or on low rings. Burpees are now squat thrusts. Handstand push-ups have recently gotten too hard to do in a workout so I replace them with pushups. My dips are done on the dip station instead of on rings. Basically bodyweight stuff has gotten more difficult as my weight increases; funny, huh?

I will say, though, this being my third pregnancy, I definitely have a better feeling of what are normal twinges and pangs, and what things just don’t feel right. If this was my first pregnancy and I started to feel the slightest cramp, I would probably have stopped working out for the rest of the day. I’m not sure I would have been as comfortable doing CrossFit at the same intensity that I’m training at now. But I’m coming up on 4 years of CrossFit and this being my 3rd pregnancy I feel more confident in judging what I am capable of. My pregnancies have been without complications, but if that were ever to change, so would my workouts. Mostly I want women (and men) to understand that every person and pregnancy is different. Just because I am squatting 90% of my 1 RM doesn’t mean someone else should nor should someone stop running just because I did. Pregnancy and CrossFit are different for everyone depending on their own experience, comfort level, and priorities. So as far as when I am going to stop lifting…I’m not sure…it’s going to be up to my body to decide.

Notify me of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top