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Exercise & Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time in any woman’s life, but it comes with many questions. For us crossfitters, one of the first things that may cross your mind is if you can still come to CrossFit as often as you have been or should you back off? It’s becoming more and more understood that women who become pregnant are able to continue their normal exercise routine, but something that most people may not realize, is that now the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), who is a widely respected institution in the fitness industry, now says it is safe for pregnant women to begin new exercise programs as well, assuming the woman is otherwise healthy and is having a healthy pregnancy. One reason why it was once thought that a women should not continue or start a new exercise regimen is because of the woman’s increased internal body temperature which could possibly cause damage to the unborn baby. However, now it is understood that “..well hydrated, fit pregnant women regulate their core temperatures more efficiently than sedentary people” (acsm.org) therefore, causing no damage to baby or mom. Studies have shown that women who follow a regular exercise program during pregnancy also tend to gain less weight than sedentary moms, and have a quicker postpartum recovery. Of course, as the pregnancy progresses, so will your exercise ability. For example, early in the first trimester, supine exercises are still okay to perform, ex. Bench press or sit-ups. As you enter the second trimester, supine exercises should be avoided because of the extra pressure from the growing baby that would be put on the inferior vena cava (a huge blood vessel that brings blood to the heart) which could slow or prevent some blood from getting to the heart. Of course, as the baby bump starts to grow, exercises that slam your belly on the ground, like burpees, should be modified. Running (which I’m sure is something most of us would love to be told we can’t do) can be done to the woman’s comfort. If the mom is comfortable jogging with her growing belly, then more power to her.
Another thing many pregnant women may experience is back pain due to her center of gravity being shifted anteriorly with the weight of the baby. This extra weight can wreak havoc on the back, particularly the low back, pelvis, and sacrum. Pregnant women who receive regular chiropractic adjustments, particularly to the areas mentioned, tend to experience less back pain than women who do not seek chiropractic care. It also helps to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor, which will be useful once labor begins. Rock Tape is another great tool that can be used to lend support to those muscles in your lumbo-pelvic spine.
Bottom line, if you’re pregnant and have been crossfitting for years, or you are looking to start CrossFit, have no fear, we are more than equipped to help you through your pregnancy. The coaches here at CrossFit Tantrum and Dr. Zimmerman across the parking lot at Sports Performance and Spine are well experienced and excited to work with you to build a healthy mom and a healthy baby!