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Yes! With the guidance of a professional coach, CrossFit is safe, effective, and creates multiple benefits for both mother and child. Below is a description of how to maximize those benefits while pregnant. 

 

Benefits
Studies have shown that mothers who exercise during pregnancy tend to have shorter and less complicated labors, have increased energy levels, have decreased risk of illness, and report a more rapid physical and emotional recovery from delivery. Babies tend to be leaner and demonstrate better mental and motor developments.
Changes in Physiology
We want to help soon-to-be mothers maximize these benefits and minimize any risks that could arise from exercise. To accomplish this, we must first consider the following changes in physiology that result from pregnancy:
  1. Increased levels of Relaxin: a hormone designed to relax the joints around the pelvis, allowing for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Relaxin also causes a softening of the ligaments. This makes a pregnant woman more susceptible injuries that could arise from ballistic, change-of-direction movements.
  2. Increased Blood Flow and Cardiac Ouptut: with greater demand for blood flow, there is a corresponding rise in heart rate. A pregnant woman has a higher resting heart rate and it is easier for her to see faster spikes in heart rate.
  3. After the first trimester, the growth of the baby is enough that we do not want pregnant moms to lie on their backs. This will put pressure on the vena cava, which can reduce blood flow leading to dizziness and lightheadedness.
Strategies
With these physiological changes in mind, we would recommend the following strategy to see the greatest benefits with the lowest risk:
  1. Inform your coach that you are pregnant: we will provide appropriate movement modifications and substitutions!
  2. Listen to your body: your body will tell you when to slow down and when a movement is too uncomfortable. This is not a time to fight through the discomfort.
  3. Stick to what you know: this is not the time to try to learn new skills or work on those squat snatches. Keep it simple to stay safe and enjoy the benefits of exercise.
  4. Avoid movements that increase the risk of falling including rope climbs, muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, burpees over-the-bar, and box jumps.
  5. Avoid working to the point of exhaustion: such high levels of intensity can lead to hypoxia, oxygen deprivation, which will affect the oxygen supply to the child. If measuring exertion on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, we do not to go above a 7. This will ensure an elevated heart rate and a pace that works up a sweat, but nothing extremely intense.
  6. Avoid max effort lifts and ballistic movements; the risk outweighs the reward.
  7. Stay hydrated and avoid core body temperatures above 102. A substantial increase in body temperature can increase the risk of Central Nervous System complications.
Conclusion
This is an exciting time and an amazing opportunity to maximize the benefits of exercise to the health of the mother and unborn child with a smart, well-planned approach!