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Intense exercise while pregnant- is it safe?(10 Posts)
My midwife told me that I can continue any exercise I was doing before I was pregnant. However, I do crossfit and I find the workouts very intense and demanding. I also have 2 friends who have had miscarriages in the first trimester that they swear we're down to intense exercise (one went running, one did gymnastics) Anyone know if there is any real evidence out there to show if intense exercise is safe?
As long as you have no other risk factors, evidence says that:
A) continuing exercise in pregnancy is safe IF you listen to your body and slow down when it tells you too.
B) you take precautions with regards to form, and may have to reduce the weight you lift due to an increase in the hormone relaxin increasing the risk of injury (ligament/ pulled muscles).
C) reduce instances of exercises specifically targeting the core after 12 weeks.
D) evidence says that mothers who remain active in pregnancy have easier labours and recover quicker.
I did crossfit before pregnancy and managed to keep it up until about 22 weeks. It was okay. I have done crossfit for about 4 years, 2-3 times a week but I am not very serious about it. I don't compete. I don't really care that much about getting better, but love to go and stay healthy and the social end of it.
In the first trimester I was very dizzy. I didn't do any handstands and exercises like burpees where I stood up fast were hard. My coaches knew I was pregnant, and I told everyone else I had been unwell. I did step ups instead of box jumps. I immediately switched to low weights, but mostly because my coaches (men) wanted me too. Jumping rope made me wet my pants (but this is my third baby)
As soon as my bump came in, it got harder. Sit-ups, burpees, push-ups, etc just didn't work because the bump was in the way. But again, this is my third baby so the bump came early. I stopped around 22 weeks. The reason was that I really had to have the WODs changed for me, sometimes completely so I was working out next to everyone, but not with everyone. The other reason was that even when the WODS were adapted for me they left me exhausted, and I have two other kids and a full time job so I can't afford to spend my small allotment of pregnant energy working out.
I miss it so very much. Most women in my box have stopped around 20 weeks. One went right to 40 weeks. Our coaches are mostly young men and I could tell that I made them kind of nervous. If you have women coaches in your box, or coaches with more experience of pregnancy it may be better for you.
When I asked my midwife she just emphasised not getting too hot - baby can't cool itself down (although this seems to be things like running outdoors when it's hot rather than in an air conditioned gym) and not getting too out of breath. I was told you should be able to hold a conversation as the baby is taking its oxygen from you.
I'm 20 weeks and still running a bit and have started training with someone who specialises in ante-natal and post natal training - I trust her to adjust the exercises as necessary and I slow down if I need to. It's actually easier to take it gently now I 'feel' pregnant than it was 3 months ago.
As long as you can still hold a convo or sing along to the music you should be fine. Ive done lots of exercise where I'm a bit out of breathe sweaty and tired and have been fine if anything I've been so much healthier than in my first pregnancy when I was exercise free. Listen to yourbody, take lots of breaks, water more frequently and be careful of overheating.
Unfortunately when someone miscarries they often look for a reason there is usually no way to know why it happened so they don't really know if it was caused by working out or if it would have happened anyway, I mc sitting on the sofa watching the TV and spent weeks trying to figure out why it happened at the end of the day I'll never know.
I didn't answer your question. I read a lot about this at the beginning of my pregnancy and didn't find any link between exercise and miscarriage. But, in the first trimester I simply could not work out anywhere near my former intensity. Because I am not really fussed it was fine. If you listen to your body you will probably be okay. If it will be very hard for you to step it down a notch, you may want to move onto other activities.
Both my personal trainer and midwife have recommended using the Borg scale- the rate of perceived rate of exertion- when exercising. I.e. If you can't hold a conversation whilst exercising it's probably too much. As a PP said it's about not raising core temperature too much to avoid causing cellular damage to baby. Heart rate is difficult to monitor though as quite often baby's is picked up too so "perceived exertion" is the favored method, even if it is somewhat arbitrary.
I did circuits 3-4 times a week before becoming pregnant but was far too nauseous and tired in first trimester to do much more than walk. Am now 16 weeks and trainer has put me on a mixture of steady state cardio and compound weighted moves (no interval training) with regular rests. Finding it quite frustrating as I am of the "go hard or go home" philosophy re: exercise and want to be crawling out of the gym after a workout but the fear of diastasis recti and possibly cooking baby mean I'm doing as I'm told!
I crossfit and am just coming up to 11 weeks. I didn't do any exercise between weeks 6 to 9 as I felt so nauseous and tired all the time, but last week starting to feel a bit better and did 2 crossfit classes.
I told the trainers I was pregnant but TBH they didn't give me any advice or recommendations so it's down to my own reading and research really. I've not read anything to say that crossfit is unsafe in general, but there are certain exercises to avoid: sit-ups, handstands, box jumps (step up instead) I'm scaling down the weights and intensity, and will also probably avoid burpees. Thrusters last week made me a little dizzy and I imagine burpees will be worse. I hate doing them anyway so now I have an excuse to skip them!
I've heard that you should not get so out of breath that you can't hold a conversation.
It is difficult to not push yourself hard, especially if like me you haven't yet announced your pregnancy. I found people encouraging me to finish the WOD so I pushed myself when I probably should have slowed down because I felt knackered. I won't do the same again and if the WOD calls for 5 rounds and I only do 4 then so be it.
Overall I feel it's got to be a good thing to continue to exercise. At least the advantage of crossfit is that is easy to scale every exercise.
Thanks everyone this is really helpful. I'm always out of breath at crossfit. The trainer is really nice but is male and I know he doesn't have any experience of these things equally if I wanted to continue I don't think I would make him nervous. I think I will be tempted to push too hard and will end up having to change the WOD entirely so maybe need to switch to a different class. Ideally I'd find a personal trainer who specialises in pregnancy and post natal exercise. Is that a specialism that some PTs might have? If not a woman who has had children or isn't scared to train pregnant women. Has anyone found personal trainers that are good with this? I could ask at the crossfit gym and the local sports centres if there is anyone who would do that.
Hi Freya. Yes you should easily be and to find a PT who can train you through pregnancy and beyond.
There is a pre and post natal course that a lot of PTs do to gain a formal qualification but a lot will have experience in this area anyway even without the official certificate.
Just make sure your PT is REPs registered and insured and that you feel comfortable with them. Asking at your Xfit gym is a good idea.
Best of luck!
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