CrossFit While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

lifting with barbell pregnantFor eons, pregnant women have been warned that too much physical activity might put their health and their baby's at risk. Nonetheless, the general consensus from most experts these days seems to be that if you've already established a fitness regimen well before you became an expectant mom, it's something you can continue to do -- even if that means running marathons or 5Ks. But what about doing CrossFit while pregnant?

The popular workout has been questioned as possibly unsafe for anyone, let alone for pregnant women. Considering that it includes moves like doing deep squats with a barbell pressed overhead or lying on your back doing a series of stretches, which the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend for women in late-term pregnancy, the program is certainly controversial for moms-to-be. 

But is it a total no-no?


"The issue is tricky," says Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of The Hormone Cure (Scribner, 2013).

Here, the details ...

The ACOG recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week during pregnancy, as long as there are no medical complications. "I believe the tendency in mainstream medicine to keep pregnant women in a holding pattern, ideally on bed rest as much as possible and not jogging or highly fit, is hopelessly Victorian and unproven," explains Dr. Gottfried.

Still, the high-intensity routine may be more likely than others to raise risk of injury. "I am concerned that CrossFit sometimes keeps women from attuning to their bodies in favor of throwing truck tires, lifting barbells, and otherwise burst training," Dr. Gottfried notes. "That's a set-up for injury unless you have superb form and an expert trainer, highly knowledgeable about pregnant form, watching you."

Ideally, you want to strike a balance between taking your workout to the extreme and being too sedentary. "The best thing for women is somewhere in the middle," Dr. Gottfried says. "Stay active, but listen to what your body is telling you." It also doesn't hurt to speak with your doctor about what's right for you during your pregnancy, because it may very well be different from someone else, given that no pregnancy -- or woman's body -- is the same.

How do you feel about CrossFit while pregnant?

Image via © Jade Brookbank/Image Source/Corbis

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