Pregnancy and Exercise

So you have just found out you’re going to be carrying a little bundle of joy for the next 9 months.

It is a lot to take in at first even more so if it’s come as a surprise (all be it a nice surprise)

There  are a lot of things that are now going to be running through your mind…..lots of do’s and don’ts. But what about exercise.

The main rule of thumb to remember is what ever you did before pregnancy you can continue to do but not to throw yourself into learning a new discipline. I don’t think sumo-wrestling or tight rope walking is really what we pregnant ladies need to start learning.

This can also mean that if you haven’t been very active pre-pregnancy then deciding to take up intense full on training in the hope of keeping weight off or getting fit is not the way forward either. If you are interested in making a few good changes then gentle/moderate exercise for 30mins daily is all that is needed. A brisk walk or swim is awesome and most good gyms will offer specific classes for pregnant ladies. In fact if you can find a class specifically tailored for you all the better as your teacher will have full training on the movements to avoid and the implications of pregnancy on your body during exercise.

As a Crossfitter finding out I could still do all the things I loved was such a relief. You give up so much and if you can still keep control of one aspect and not all of your old life has to stop then it can keep the baby madness at bay….(oh didn’t you know being pregnant and having kids can make us ladies go a little loopy)

Can everything stay the same though?

Nope, there are a few consideration that need to be made.

Weeks 1-13

The first trimester is probably what I consider the hardest. I mean mentally you are adjusting, physically you are making a human being – your baby almost perfectly formed by 10wks its just development and growth from then on. Imagine, you are making eye lashes and toe nails and all that other cute stuff.

This is the only time when I think we should go easy on ourselves!!!

For a start unless your lucky your bundle of joy will be causing sickness and nausea. We need rest, we need the pregnancy to establish.

Unfortunately there is a massive chance of miscarriage during these 12wks. I wouldn’t want to advise anyone to lift too heavy, push too hard and if advised by your doctor and more importantly by your own feeling then I wouldn’t train, simple.

I know I said you didn’t need to stop but think of it as an extended break or recovery stage.

Week 14-26

From here on in you should start to feel a bit more energetic and nausea will hopefully have stopped. You will also have had your first scan. Your pregnancy is well and truly established and the chance of miscarriage drops significantly. Back to training!!!

By now though, a few things have changed. We have started to develop a bump. Hormone levels are changing ligaments and joint mobility, and for some we may experience Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. This is fluid retention around the wrist which can impend push ups, wrist heavy exercises.

We now have to think about alternative ab exercises, if your a fan of crunches or supine posed abdominal work you will notice the weight of the baby will start to put pressure on the main arteries through your back, cutting off the supply is never a good idea!!!

You will find your body temperature will rise quickly. For us pregnant ladies we don’t need to go for a pb, if we need to cool down or take a breather that’s fine, just remember all the hard work your body is doing in the wings and don’t peg yourself next to your previous performances.

On a whole at this point we can still continue with most exercises as normal.  As far as weights used, 60-70% of your pre-pregnancy weight will be more then enough.

To protect our joints it’s not advised to box jump or preform lateral movement that could damage joints and ligaments, we need to preserve your fitness not injury yourself.

Getting further through the trimester will mean a growing bump and may mean olympic bars will need to be sub-ed for dumbells.

Weeks 27-40

Your on the home straight. The last trimester.

Your baby is practising a more rhythmic breathing pattern and has a good chance of survival if born from week 27.

We need to think about doing what is comfortable. Your growing size means that any grace of movement is out of the window!

Recovery during exercises will be crucial and drinking plenty of fluid.

Our golden rule from now until you give birth is do what you can and when you can. As the wks go on, the fatigue will return meaning you are not trying to win any championships or comps. Go easy on yourself and listen to your body.

From 40wks+

You have a baby to care for so time and fatigue will play a big part in your training schedule. After your mid-wife has signed you off, whoop whoop you can return to all things crossfit. Let’s take it easy though to start…we have just had a baby!

I have now trained through both of my pregnancies. Feel free to drop me an email for advise and guidance @ if you can’t find the answer to your question.


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