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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Exercising While Pregnant

75lb Kettlebell Deadlift
 My wife, Andrea, is pregnant with our first child.  Our baby is due on February 8, 2013.  Six months prior to conception Andrea had been consistently performing Crossfit workouts.  Which means she runs, rows, squats, deadlifts, pushes, pulls, throws, etc.  She has learned how to move her body through space properly; aka. Gymnastics!  She has learned how to move objects through space properly; aka. Weightlifting!  She has increased her work capacity "across broad time and modal domains".  After a few months of training Andrea performed a workout consisting of 21-15-9 repetitions of 100lb deadlifts and 45lb thrusters in just under 12:00.  On Memorial day she performed a Crossfit hero workout named "Murph" which begins with a 1 mile run.  She then performed 100 assisted pullups, 200 modified pushups and 300 squats.  The workout then finishes with another 1 mile run.  When asked how the workout was Andrea replied "the run was the easy part!"  This statement coming from a person who has never run a straight mile in her life.  Through her six months of training Andrea has developed a high level of cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, flexibility, speed, accuracy, agility, balance and coordination.

Andrea is a couple weeks into her second trimester.  She is still consistently performing Crossfit workouts.  Which means she runs, rows, squats, deadlifts, pushes, pulls, throws, etc.  I have heard many people voice concerns for Andrea.  "Should she be doing that while she's pregnant?"  "She's going to hurt herself!"  "She's going to hurt her baby!"  "She should be resting, not working out!"

Those concerns are BULL SHIT!  Women who exercise during pregnancy... 
  • Have reduced weight gain and fat deposition during pregnancy
  • Have fewer pregnancy discomforts 
  • Report a more rapid physical and emotional recovery from delivery 
  • Tend to have easier, shorter and less complicated labors 
  • Have less need for pain relief during labor 
  • Have more stamina during labor 
  • Increase their aerobic capacity 
  • Decrease their susceptibility to illness
  • Increase their energy level
Babies of exercising moms...
  • Have significantly lower heart rates than babies of non-exercising moms  
  • Are better able to cope with the stress of birth  
  • Have a greater ability to adapt to life outside the uterus  
  • Are more healthy at birth  
  • Are leaner at birth and tend to stay lean as they grow  
  • Sleep through the night sooner  
  • Are better able to self-calm  
  • Score higher on tests of general intelligence and oral language skills  
  • Have decreased risks of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases later in life
A few things must change during pregnant exercising.
  • Decreasing load for certain movements.  65-75% during 1st trimester.  Lowering weights even more as the baby grows.
  • Using dumbbells or kettlebells instead of barbells for certain movements.
  • Decreasing intensity.  Take a rest when you need it.  You should be able to talk during the workout.
  • Modifying certain movements.  Situps, pushups and burpees become difficult when you have a baby belly!
  • Listen to your body!  Don't try to push through a workout if things don't feel right!
Next time you see a pregnant woman exercising do not scorn them.  Applaud them!  Tell them they are doing a great thing.  These women are breeding a new generation of healthy individuals.

2 comments:

Plus, Andrea frequently outperforms her non-pregnant peers during Crossfit workouts!! Go Andrea!!

Haha occasionally, but you beat me quite frequently! You're part of my motivation - couldn't do this without my workout buddies! :)

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