Working out for Two

By Lauren Joseph

In Special Populations

August 13, 2010

PDF Article

Lauren Joseph CrossFits throughout her pregnancy and is back on the C2 only a week after giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

I had been CrossFitting for just shy of a year and when I found out I was pregnant, I knew a lot of research had to be done. I began by searching through the popular CrossFit Mom website and reading anything I could on the topic of “being pregnant and working out.” I didn’t want to do anything that could hurt the baby, but I also knew there was no way I was going to be able to train clients at the gym and not get my name on the whiteboard!

During my pregnancy I managed to never miss a day of training. I continued to follow three days on and one day off during the months of my pregnancy. While out of town I visited other CrossFit affiliates just to make sure I didn’t miss a day. I often heard on those visits that I was the first pregnant woman to work out in the box.

Most folks were astonished that a pregnant lady was still working out because a typical perception of pregnancy is that of inactivity until after the baby is born. Hearing that I was supposed to be inactive or stop training from various folks is what made me want to write about my experience. I want women to know you can still work out and be pregnant, you can still run a 5K at 39 weeks pregnant, you can still watch what you eat, and you can still do pull-ups!

I am not suggesting a woman already pregnant start CrossFitting now, but for those who have been CrossFitting and become pregnant, please consult your physician and continue at a rate at which you feel comfortable.

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16 Comments on “Working out for Two”

1

wrote …

this is impressive? i saw pregnant ladies workout. but with light weights. how did it go for you and your baby?

2

wrote …

What a badass!
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

3

Awesome! Incredibly inspiring.
My wife, 8.5 months pregnant has had a similar experience. She found out she was with child after attiring and getting rely excited about CF. She doesn't have your stats, that's for sure, but she's keeping it going. And The drs just rave about her fitness and strength, you probably got similar reactions. I love your comment about labor being just another workout.
This is a reattach story.
Thanks SO much for sharing!!!!

4

wrote …

"I had to drive home the point that I could complete any WOD on the board as
long as my heart rate was controlled, I stayed cool and hydrated, and I made the appropriate substitutions."

So lets be real here. The gal worked out in a controlled manner, using CrossFit WODs and not fire-breathing through them. Probably the most important quote of the article to show she used smarts and didn't try to overwork herself while pregnant, but used CrossFit in a maintenance mode to ensure she didn't lose her level of fitness.

5

wrote …

This is cool as shit. My wife was pregnant before we started CrossFitting but she continued to workout (even attempted to induce labor by stair runs) until the day she gave birth. It is inspiring what people can do when they take the time to think about what they want and then create a way for themselves to do it.

Congrats Lauren. Way to show that with some patience and attention to detail anything is possible.

6

wrote …

Thank you everyone for your acknowledgments. Caden and I are doing well and continue to WOD. It is very important to note that I did pace myself; while my times may seem fast or the weight may seem heavy, I never put the baby or myself in any danger and my non-pregnant times are typically faster (i.e. “Grace” 6:37 pregnant vs. 2:50 not pregnant).

Good luck to the men who are expecting. It’s wonderful and I wish your wives the best. Cheers to healthy moms and babies! Or how about just healthy families!

7

wrote …

We've had 4 crossfit babies at our gym (mine being one of them) and one on the way and every single one of our crossfit moms worked out for they're entire family. You just gotta listen to your body and scale back a little as you get further into pregnancy. I did fight gone bad rx'd (minus box jumps, step ups instead) at 8 months prego and I felt just fine doing it! What's really amazing is the difference in crossfit babies vs non active moms babies. They're much more advanced earlier on, at least that's how the babies at our gym have been :)

8

wrote …

I read your article with much interest because 23 years ago my wife was pregnant and exercising a lot. We were doing a 5 month social service in Patzcuaro, Mexico. My beautiful wife was always athletic while growing up although not fanatical. But during her pregnancy she was (for some reason) inspired to do a lot of walking. She would walk 5 - 8 miles everyday after work and continued to do so almost up until son J's birth. She continued to walk long distances during the pregnancy for our daughter although not as much.

We were surprized to observe how bright and aware our babies were after their births. They were much more advanced than similar aged children and continued to be so as they grew. As they grew we focused on lots of daily reading, eating well and healthy, a wide variety of experiences, lots of love, nurturing faith in Jesus Christ, speaking both of our native languages in the home and like all parents, giving our kids the best training we knew how. My wife and I are simple people who did well in school but not great. To our surprize, our kids have excelled in school far beyond what we did. Both graduated from high school with above a 4.0 average. They both got into the universities of their choice. One just graduated from the top university on the east coast while the other is half way through the top university on the west coast- a surprize for 2 average level state school parents.

I know a lot of years have passed since my wife's two pregnancies and the high daily levels of oxygenation she achieved with our unborn babies. A lot more than oxygen goes into making successful, responsible adults. But I can't help but think that it affected our "good luck" in having 2 really bright children. I would encourage any couple that's pregnant to do high levels of exercise (without overdoing it).

Oh, one more thing- start saving now for private colleges.

9

wrote …

Lauren,
Thank you so much for writing your article, you truely showed your stregnth as a mother, and a woman. I didn't know about Crossfit when I was pregnant with my son but wish I had. It is so great to hear how you took care of yourself and your daughter thru Crossfit. My son is 3 1/2 and it is so much fun to see him grab a piece of PVC and do a push press, or overhead squat, or see him grab the rings and try to do a muscle up (which he may do before me!). Crossfit has truely become part of our family activities and as with your daughter, I know is something that will help him his whole life. Congrats on your beautiful daughter.

10

wrote …

Lauren-
Great article and I'm inspired to continue crossfitting while pregnant. However, my only concern with your article was your mention of doing workouts as prescribed. To me that means you didn't scale it. I've been doing crossfit for 3 years and still scale workouts. On crossfitmom.com it clearly recommends that pregnant women need to scale olympic and power lifting considerably. Maybe I misunderstood what you wrote.

11

wrote …

What was the heart rate that you limited yourself to while doing the WODS? I am 15 weeks now and have been crossfitting and have tried to get no higher than 160. Is that too high?

12

wrote …

@ Julie E., after my first trimester I did not scale weight when it came to workouts. I felt confident and never hit/bumped/injured my stomach. I was able to WOD likes Grace, DT, Fran, Helen and many more using the weight RX'd. I scaled by moving slower and stopping to either make sure my breathing was under control or to use the bathroom. I understand CrossFitMom.com doesn't recommend doing this, however with my experience, approval of my Dr and support of my husband I felt find doing so. I believe this subject is based on the individual.

@Julia B, I can't recommend if that heart rate it too high, too low or just right. I am not a Dr and didn't use a heart monitor. I mentioned using one with my Dr but due to a slow heart rate (mine and baby's) I was adviced to listen to my breathing. Meaning, work at a pace that you can talk, clearly and without struggling. My Dr told me heart monitors can vary person to person and activity to activity. I listened to an Ipod and when I was curious if I was at a good "pace" I would stop and sing to myself- if it sounded good (not my tune but my breath!) I kept going and if it was a little winded, I stopped, had some water then started back up again.

@James, account started, thank you for sharing!! Your wife sounds like quite the inspiration.

@Anna, it's truly wonderful being a mother and I can only imagine the joy a 3 year can bring. Loving everyday. Thank you for your kind words.

13

replied to comment from Julie Edelen

@ Julie E., after my first trimester I did not scale weight when it came to workouts. I felt confident and never hit/bumped/injured my stomach. I was able to WOD likes Grace, DT, Fran, Helen and many more using the weight RX'd. I scaled by moving slower and stopping to either make sure my breathing was under control or to use the bathroom. I understand CrossFitMom.com doesn't recommend doing this, however with my experience, approval of my Dr and support of my husband I felt find doing so. I believe this subject is based on the individual.

14

replied to comment from Lauren Mungarro

@Julia B, I can't recommend if that heart rate it too high, too low or just right. I am not a Dr and didn't use a heart monitor. I mentioned using one with my Dr but due to a slow heart rate (mine and baby's) I was adviced to listen to my breathing. Meaning, work at a pace that you can talk, clearly and without struggling. My Dr told me heart monitors can vary person to person and activity to activity. I listened to an Ipod and when I was curious if I was at a good "pace" I would stop and sing to myself- if it sounded good (not my tune but my breath!) I kept going and if it was a little winded, I stopped, had some water then started back up again.

15

wrote …

From Alex: Thank you for the inspiring article, I had a very similar experience. I wrote a post reflecting on my CrossFit Pregnancy on my blog: http://thestrongmama.blogspot.com/2010/09/reflections-my-crossfit-pregnancy.html

16

wrote …

THANK YOU for this article! I'm coaching a pregnant athlete and have a couple additional questions for you. Although I stayed active before my pregnancy, I wasn't crossfitting yet, so have a few details to work out. I agree with the principle of completing most workouts Rx-ed if the athlete is able, with adequate rest and hydration. However, you mentioned that you avoided heavy/strength days, like 1-rep maxes? Could you explain please? Also, were there certain movements that you substituted, such as handstand pushups or burpees?

Any further advice re: programming or coaching pregnant athletes would be great!

Thanks!

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