Pregnancy Is NOT An Illness!

By: Rachel Posell

All the recent buzz over the photo posted by a 38–week pregnant Crossfitter doing an overhead squat has made me think about the issue of exercise and pregnancy.  The extreme and vitriolic responses, such as : "If anything happens to your baby due to your stupidity, I hope you'll be able to handle your guilt. Pregnancy is NOT the time to be taking stupid risks." "That can't be safe" are unsettling and just downright mean. 

One of my friends and fellow crossfitters put it best: “In a country where gestational diabetes and high blood pressure is rampant, labor & delivery nurses having never witnessed a vaginal birth, yet losing the baby weight makes covers of magazines on a weekly basis, I'm outraged by the judgement. What happened to empowering women? What happened to the pro-choice voice? Never mind ever breaking the glass ceiling, we have other women to break our spirits before we ever get there.”

This begs the question: IS IT SAFE??? Of course you can get as many answers to this question as people you ask. I am not a doctor, so while I am NOT giving medical advice, I have had 3 children myself (the first a set of twins and the second born at the advanced maternal age of 41) the best advice I can give is the same thing I say to anyone, pregnant or not. Listen to your body, be true to yourself and be respectful of the work your body is doing. Common sense should prevail, and if you have none, seek the advice of your OB/GYN.

Pregnancy is not an illness, but ask any women who is or has been pregnant and she will tell you that you definitely feel the difference from early on. I worked out for the entirety of both of my pregnancies with the blessing of my OB/GYB (after firing the first one who told me I could “take an easy walk” for my exercise!)  Did I squat heavy? No, but it sure felt heavy! I backed off considerably as the pregnancy went on and took more breaks. Did I do overhead squats? No, but I suck at overhead squats on a good day so that was an easy decision. I ran, I squatted, I pressed, I lunged, I did KB swings, the list goes on…

I think the well-respected Mayo clinic said it best: “Unless you’re experiencing serious complications, sitting around won’t help.”