Monday 09.23.13

Photo: CrossFitMom.com
So this is happening on the internet. I re-posted the Huffington Post article on my personal Facebook page and it caused quite the discussion among my friends and family. Several other media outlets took the bait and continued the discussion, and I think I found yet another soap box: exercise during pregnancy.

My two cents, based on my recent lifting experience during pregnancy, is that the real issue is the judgement continually heaped on pregnant women for ANY choice we do or do not make during pregnancy. Unsolicited comments are made about both what we eat and what we do. Additional comments are then made about how we look and how we should feel. Routinely we encounter attitudes that we "should" be doing something other than what we are doing "for the sake of the baby." And often what we "should" be doing is "taking it easy" as if we are fragile, or ill, or both. Overwhelmingly pregnancies are compared one against the other, which is often pointless and unproductive because every pregnancy is different.

And when it comes to exercise and pregnancy, everyone and their mother is an expert. Jumping rope? Are you sure that's good for the baby? Lifting weights? Are you sure that's good for the baby? Three pieces of advice guided me through exercise during my pregnancy:

1) If you were exercising before, you may continue those exercises; however, don't go launching into new activities.

2) The guidance from CrossFitMom.com, which says "CrossFit is a strength and intensity based fitness program. However, during pregnancy you want to concentrate on strength and keeping your body healthy, rather than the intensity."

3) Pay attention to when a particular exercise or movement does not feel "right" and modify accordingly.

It's amazing to me that this woman is being called stupid for lifting weights during her 8th month of pregnancy. It's amazing that commenters assume she is knowingly doing something stupid, versus consciously and intentionally doing what is best for her body and her child. Granted, to those that do not CrossFit at all, what we do does seem extreme, intense, and demanding even when not pregnant. However, for those of us that routinely CrossFit, what we do is normal. I guarantee this woman has modified her workouts such that they are not as demanding as they were pre-pregnancy. Her level of risk is certainly much different that a pregnant woman with no history of intense activity.

This debate, I hope, is part of the change in how we view women pregnant or not. Rather than aspiring to force our bodies to LOOK a certain way -- usually waifish, weak, and unnaturally skinny -- we will hopefully aspire to BE strong, FEEL strong, and ACT strong regardless of body shape and of baby-making status. We will know that women weightlifting leads not to unsightly "bulk" but to lean and beautiful strength. We will know that weightlifting during pregnancy contributes to healthy mamas and healthy babies. We will know that blaming a Mom and her activities (or lack thereof) for the loss of a pregnancy is cruel and unproductive regardless of how blatant or subtle the perceived "causes" for that loss.

CrossFit is about function over form. It is about maximizing the amazing potential of our bodies, male or female, and even when pregnant. It is about progressing with each WOD to be better than we were the day before. And CrossFit is most definitely about reaching our fullest potential in the safest and most efficient ways possible.

30 shoulder to overhead (155/105)
*Shoulder to overhead means get the weight from the front rack position to overhead using any means possible -- strict press, push press, push jerk, or split jerk
EMOTM for 16 minutes:
Odd minutes (1, 3, 5, ...etc.): 8 chest-to-bar pullups
Even minutes (2, 4, 6...etc.): 8 deadlift (225/155)


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