Is it safe to do CrossFit and heavy weight-lifting when you’re pregnant?
By Aimee Heckel
The viral photos of an 8-and-a-half-month pregnant woman lifting heavy weights during her CrossFit exercises recently ignited a storm of debate.
Some people criticized her for potentially pushing her body’s limits and endangering her unborn child. Whereas others came to her defense, calling her an inspiration and picture of modern pregnancy.
As the CrossFit craze continues to spread, and the pictures of this now-famous CrossFit mama, Lea-Ann Ellison, continue to spread across social media (hitting nearly 4,000 Facebook shares and counting), it brings up the question: What kind of exercise is appropriate and safe during pregnancy?
The website CrossFit Mom offers advice and modifications for pregnant moms who want to continue training with CrossFit. “During pregnancy, you want to concentrate on strength and keeping your body healthy, rather than the intensity,” the website explains.
Ellison recently started her own Facebook page for “moms of all levels to feel healthy and hot.”
He says when he saw Ellison’s photos, his first impression was, “This woman is well trained with strong arms and muscles.”
Not the average pregnant woman.
The average pregnant woman is not advised to do heavy lifting, he says. But because of Ellison’s training and fitness level, Roshan says she likely was not putting much pressure on her stomach, reducing the chances of her actions inducing premature labor. Doctors generally discourage lifting heavy weights while pregnant because too much pressure on the stomach can cause the cervix to open and increase the risks of premature delivery, he says.
Here are Roshan’s exercise recommendations for the average pregnant woman. Of course, check with your doctor before doing any fitness program, and take your personal fitness, health and pregnancy issues into consideration:
Exercise in moderation. Don’t increase your body temperature to more than 100 degrees, which means no sweating or exercising to the point of exhaustion.
Don’t increase your heart rate above 140 to 150.
Do exercise and eat healthily. The average woman with the ideal body weight is supposed to gain 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy, although that number may be less if you are overweight.
“If a pregnant woman doesn’t exercise or takes in too many calories, too much glucose and sugar transforms to the baby fast and makes the baby bigger. The bigger the baby gets, the more chances of problems in delivery time, the harder to push out and the more chances of a C-section,” Roshan says.
In addition, there are long-term effects of gaining too much weight in pregnancy and not losing it after delivery, he says. After a few kids, it’s easy to become overweight, and cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in America, Roshan says.
Instead of heavy lifting, consider walking, lightly jogging on a treadmill, swimming. Take a walk through the park for a half an hour a day. Ride a stationary bike.
Also avoid contact sports, scuba diving, ab exercises and lying on your back in the second and third trimesters.
Looking for some new, safe exercise equipment to keep you healthy during your pregnancy?
A ProForm upright exercise bike costs $329 at JCPenny. (Upright may be easier than sitting down during your later weeks of pregnancy.)
Pick up a MIO Motiva Petite pink heart rate monitor watch for $70 and make sure you keep your heart rate at a safe level.
Find more coupons to save money on your babies and kids purchases here.
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