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When CrossFit emerged in 2006 it was a mostly underground hard core fitness enthusiast world, filled with 20 something year olds who lived for nothing more then to do the hardest workouts possible day in and day out. As CrossFit continues to age the average demographic has shifted those 20 something year olds grow up and the women ultimately become mothers. In our gym alone we have gone through 7 pregnancies since 2010.

But what about CrossFit, pregnancy, birth and post par-tum? Is it safe? Is it beneficial? We set out out get in the trenches and go right to the experts. The highly educated and respected female pediatrician, the female CrossFit coach and the CrossFit athlete.

Our first author will be our Pediatricain Dr. Alison Shuman.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ali Shuman (aka DOC) and I am a Pediatrician in Ventura and Oxnard. I completed my training in Pediatrics at Cornell New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2003 and then went on to two years of Pediatric Critical Care training. I have been the director of Pediatric Hospital medicine at Community Memorial Hospital since 2012 where my partners and I admit and treat children who are all and care for the vast majority of new babies born at the hospital.

As a doctor I get lots of friends coming to me for advice about a lot of things. One of the more common questions I get from my friends who have recently found out they’re pregnant is wondering what activities are safe or unsafe to engage in during this time of life. During pregnancy there are so many things for a woman to consider; her own health, the health and safety of her baby, the amazing multitude of changes that are happening to her body every day… it can be a time of great uncertainty!

The good news is, many studies show that it is very safe for pregnant women to continue to engage in the activities and level of activity they were involved in prior to pregnancy. Women who have been marathon runners have actually continued to run marathons up to the time they deliver! Infants born to mother’s who have exercised do not have increased risks for issues after birth. In addition to the health benefits to a mom during the pregnancy itself (maintaining healthy blood pressure, cardiovascular health, weight and blood sugars), exercising in pregnancy can make for easier labor and delivery. Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to

* Reduce back pain

* Ease constipation

* May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery

* Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy

* Improve your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels

* Help you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) actually recommend that pregnant women get 150 minutes of exercise per week through their pregnancy!

If you have been doing CrossFit prior to your pregnancy then it is perfectly safe to continue this during your pregnancy without interruption.

Many people are concerned about exercising in the first trimester, but studies do not support that exercising or elevating your heart rate to specific levels increase the risk of miscarriage. Most miscarriages that occur in the first 12 weeks are related to a genetic abnormality in the fetus, and have nothing to do with what a mother does or does not do. If you specific risk factors (pregnant with multiples, placenta previa, cervical insuffiency are a few of them) then the best choice is to speak with your OB-GYN about what is right for you.

There are very few absolute things one would need to avoid, and a good coach will work with you to adjust your workouts as you need to keep yourself and your baby safe. If you have concerns or questions, ask a coach about what you should or shouldn’t do at the gym and how you should modify or change your workouts. In the meantime – get out, get active, and have fun with this incredible time!