Crossfit is an extreme physical workout program that pushes the body to extremes like no other workout program on the planet. The program started as sort of an underground movement, but soon there were Crossfit gyms popping up in major cities followed by gyms in smaller cities and towns. Today you can find hundreds of Crossfit gyms (possibly thousands) with the physically fit completing insane programs for the sake of getting in shape. I recently stumbled on a blog post claiming Crossfit is safe for pregnant women. While staying physically active during pregnancy is vital, Crossfit may not by ideal for the majority of pregnant women.
Women are not delicate flowers that wilt during pregnancy, but pregnancy does have a measurable effect on how the body moves and responds during exercise. Many physically fit women are told to maintain their current physical fitness program during pregnancy as long as the body feels good working out and there are no dangerous physical movements that could prove detrimental to the body and, essentially, the pregnancy. Women at the higher end of the physical fitness spectrum may perform Crossfit on a regular basis, but that does not mean all Crossfit workouts are safe during pregnancy.
Dangers of Crossfit During Pregnancy
The ultimate decision about whether or not to continue your Crossfit workouts during pregnancy is with you and your attending physician, but there are some health considerations you should know about if you are thinking about doing Crossfit during pregnancy.
- Internal Core Temperature: It is extremely important to maintain a healthy internal core temperature during pregnancy. Pregnant women are told not to swim in heated pools or use hot tubs during pregnancy for this reason. Your baby does not have the ability to sweat like you do to regulate body temperature, so keeping your body temperature within a healthy range is important. Some Crossfit experts suggest keeping a temperature log with readings every 20 minutes during your workout. Check with your obstetrician for a target temperature to stay below.
- Jumping and Plyometrics: Many Crossfit workouts involve plyometrics and jumping. As the pregnancy progresses, your joints will feel more lax thanks to progesterone and other reproductive hormones. By the end of the second trimester you should be leaving all plyometrics and jumping exercises off your daily workout plan. Your personal pregnancy journey may require minimizing jumping earlier in the pregnancy.
Crossfit is a rather new workout program, which means very little clinical information is available on the long-term effects of Crossfit on non-pregnant women, let alone pregnant women. The best solution is to work with your physician with an open line of communication regarding exercise safety during pregnancy.