On the day before she is to be induced into labor, CFE Crew member Courtney Adams took time to answer a few questions to help dispel the fear many pregnant women have (heck just some women in general) about doing CrossFit. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How long had you been doing CrossFit before you became pregnant?
I joined CrossFit Equality in June 2013 and found out I was pregnant March 2015.
2. How has being pregnant affected your workouts?
I would say yes and no. I had the pleasure (sarcasm) of finding out I was pregnant smack dab in the middle of the 2015 Open and I felt I performed consistently throughout the Open and this entire pregnancy up until about the last 2 months. I think my strength training and mobility helped put off the aches and pains and while some days gassed me faster than others I still felt I performed well overall. I would say my workouts affected my pregnancy more than the other way around.
3. What did your doctor say when you told her you were continuing CrossFit during your pregnancy?
At first my doctor had no idea what CrossFit was! I told her what I did and she probably thought I was exaggerating but she said if I listened to my body she trusted that I would be safe. I attended a CrossFit Pregnancy seminar at CrossFit Katy and was blown away by the information provided. They had an OB/GYN at the seminar for questions/presentations and I learned a ton about how to safely CrossFit throughout my entire pregnancy and how to scale by trimester/ability. I highly recommend any pregnant athlete, coach, and box owner to attend these seminars! I was considered “high risk” from the very get go of my pregnancy and had a lot of scary statistics and possibilities thrown at me. My doctor was adamant that I not gain too much weight, continue to exercise to prevent any complications, and I have been very closely monitored as my doctor was sure that I would have to be put on bed rest or admitted for monitoring, develop gestational diabetes, or even deliver prematurely due to my pre-existing condition. Every week she has been surprised and completely thrilled with how I have progressed. She praised me for my better than average blood results, my glucose challenge was below the cutoff she gave me which was even lower than the average person’s cutoff, and my weight stayed exactly the same until almost 30 weeks. She and I end every appointment with “keep doing what you’re doing – I couldn’t be happier with how you look right now”.
4. How has doing CrossFit helped your pregnancy?
I whole heartedly believe that CrossFit helped me in this pregnancy not only physically but emotionally and mentally. Pregnancy is HARD on your body and you have tons of hormones flying around like crazy! Coming into the box was my chance to focus on me and work out a lot of my fears, frustrations, anxieties, and worries. On the hard days – it was so nice to turn off all the thoughts of registries, doctors’ appointments, test results, nursery decorations, etc. and just grind out a chipper. For that one hour I didn’t have to think about anything other than the movements in front of me and the rep counts. I wasn’t the delicate pregnant lady for one hour – I was “Courtney Adams” and still told to “pick up the damn bar” and for someone who felt some days she lost her identity this meant the world to me (even if I did still roll my eyes at you Coach Michael). I prided my pre-pregnant self on my strength/weightlifting and was depressed that I thought I would lose that and it meant so much to me to see that I could maintain that strength even under the stress of making another human! I also see the physical affects that CrossFit has had on me during this pregnancy. I didn’t gain weight until well into my 2nd trimester and I’m within the target goal my doctor gave me. My doctor and nurses are surprised every time I come in because I didn’t require assistance to sit up after exams, picking items up, etc. I tell my husband almost every day that while I’m very uncomfortable now (a possible 10 lb. baby will do that to a gal) I am so thankful that for 90% of this pregnancy I have not had anything to complain about. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop but I believe that maintaining my strength and conditioning kept my body running as well as it has.
5. If you were to chat with other women thinking of starting CrossFit and becoming pregnant, what would you tell them?
I would 100% encourage it – but do it safely. Have an established baseline so you know how to safely complete movements before adding pregnancy onto yourself. When you get pregnant your ligaments get looser and your brain can sometimes go out the window (guilty). You need to know how to safely complete movements because the further you get along you will need to listen to your body and learn how to scale appropriately. Your coaches can offer you scaling techniques but they can’t read your mind – if you feel your balance is off or you don’t feel comfortable making a 20” box jump – speak up! My most important point is to make sure you are being coached by informed staff.
Before I announced my pregnancy publicly I pulled my coaches aside the day after I found out and told them I was pregnant – this is crucial information for both me and them! I remember specifically this was the day of Open Workout 15.3 and asked Coach Carley to be my judge. She encouraged me and also reminded me to take a second between wall ball sets to breathe. I sent my coaches all my notes from my CrossFit Pregnancy Seminar and we worked as a team to find scaling options for me as the year went on. I developed SPD which caused a ton of pain in my pelvis if I did lunge type movements and we would work together to find a comparable option whether it be 12” box jumps rather than 20” step ups, or squats instead of lunges, or Russian twists instead of sit ups. I would look at the workout posted in Wodify every day before coming in and have a game plan as to how I would scale if need be. I also kept very open communication with my coaches. Since I attended mostly Coach Michael and Coach Carley’s classes at 6:30pm I would message them and go over any questions or scaling I wanted to do. Everyone has been nothing but encouraging and supportive which makes a huge difference when you are flat out exhausted and working out is the LAST thing you want to do. Some days the couch and a carton of Ben & Jerry’s can seem way better than completing a Hero WOD but the feeling afterwards can’t be beat!
6. Any other words of advice?
Hydration is HUGE when you CrossFit while pregnant. I had heard so many horror stories of women going into labor prematurely or having contractions early because they were dehydrated and they didn’t even exercise that day! I habitually drank water throughout the day and would double that amount on days I would CrossFit (I was also lucky enough to be pregnant for the entire summer in Houston so the heat was a major factor for me). I always worked out next to the fan and would ask people to move their equipment so I could be near a fan – you need to watch that you don’t overheat. You, your baby, and your coaches will appreciate the extra caution you take! Nobody wants a fainting pregnant lady!
My final piece of advice is to speak up for yourself! Are you uncomfortable with a movement? Tell your coach and find something to substitute. Don’t feel well? Take it easy! Row instead of run, maybe do 2 or 3 rounds instead of 4, have a box or chair nearby for a quick break between rounds if you need to catch your breath – just stick to something you can keep moving in and feel comfortable.
You will have good days and bad days. I hit a 125# thruster PR at 23 weeks and other days I’m just trying to complete a 400 meter “run” in 4 minutes without peeing my pants. This pregnancy was so much fun because I was able to keep myself going physically, mentally and emotionally. I can’t wait for my daughter to meet at the Aunts and Uncles she has at CrossFit Equality!
The CFE Staff would like to thank Courtney for sharing her insight. We hope her words of wisdom have an impact on other women and motivates them to CrossFit while pregnant! We wish Courtney a speedy delivery and a strong healthy baby girl!
For more information about joining CrossFit Equality, or for #babygainz, contact us at www.crossfitequality.com/contact today!