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First Trimester Training Considerations

You’re pregnant – congratulations!

I’ve had a number of newly pregnant moms reach out to me over the last few months asking how they can stay safe in the gym, while still taking part in the fitness activities they love.

It’s easy to scroll through social media and take inspiration from the “bad ass” pregnant women on Instagram.

The ones that seem to never stop working out.

The ones who are “all bump” – as if that is some sort of compliment.

The ones that are still squatting heavy.

The ones who talk about their plan to “bounce back” quickly.

Even those who share their “before” and “after” pregnancy bodies can be triggering.

During pregnancy it can be very difficult to make changes to your training… especially if you identify as an athlete.

It was for me.

I did CrossFit until I was 39.5 weeks pregnant, and only really stopped because I didn’t want anyone to have the story of my water breaking in the gym to tell.

This is not to say doing CrossFit until 39.5 weeks is wrong. If I have another pregnancy, I will still do CrossFit. I will just do it differently.

My expectations of myself will be different.

I know now that pregnancy is temporary – but postpartum is forever. I have two pelvic organ prolapses and a pessary to prove it.

So, over the next couple of weeks I want to talk about general scaling recommendations for all three trimesters.

So, what do you do in the first trimester?

Firstly – you change your mindset.

Meaning - just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Putting your athlete ego down is one of the most difficult things you can do – and you need to do it.

Pregnancy is not a time to prove anything. It’s a time to learn about core and pelvic health strategies. A time to move, sweat, and just feel good.

It’s not a time for maximum efforts, or anything that could put you at risk of falling.  

Pregnancy is often rife with variables that are outside of your control. In the gym, you need to focus on what you can.

In the first trimester, that often means reducing reps, rounds, workout time or building in additional rest as needed.

Assuming you aren’t experiencing any incontinence, or dealing with any history of pelvic organ prolapse, or diastasis – as a general rule, in the first trimester.

  1. Give yourself permission to change your approach to training
  2. Learn foundational breathing strategies
  3. Learn how to engage your core and pelvic floor, and how they work together
  4. If you’re a weightlifter – leave your weight belt in your bag – it won’t do you any good, and it won’t help you learn 1 and 2.
  5. If you’re a CrossFit athlete  – get off the rig, and the rope – you probably won’t fall, but you might – and is that something you should risk?

If you need help with any of this – I’m here.

Next week we’ll talk Second Trimester modifications.

Until then,


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