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The extremes of advice for new moms.

"You can do CrossFit until your water breaks"

That was a direct quote from my OB, when I asked them about modifying my CrossFit workouts. You see, I was concerned that I may be hitting my baby on the head with the barbell when I snatched. I recall them saying something about relaxin in my muscles could potentially result in me "pulling a muscle", but they literally laughed at my concern about hitting the baby in the head. "There's a whole lot of stuff in the way....(something about relaxin which I obviously ignored)... you can do CrossFit until your water breaks."

At no point did said doctor say anything about what using a barbell to snatch would do to the movement pattern I'd worked so hard on, or what the triple extension position achieved in Olympic lifting could do to my pelvic floor, or what a barbell over my head in the bottom of a squat that naturally puts me into a rib flare and pelvic tilt would do to my pelvic floor.


Not to mention what hanging from a pull up rig or rings doing gymnastics movements would do to my transverse abdominis (TA, aka, the deepest inner most layer of the abs).


Or running, skipping, or jumping for that matter.


My ONLY concern, was my water not breaking in the gym...


I should note, that this doctor is lovely, and this isn't really their fault. In fact, I don't blame them at all. They just genuinely didn't know better. The system isn't set up to educate women properly on this topic, and that really needs to change.


Now that my eyes are open, I know this isn't an experience unique to me. Women get one of two extremes when it comes to fitness while pregnant...

1) Do what feels good for your body... "You're a runner? Cool, keep running" - as far, as long as you want! "You're a weightlifter? Cool, your body is trained to do that, keep lifting!"

2) Don't exercise at all - "Exercise is dangerous when you're pregnant... you'll hurt the baby and yourself!"

Unless you are dealing with an actual medical concern, option 2 is very unlikely.

Option one is what I see most often.

While this isn't here to say that you shouldn't do the things you love - your mindset approaching these fitness activities does need to change in the prenatal period. There are considerations for any and all types of fitness to ensure you are setting yourself up for the best possible recovery after baby arrives. The idea of training to be "fitter", "stronger", "faster" etc. just needs to be shelved. Temporarily its for now, not forever.

The prenatal/postpartum window is such a short time in the grand scheme of your fitness life, and if we avoid, ignore, or think were immune to these facts, the ramifications of it will simply linger.

So when I am asked by any type of athlete, "can I still do _____?", the first thing I will ask you is why you want to do it, and then we can let critical thinking take the place of "listening to your body".

Mindset is a huge part of exercise for an athlete when pregnant. It's about knowing and accepting what your body actually needs now and long term, and I can help with that.

If you're really not sure where to start, don't hesitate to reach out to me or find a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist near you - they really are the heroes in all of this work!

I can recommend some great ones in the GTA, if you need some guidance.

In health,

Laura

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