Pregnancy and Athletic Performance in CrossFit

ByCrossFit October 13, 2023

“I’m pregnant — is CrossFit safe for me? Which movements? How hard can I work out?”

The short answer? Yes, it’s safe to train CrossFit while pregnant.

Dr. Allison Strnad, M.D., Dr. Jaime Seeman, M.D., and CrossFit’s Nicole Christensen (CF-L4) joined moderator Mike Giardina (CF-L4) at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, to answer those questions and more in this CrossFit Health panel discussion.

“I’m excited when my patients come in and they’re doing CrossFit,” Dr. Strnad says. “We talk about certain limitations as each trimester progresses that they need to be aware of, but overall, CrossFit is very safe for pregnant women.”

The panelists discuss the many benefits and minimal risks of training CrossFit while pregnant in addition to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and how to modify training to accommodate them.

“The hormones progesterone and relaxin start to loosen our ligaments and tendons … so, athletes may need different modifications,” says Dr. Seeman. “But (it’s) undisputed that continuing exercise in pregnancy reduces risks for a lot of things like excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia.”

The experts also discuss finding appropriate levels of intensity for pregnant athletes, sleep, nutrition, postpartum considerations, and tips for coaching athletes during pregnancy.

“Pregnancy is hard,” Dr. Strnad says. “Labor is hard. I want my pregnant patients exercising because labor is like a very long workout with lots of 1-rep maxes at the end, and so it is very important that they’re strong and have good cardiorespiratory athleticism to be able to have good, successful labor.”