How safe is CrossFit during pregnancy? Mother says it's great

Regular exercise during pregnancy has plenty of benefits, midwife says

By Kristi Krueger - Anchor/Health Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Megan Watier, a chiropractor, is expecting her second child in May. You might be surprised to learn she is regularly on the gym floor doing burpees and swinging kettle bells.

She told a partner that her CrossFit workouts were really helpful during her first pregnancy, so she chose to continue her high-intensity fitness regimen during her second pregnancy.  

"I'm just very conscious of movements that encourage strength for labor and delivery more than anything," Watier said. "I'm not worried about that six-pack anymore."

There used to be fears that strenuous exercise could weaken the blood supply to the fetus, but research has shown that a sedentary pregnancy is associated with gestation diabetes and other risks. 

National organizations, such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have conservative exercise pregnancy guidelines and say physical activity does not increase miscarriage risk. 

Cathy Rude, who has been a midwife since 1993, said studies show regular exercise during pregnancy has plenty of benefits. A fitness regimen should be continued under doctor's supervision during the uncomplicated pregnancy. 

"It's very important, if you are going to work out, that you are using proper form," Rude said.  "Even more so than other times because of the relaxing hormone that's going to let everything get looser."

Experts do say pregnant women who are athletic should discuss their training regimens and risk for injury with their obstetric provider.

Shawn Johnson, a former artistic gymnast, is expecting her first child after having a miscarriage in 2017. The 27-year-old Olympic gold medalist recently told US Weekly her doctor encourages her to be active. 

"On the days when I don't feel like it, I just need to sleep all day," Johnson said. "But otherwise, I've been going to Crossfit; I have been running."

Here is a list of symptoms that require an immediate call to the obstetrician:

- Chest pain

- Vaginal bleeding

- Calf swelling or pain

- Muscle weakness

- Feeling dizzy 

- Headache

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