Nope, CrossFit is not too intense for a baby bump — 3 women prove it

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I have been pregnant exactly once. There are many reasons that my husband and I decided to only have one child, but one of the factors, especially for me, was the 24 hour a day gut-wrenching, soul-shaking nausea, heartburn and vomiting.

Sure, it could have been different my second time, but when it came to making the decision about having a second child, the potential of spending the first 100 days of my pregnancy curled up in the fetal position was solidly on the “con” list.

Unless you count the calories, I burned running to the bathroom, I didn’t do much in the way of exercising. Once the sickness waned in the second and third trimesters, I would walk on the treadmill or take a stroll down the greenway. I think I attempted yoga a couple of times, but beast mode, I was not.

However, many pregnant women do continue working on their fitness throughout their entire pregnancy. Emily Breeze Ross Watson, 33, a Charlotte-based fitness influencer, former Division 1 athlete and a two-time CrossFit Games competitor, gained international attention when she shared a combination of her intense six days a week workouts and easy-to-complete movements, that could be accomplished almost anywhere with minimal or no equipment, on social media.


Exercises you can do outside the gym while pregnant

Here are just a few of the movements and exercises Watson shared as part of her #moveyourbump series on her social media accounts.


Watson received a lot of supportive and encouraging messages, such as one from a pregnant woman in a Middle Eastern country, who told her that she wasn’t even allowed to work out, but that Watson showed her how to incorporate moving her bump into her life.

Watson also endured a lot of internet trolls turned obstetricians, who questioned if her workouts were safe and/or appropriate. Showing that she is as mentally strong as she is physically, she decided to focus on her messages of empowerment and living her life authentically.

“I know that I’m not doing anything wrong,” Watson said.

Watson is now pregnant with her second child and is once again working out six days a week and chronicling her journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Watson believes that not exercising during pregnancy is outdated. Her doctor not only supports her, but encourages her to keep her workouts.

Watson’s workouts must also be put into perspective. She is an elite athlete. Fitness is not only her profession, but it is simply her way of life. Therefore, what may look like a super human workout to the average person is Watson just living her best life. It is not extreme to her. Also, Watson is not increasing her workouts during her gestational period. She is either maintaining or decreasing.

Although Watson is a CrossFitter, she doesn’t want moms-to-be to think that is the only exercise out there. She just wants pregnant women to move. That is the message behind #moveyourbump. 

“Movement is always good for you, but especially when you’re pregnant,” Watson said.

The American College of Obstetricians recommends that pregnant women exercise regardless of their activity level prior to pregnancy. Physical activity is shown to reduce the risk of many serious complications that can occur during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, excessive gestational weight gain and chronic hypertension.

Sara Joy, 39, a CrossFit and nutrition coach at CrossFit Jane, participated in CrossFit during her fourth pregnancy. While she said she did no real physical activity during her first three pregnancies, Joy believes that exercising, in combination with overhauling her diet, led to her fourth pregnancy being the smoothest of them all. She didn’t experience the severe morning sickness that she had in the first trimester of the first three.

Joy’s OB/GYN wasn’t familiar with CrossFit, but he told her to “listen to her body”. Joy admitted that she thought that was ambiguous advice. The other coaches at CrossFit Jane scaled her workouts. She added with a laugh that they “cut her off sooner than she would have”, but she was thankful because she had zero complications.

Joy worked out until the night before her planned C-section. She enjoyed a quick recovery time and said that unlike after her first three births, she did not have to go on anti-anxiety medicines after the birth of her fourth child.

Unlike Watson and Joy, Amber Doty, 33, is not a CrossFit coach, nor a competitive CrossFit athlete. She is just someone who wanted to take control of her life. As Doty entered her thirties, she knew that she wanted children one day, but she also was aware that she was overweight and had high cholesterol. She was afraid that she, like her father, would have a heart attack before the age of 40.

Doty had a friend who did CrossFit and she thought that she would try it. Six months after starting, she learned that she was pregnant. By that time, she was at a healthy weight and all of her blood work was good. Doty’s midwife was familiar with CrossFit and encouraged her to do it.

Joy and Doty both said that there were a few people that were apprehensive about them exercising throughout their pregnancies, but since they were being safe and were under medical supervision, they did not let the naysayers bother them.

From booze to sushi to deli meat, pregnant women already have to give up enough. Let’s not take exercise from them as well.

Photo/Videos: Amber Doty, Emily Breeze

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