With a new brood of CrossFit babies on the BCF scene these days, warrior CrossFit mamas are asking questions — How long did you WOD while pregnant? Was your labor and delivery difficult? What about recovery? When did you come back to Badger?
“No two journeys are the same,” said athlete Rebecca Mueller, mommy to Rachel. “Each body responds differently to the pregnancy process. Trust your instincts!”
Mueller decided to stop CrossFitting in her 37th week, due to a swollen ankle and the pressure of exercise. Similarly, Ally Murphy, mommy to Ryder, also stopped in her 37th week because she felt uncomfortable.
“I felt big and wanted to give myself a break,” Murphy said.
Some mothers, however, WODed until the end.
Mandy Cinadr, mommy to Lilah, was actually on the rower during a workout when her water broke. She finished the WOD before getting to the hospital.
“Don’t be afraid to stick to it if you can,” she said. “I ran 800 miles during my pregnancy and CrossFitted three days per week every week.”
And it was this sticktoitiveness that provided benefits during labor and delivery.
“I think being in good shape contributed to my labor and delivery going very smooth and fast,” said Brandi Gueldner, mommy to baby girl Charlie. “It only took three and a half hours.”
Likewise, all of the moms interviewed mentioned not just a physical benefit but also an emotional one, thanks to CrossFit.
“It was the mental stamina that got me through all the labor without anesthesia,” Cinadr said. “I thought, ‘this is hard but I know hard. This is also temporary. Just keep breathing. You can do it.’”
CrossFit also aided in a fast recovery.
“I truly credit CrossFit to bouncing back super fast,” Murphy said. “I was able to begin fitting into my regular clothes one week after I delivered. I think my body was used to being active, working and recovering so the recovery process was very natural for my body.”
And it was the fast recovery that prompted these mommas to get back at it quicker than the traditional 6 weeks.
Cinadr started with non-impact biking and rowing just 5 days after giving birth. Murphy started walking after 3 days and Mueller was running at two weeks.
“I was restless,” she said. “I started going on light runs about 2 weeks after giving birth, which felt great!”
However, while these Badger CrossFit moms came back before the 6-week postpartum rule, early returns to the gym are not the norm, nor advised. BCF coaches advise new moms to take it slow, consult with a Physical Therapist and their doctors before hopping back into an exercise routine.
“Let your body heal,” said Coach Tina Martin. If you don’t, “Diastasis Recti (split abs) can happen, so you need to be careful.”
Diastasis Recti is the condition where large abdominal muscles separate, causing a bulge in the belly. While there is no treatment or cure outside surgery, there are preventative measures, such as ab strengthening and ramping back into physical activity slowly.
So what advice do these mommas have for pregnant BCFers?
“If your body allows, do it as long as you can,” Gueldner said. “Listen to your body!”
“Do what feels right,” she said. “I know women at BCF were running and doing cleans until the very end! I had stopped doing cleans around 20 weeks and stopped running around 24 weeks. But I could jump rope easily at the end while other women had to stop in their first trimester . Everyone is so different so try not to compare yourself too much to others but use them as inspiration.”
If you have questions or concerns during or after your pregnancy, feel free to contact Tyler or Tina at [email protected], who will work with you and your goals to keep you safe.