Forging an Elite Fetus: 1st Trimester

Blog I wrote for on January 5, 2011…
Ah, the sweet challenge of a new human being entering your CrossFit lifestyle.  As everyone knows, I’m pregnant and due to have a sweet little miss on or around May 15.  Many of you have asked questions, guys and girls alike, about how exactly this whole CrossFit thing works while you’re pregnant.  Well, I’m here to hopefully shed some light on being a preggo CrossFitter.  For this particular blog, I’ll be talking about my first trimester only [months 1-3 and weeks 1-12].  Remember to keep in mind, this is my experience only and every woman has a different experience during their pregnancy.
I was fortunate enough to not get too sick during my first trimester, but extreme exhaustion was a major issue for me.  Not only do I have a full-time job as a Marketing Manager for Dogwood Arts, but I also coach here at CrossFit Ktown and help out at my husband, Ben’s, business, Avanti Savoia.  And, oh yeah, I’m baking a baby in my human belly oven.  I know many of those around me noticed how tired I was, yet despite the fact that I felt like I had narcolepsy, working out always made me feel better… even if it did only keep me alert for the next hour.
Since I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was 6.5 weeks along [most find out around the three week mark], I continued to work my butt off at the gym.  I set PR’s in those 6.5 weeks [yes, it was the first 6.5 weeks at the new gym… coincidence?  I think not.] I know I wouldn’t have gone for  them if I had known I was pregnant: Super Fight Gone Bad: 237 Rx; 1 RM bench press: 115 lbs.; The Chief: 18 rounds+2 PC Rx; 1 RM OHS: 120 lbs.; McGhee: 13 rounds Rx.
The second I found out I was pregnant, I really got nervous as far as CrossFit goes… I didn’t want to harm the baby in any way, but wasn’t sure how to maintain a healthy, CrossFit lifestyle without causing distress.  You see, most of the information out there insists that you “don’t do this, and don’t do that” when it comes to your pregnancy.  Fortunately my doctor, Dr. Bullen, who works with East Tennessee Women’s Specialists at Mercy West, was super helpful.  He was very encouraging of my active lifestyle, but insisted that I must listen to my body, slow down, do less than half the weight I’m currently doing in o-lifts, take more rests than before, and drink tons of water during my entire workout.  One great hint I read in a CrossFit blog was to sing during each WOD so I would know if my heart rate was too high.  If I couldn’t get out a word, I needed to take a break and slow down.
My personal struggle with CrossFitting during these first several weeks was knowing that I shouldn’t and couldn’t be as competitive as I was before.  I really had a hard time knowing that just a few weeks ago, I was doing it all just a little bit quicker and harder.  Once Ben and I decided to tell everyone [at the end of the first trimester], I felt so much better getting it off my chest as to why I wasn’t working out as hard as I had before… especially as a coach.  I’m still working on that part of this whole experience, but knowing that I’m preparing for pregnancy and labor, not despite it, keeps me motivated every day!
Even though I was eating foods I hadn’t eaten since starting paleo in January, I only gained five pounds in my first trimester which was right on track with my doctor’s weight-gain plan.  I believe a lot of that had to do with continuing to CrossFit during the tough times when all my body wanted to do was sleep, eat, and sleep more.  The only movement I had to give-up were traditional burpees.  Burpees were removed from my workouts slowly as I scaled down to snake-like burpees at first and then gave them up altogether because it got to be wildly uncomfortable and certainly wasn’t good for the babe.
During my fourth month, which we’ll post in the next couple weeks, a few of my favorite movements had to go… and even more have gone since then.  I’ll talk about why I had to give these movements up and my struggles/progress during this blog series of “Forging an Elite Fetus.”  I encourage any questions/thoughts you may have to be posted to this blog, or subsequent blogs, so I can address them.
Singing during my WOD’s forevermore,
Coach E$/ Erin/ Mama