Pregnancy is an adventure, to say the least. From “that glow” to swollen feet and everything in between, each woman has her own pregnancy experience. Of the many questions and controversies that surround pregnancy habits—Is wine actually okay? Will lunch meats cause problems?—acceptable fitness behavior has always been one of the bigger mysteries. Though it makes sense to stay active and healthy during pregnancy, it’s also hard to know what activities might cause accidental harm in the womb.
As high intensity interval training (HIIT) has become more popular in recent years, women are pushing the established boundaries of pregnancy fitness behavior by participating in HIIT even up to their due dates. Many women have received public criticism for it, but experts say that it really is safe with the proper precautions.
Basic Rules to Follow
The overall rule of thumb states that a pregnant woman can continue engaging in her pre-pregnancy workout safely through the first trimester, as long as the workload does not increase or become more intense. Basic modifications can be made, such as lifting less weight or running at a slower pace, to help the workout feel more comfortable.
Proceed with Caution
Pregnancy does change the body, and some women will feel these changes more than others. For HIIT workout routines like CrossFit in particular, the looser joints and changing center of gravity brought on by pregnancy may increase the potential for injuries. This means that even expectant mothers who are very in shape may need to adjust their routines to avoid any additional risk.
As for the baby herself, the biggest concerns during HIIT are decreased blood flow to the uterus and intra-abdominal pressure. An ultra-strenuous workout does have the ability to limit blood flow to the uterus, and lifting heavy weights can place too much pressure in that area. Especially when the effects are combined, the baby could be hurt. But as long as mothers-to-be don’t push themselves beyond comfortable limits, the baby has no reason not to remain completely healthy and happy!