The Pregnant Athlete Mindset

Pregnant Athlete

Two pink lines. Lab results. A phone call. An “I’m late” thought. 

However you come to the conclusion that your eggo is preggo, this moment is life changing. For anyone, this change has a profound effect on not just your body but also your mind and spirit. Depending on your pregnancy history, age, etc. this life update can be challenging to adjust to, especially for the frequent gym-goers. Suddenly, certain movements you’re used to are much more difficult and you have a hard time catching your breath just going up the stairs. The body changes should go hand in hand with the mental adjustments, but a lot of times they don’t. 

As your baby and uterus grows, your body adjusts. Your abdominals literally separate so that there is room for baby and the rest of your organs. What a beautiful adaptation! This is also called diastasis rectus abdominis. Your joints and ligaments soften due to the hormone relaxin found in your body, so you may not feel as stable under a heavy barbell as once did. Some other changes might include a dark line down your tummy, called a linea nigra, shiny hair, vomiting, brighter skin, pelvic floor changes and just general fatigue. That list could be longer but I’m summarizing some that stand out. The point is, your body is transitioning and growing a human life inside your uterus. When it comes to your personal fitness, the physical shift also brings about changes to your psyche and attitude.

As someone who is pregnant, you are already carrying more blood volume and your resting heart rate is elevated. When you put your body under stress in a workout, that’s good but there can be a point where it becomes too much. In my opinion, there is no reason to tell yourself that you need lift as heavy as you “usually do” or to go as hard as you did preconception. There’s a new goal now, and it’s not being the number one athlete at your gym. If you ever need to recenter, ask yourself, why are you pushing so hard? Are you training your body to prepare for the CrossFit Games or for birth? Is it worth it to injure yourself while pregnant? 

I’m pointing out that there is a spiritual, psychological shift during pregnancy because often it is not discussed in a gym setting. We frequently find ourselves trying to push beyond our thresholds and through the pain, but that isn’t necessary while you are carrying a child. My hope is that this is spoken about more. I’d like to see women unafraid to exercise, but also listening to their bodies and slowing down as they inch closer to their due dates. As women, we can be really hard on ourselves, especially the mamas. Remember what you are training for and to give yourself grace as you transition into parenthood. 

If you have questions about pregnancy and exercise and/or are interested in prenatal training, please email me

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