Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts for each trimester

(This information is taken from

Do’s and Don’t 

**Please consult with doctor first as always. This is our advice but each pregnancy is different.**


In the first trimester, there are only a few things to be careful of. For most women, it is ok to lie on the back until the 12-16 week mark, so you can still do sit ups, but stay off the GHD. If you were already doing CrossFit before you became pregnant, you should still be able to do most of the exercises. You can continue to use your normal weights this trimester, just don’t go up in weight or do max effort lifts or try for PR’s. Your blood volume increases when you become pregnant, so trying to keep your heart rate at 140 bpm when exercising doesn’t allow you to do much. Rather than focusing on heart rate, pay attention to your breathing. You should still be able to carry on a conversation while you’re working out. This is a time for maintaining your fitness, not high intensity work outs. Don’t work out until the point of exhaustion and don’t get over-heated. Make sure you rest between rounds or exercises, and drink water before, during and after your workout. As always, check with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program.


In the 2nd trimester, more changes in your body begin to occur, and workouts need to be adjusted accordingly. First, no more exercises that require lying on the back. The uterus is large enough to cut off blood supply to the baby, so alternate core exercises will need to be implemented. Do push ups until you can’t any more, then do them against a wall, on an elevated surface or on parallettes. Do toes to bar until you can’t, then switch to knees to elbows. Kipping pull ups may start to become uncomfortable. If so, you can use bands or switch to rings rows as an alternative. If box jumps become uncomfortable, lower the box height or switch to step ups. It’s now time to cut out rope climbs and (excluding gymnasts) inverted exercises. Switch to beginner rope climbs and dumbbell shoulder press. Use a lighter than usual kettlebell (Advanced) or do one-armed kettlebell swings. Olympic lifting should be modified at this point, lowering your weights about 25-35%. You should switch to the hang position for cleans and snatches, and use dumbbells when your belly begins to impede your bar path. Do not do squat cleans or snatches. Instead, clean or snatch the weight then lower yourself into the squat, making it a two part movement, or do power cleans and snatches. Start deadlifting with a heavy kettlebell so the weight is directly beneath you, which is safer. The Advanced group can switch to the sumo stance to continue deadlifting a bit longer with lighter weight. Front squat, back squat and overhead squat with the lighter weight, as long as it is comfortable. Don’t squat below 90 degrees, again because of the relaxin hormone. Shoulder press and push press should remain comfortable for most during this trimester. Row, walk, run and do double and single unders until they become uncomfortable. Remember to check with your doctor before participating in any exercise program.


In the 3rd trimester, your growing belly will be in your way for a lot of exercises. Decrease your lifting weights as necessary, dependent on form and comfort, and still no squatting past 90 degrees. Run, row and jump if you still can. Keep doing the exercises that are comfortable, and use the substitute exercises for those that are not. Remember to keep your intensity in check using the talk test and stay hydrated. Make sure your doctor approves of your exercise program.

In the post-partum phase, you can begin to get back to your normal workouts. The main thing to pay attention to is listening to your body. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good. Amp it up slowly while your body adjusts to not being pregnant. You will be tired initially, caring for a newborn. Give yourself a little time to get back to it, but by all means, keep moving. You will gain some energy needed to keep up with that baby. Working out will help you get your body back, and help you feel like you are doing something for yourself. It’s not just good for your body, it’s good for your mental health. Try to maintain or return to your clean eating habits, but be sure to increase your intake. If you are nursing and CrossFitting, you will need even more caloric intake. Extra fat, fruits and vegetables will help, and continue to take your fish oil. If you notice your milk supply decreasing, increase your food intake and monitor supply. Make sure your doctor approves of your post-natal exercise program.


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