Pregnancy + CrossFit – Take 4

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34 Weeks

It has been way too long since my last post.  Some stressful events came up all in a row and I took some time away from blogging.  In this post I’ll discuss, as usual, my crossfit workouts, basic pregnancy items, and some odds and ends.

CROSSFIT

Though I am awkward at switching positions in bed and getting up off the ground, I’m still feeling really good in most of my workouts!  When I watch my videos back it’s shocking to me how round and ridiculous I look doing some of the movements, because I really don’t feel as awkward as I look.  I’ve gained about 23-24 pounds now, but I still feel pretty sure of myself movement-wise.  I feel mostly stable for all of the weightlifting that I do.  My hips don’t feel loose as a lot of people in my birth classes claim.  My back cracks a lot more easily and often these days so I take extra care to brace it before starting each movement. Also, my wrists continue to feel very weak and painful for overhead squats and some other overhead movements.  This is not for everyday things, or even body weight movements, just anything over about 55# overhead.  Overall, I actually feel like I can push myself a little harder in my workouts than I was able to in the middle.  I have a better idea of what feels ok and good for me and have more confidence that it is ok for me to do since I’ve been doing it for awhile now.  Add to these facts that IF i were to go into labor right now and have to deliver, the baby would most likely be fine and not have any physical problems.  All these things make me able to get a pretty intense workout in.

The Lifts:

As shown in the video below, I still feel ok using barbells.  Most of the CrossFit recommendations say to switch to dumbbells in the 2nd or 3rd trimester so you can go around your belly easier, but I enjoy continuing to use a barbell.  I do have to start from the “hang” position (right above the knee) instead of the ground for most of the lifts.  These include deadlifts, power cleans, RDL’s, etc.

However, with snatch, my arms are wide enough that I am able to push my knees out and get into a full squat snatch.  Woohoo!  Yay for getting into the bottom squat position.  This is supposed to be good for labor training.

Back squats are still my fav and continue to feel good for me.  I haven’t squatted over 160# lately, but have been doing more EMOM style squatting workouts as well as bulgarian split squat workouts to maintain single length strength and balance.  Front squats are less favorable for me as they put more pressure on my umbilical hernia (which is how I got my hernia in the first place 2 years ago).

Other:

I have officially switched to only doing 1-arm kettlebell swings.  There simply isn’t room to bring a kettlebell right down the middle of my belly.  As before, I continue to do step-ups instead of box jumps.  I am still doing weighted step-ups and working on the balance (video).  Rowing is still ok for me to do, though sometimes I get a sore knee(s) from having to open up my legs so much in the start position.  This is not the normal path of the knees when I row, so it gets agitated from time to time.  I also can’t lean back into each pull as much as I used to because it requires too much core and is uncomfortable.  Instead I maintain a more upright posture through the the entire rowing movement.  This is less powerful and I row slower, but alas, it’s not forever.  Running is actually feeling a lot less uncomfortable than it was in my 2nd trimester.  Though my belly is a lot bigger (and it’s freakin heavy), I don’t usually have the awful UTI feeling that I did starting at 20 wks.  Before when I’d run I had a very unpleasant feeling like I had to pee constantly but also burning like a UTI.

Now, I still feel like I have to pee, but that awful sensation is gone.  Recently, I do more alternating between walking and running than a steady run.  This is usually because we live in a place where you can’t avoid hills and the hills killllll me.  They used to kill me normally when I’d run, so that’s not so different.  The difference now is with the added weight, my calves are blowing up when I go up hills.  I also suspect this is directly related to my compartment syndrome.  Just fyi, I’ve had surgery on both of my legs for this (all 3 compartments – front of shins, lateral shins, calves).  I believe I was about 18 when I had the surgery and though things changed slightly, I still deal with compartment syndrome while doing certain things in my workouts.  It has just gotten worse with my additional weight during pregnancy.  Pull-ups have also gotten increasingly difficult.  I now have to use a green (Rogue) band to assist me, and even add a thin additional band to the green if I want to do more than 5 pull-ups in a row (strict).  Push-ups are done exclusively on my knees and have been for awhile now.  The amount of core used in push-ups is actually very surprising when  you have a heavy belly hanging from it.

PREGNANCY

On to regular pregnancy stuff!  First, I’ll get into my physical discomforts and problems.

  • A constant one is the swelling of my calves/shins and feet.  This is after I’ve been standing or just on my feet for more than 2 hours at a time.  Again, I feel this is made worse by my compartment syndrome.  My shins get weird muscle bumps in them and feel super tight.  I usually wear a pair of compression socks on the days that I know I’ll be on my feet for awhile.  This definitely helps with the swelling, but doesn’t eliminate it or help with the actual foot pain.
  • I have pretty intense sacrum/SI joint pain and pressure when i get up from sitting down for a bit.  My chiropractor keeps it in check at my weekly visits, but there’s still 25 additional pounds pressing down on that area constantly and I almost always moan and groan and move very slowly when I stand up for a few seconds.  It’s better if I sit on the ground and on one butt cheek than right in the middle where the pressure is most intense.
  • Sleeping positions are getting more difficult as well.  I can’t lay on my stomach or my back.  Laying on my back was actually ok for a long time, but starting at around 30 weeks I started feeling like I was having trouble breathing.  It is recommended that you don’t lay on your back after your first trimester due to the venous return concern (blood returning back to your heart).  The idea is that the added weight puts pressure on the blood trying to get back to the heart and makes it hard to breathe or makes you light headed.  If I lay too long on my left side I get an ache in one of my ribs, and if I lay too long on my right side my hip starts to ache.  All night long it’s a constant battle of shifting pillows to alleviate pressure and switch between left and right side (which may sound quick and easy but takes me at least 20 seconds and a huge effort).  Thankfully, I have the “boppy wedge” pillow. Essentially this is a small wedge-like pillow that supports your bump.  I only use it on my left side.  The right side of my stomach is where the bulk of the baby is and I’m quite obviously uneven when looking straight down.  This is because the baby’s back, butt, and head are up against my left side and all the limbs are on the right (also why I feel all the punching and kicking almost exclusively on the right half of my belly).
  • The biggest pain right now is my umbilical hernia.  I’ve had this hernia (but wasn’t aware it was an actual hernia til I became pregnant) for the past 2 years.  It happened one day during super heavy front squats in 2014.  I chalked it up to a muscle spasm that I had to stretch or push on between sets so I could continue.  In the last 2 years it has flared up once in awhile, but really hasn’t been a big problem.  Since becoming pregnant and growing, it has gotten steadily worse.  It pushes through my belly button so it looks like one side of my belly button is drooping and bulging out.  Now that I know it’s an actual hernia I can push it back in and feel it return (mostly) through the intestinal wall.  It’s pretty gross.  The bigger I get the more pushed out it gets and the more painful it becomes to push back in.  It is also sensitive to just getting brushed up against or hit.  This recently became more of an issue with the kids at the school I work at as they wrap their arms around me often and also have uncontrolled flailing limbs constantly.  I try to push on it when I sneeze as that sometimes hurts too.  My concern is that when I’m pushing in labor it will get worse and burst out through the hole.  I still need to figure out a plan on how to handle that. For the record, since I get asked a lot, what you see in the pics and videos is not my belly button popping out nor my hernia.  It’s my maternity belly button ring that I still have in.  It’s a rod, not a circle, and it sticks out a lot now.
  • Lastly, it is getting harder to breathe.  Not all the time, but often I feel like the baby is crowding my lungs.  I have a short torso and my belly basically resembles a torpedo at this point (sticks straight out, doesn’t go out much on the sides).  I have to sit up really tall with good posture and try to push his little feetsies out of the way.  This often makes me go crazy in my head and almost feels like I’m going to have a panic attack.  Except I can’t escape, because what’s making me freak out is my own body.  It’s an odd feeling and I don’t love it.  I think this is why working out is still my happy place.  When I’m breathing hard in a workout, it’s just normal and I’m not feeling suffocated.

OTHER

Mid October I flew home to WI for about a week.  I took Gio with me of course.  It was much more difficult traveling with him and my belly.  Luckily, as usual, he was an angel

giobomber
Giovanni in his new bomber vest.

traveling. Such a good boy.  He was quiet on all the flights, handled the B.A.R.T., moving walkways, elevators, escalators, and screaming babies like a pro.  He even let me get up and go to the bathroom on my flights without crying or whimpering.  I couldn’t be more proud.  My trip home was not as relaxing as it typically is.  My dad has been recovering well from open heart surgery and had his double hernia repair surgery while I was there.  My mom was recently diagnosed with cancer (spinal tumor) and had to be driven an hour each way to radiation every day.  So there were a lot of medical visits during my stay.  Though it wasn’t my ideal trip home, I was glad I was there to  help as they both really needed someone physically capable of doing things for them.  Both are doing well currently.  The highlight of my trip was getting to be in WI during the fall.  The weather was great, the leaves were gorgeous, and I took every chance I could to head to the trails behind my parents house with the dogs.  This was my first trip home in awhile that I

boonegio
Giovanni & Boone

didn’t go to a gym once so I wanted to make sure I was still getting my workouts in and getting the dogs some exercise (Boone is my parents dog).  They loved it and I loved it.  I made a video of my usual workout routine I did up in the woods.  This is park land that is directly behind my parents house that you can just walk up to.  It opens up into Swan Park which has baseball fields, a sledding hill, picnic areas, playground, skateboard park, etc.  There are a couple different loops you can do and it’s always gorgeous.  Below is the video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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