I tried to stay in the gym 3-4 times per week in my second trimester. At this point, the baby news was public so I started slowly modifying workouts. Thanks to Coach Jeff A.’s interest in pregnancy, he was a huge help early on in determining when and what to modify! Since I usually work out during the evening classes when he coaches, he also made sure to touch base with me regularly about exercises to determine how I was feeling and if anything was making me uncomfortable. I started replacing burpees with pregnant burpees (without touching your chest to the ground, just legs out and back) as soon as my belly started to stick out a little. I also replaced my usual 24” box jumps with 20” box jumps because my balance was changing pretty significantly…I’ve got a nice little scar on my shin from my last encounter with the 24” box! I eventually subbed more back extensions on the GHD for situps or any ab work that required I lay flat on my back (knees 2 elbows/toes 2 bar were still fine). With the increased blood supply in my body, going upside down was a no-go. On days when we would work on handstand pushups, I would just practice another skill or press instead. I also gradually replaced double unders in WODs with singles as my belly grew and became more uncomfortable with a lot of bouncing, but this wasn’t until pretty late in my second trimester.
Around 15 to 16 weeks, I noticed that I started getting REALLY sore hips! They were sore when I’d wake up in the morning because I was trying to train myself to only sleep on my side, they were sore all day from staying on my feet at work, they were sore from my workouts and just felt like they weren’t recovering well. Pretty much sore all the time! I tried to incorporate more foam rolling, time on a lacrosse ball, and even my first prenatal massage to alleviate some of the stiffness/soreness. In the end, I think it was primarily the physical changes going on in that part of my body that were making me uncomfortable. Increasing my fish oil intake (I take the Stronger Faster Healthier liquid fish oil that we carry at the gym,which is actually pretty tasty and doesn’t give you fishy-smelling burps for the rest of the day like some other brands) and utilizing a lot of mobility work really helped to get over the hump and keep moving. Hamstring stretches and the yoga pose ‘pigeon’ definitely helped to alleviate the soreness. (**I love the stretch where you loop a resistance band around the vertical base of pull-up bar and pull the end through at hip level, then slip one leg through the open loop, and move it up to your hip crease. Facing away from the pull-up rig, walk out to put tension on the band and fold forward until your hands touch the ground, keeping that leg inside the band straight. With a little movement side to side, front to back, etc., you can get some good post-WOD hamstring/hip mobility. This one saved my life!)
By 17 weeks I was feeling regular fetal movement. At first, it just felt like bubbles low in my belly, almost like I had really bad gas…without the gas. At 18 weeks, my car was getting a few repairs so I decided to ride our Honda Ruckus scooter to work one afternoon. On my way home that evening, a woman pulled out of a parking lot without looking both ways and hit me. Driving a scooter around Houston, Texas requires some extreme defensive driving skills and LOTS of eye contact with other drivers! Luckily, I was already watching her and quickly realized that she wasn’t going to look my way before pulling out, so I was already laying on the brakes and horn. The scooter only goes about 35 mph (downhill with the wind at your back!), and I was slowing down significantly by the time we actually made contact, so I managed to jump away from the impact and land on my hands and knees. The paramedics came and checked me out; other than a higher than normal blood pressure, I was fine but I was worried about making sure the baby was fine as well. Jeff immediately took me to the Emergency Room at Texas Woman’s for some blood work, emergency ultrasound, etc. I felt the baby moving on the way to the hospital, so I was a little reassured. He was a saint and focused all his energy on keeping me calm and taking deep breaths! I knew he was worried, but given his Special Ops background, he excels at a time of crisis! During the ultrasound, the technician got a great shot of the baby’s face and he or she stuck a tongue right out at us! Everything checked out just fine and I think we learned a great deal about this little one’s personality throughout this whole ordeal! Needless to say, the scooter wreck put my workouts on the back burner for a couple weeks. I only worked out twice the week of the accident (obviously prior to the wreck!) and twice in the following two weeks because I came down with a cold (I’m convinced that my body was devoting so much energy to recovering from my relatively minor scooter wreck injuries that I immediately got sick). By week 22, I was back on my regular 3-4 times per week workout schedule and had a total weight gain of 15 lbs.
By the end of my second trimester, I modified my back squat from max efforts to lower weights and increased sets/reps, i.e. I would do a 5×5 while the class would be doing 5×3 or 3×5. I dropped down to 75# (about 50% of my pre-pregnancy max) and took a wider squat stance. I squatted slowly and focused on my form, especially keeping my knees out on the way down and up. My growing belly also started to get in the way of power cleans and snatches, basically anything that required the bar to track against my body all the way up. I really like power cleans, so I kept trying to do barbell work for as long as possible. Finally, Husband Jeff and Coach Jeff A. had an intervention with me and made me realize that I was developing some terrible habits with my form (reverse curls like whoa!) and that it would be best to modify with dumbbells until I’m back in the swing of things, post-baby.
Another important thing to note is core body temperature. At this point, I was working out in the Houston heat, which hit with a vengeance at about 108 in the first couple official weeks of summer. I had consulted some other CrossFit pregnancy blogs as well as some resources on training pregnant athletes and came across the idea of using a rectal thermometer to monitor your core body temperature during workouts. Basically, my body can sweat and control its own temperature, but the baby’s body doesn’t have that same ability and can overheat if my temperature were to get too high for too long. I talked things over with one of our members who is an OB and has been a great resource to bounce ideas off of. He seemed to think that would be a little unnecessary since I already had decent body awareness. I decided not to monitor things obsessively and, instead, make sure I was staying CRAZY hydrated (even more than my typical 1-1.5 gallons per day) before my workouts, keep an eye on how much I was sweating/panting during a workout, and take rest breaks/water breaks as needed without worrying about the clock ticking on and everyone else working around me.
All in all, my second trimester was probably the easiest, barring the several week scooter wreck and sickness hiatus, which seemed to last forever at the time. I didn’t have to deal with the fatigue or nausea of my first trimester and my belly hadn’t grown too large yet to significantly inhibit my movement. It also really helped that people finally knew I was pregnant, so I was much more comfortable scaling things or adjusting my movements without fear that someone would notice and figure things out before I wanted them to! I had also been working out while pregnant for some time, and was getting more and more comfortable gauging my levels of exertion and knowing that I wasn’t doing anything that was going to harm this baby. I became even more convinced that, just because I was pregnant, I wasn’t all of a sudden fragile or unable to work at all. After all, this process was designed to work with our earliest ancestors who didn’t have the (questionable) luxury of doing 9-5 work at a computer desk but were forced to hunt and gather, work the fields, etc. The female body is quite fascinating and really does know what it’s doing and how to provide everything I need in addition to what this baby needs!