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20 Pregnant Women Who Could Kick Your Butt: Why CrossFit Rocks

By Aela Mass |

Photo: Copyright Christopher Nolan @

The idea that pregnant women are fragile and unable to exert themselves doesn’t stand a chance against the women featured in this post. These pregnant CrossFitters defy the old recommendations that expecting women should “take it easy.” These to-be moms are prepping their bodies for their biggest challenge yet: Childbirth. And it’s working. Not only do these women kick butt in CrossFit, but they also kick butt during labor.

When the owner of the CrossFit affiliate my wife coaches at was in labor and began pushing, her doctor told her, “Good, now take a break.” She replied, “No, doc, I got this.” And she pushed her son Gunnar out in 5 minutes. This rockstar mom readily admits that her labor and recovery were easy – and she thanks CrossFit for it.

See her and other pregnant CrossFitters in action, and learn more about CrossFitting while pregnant after the jump. The final photo will BLOW you away! Talk about strong.

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CrossFit During Pregnancy Pregnant CrossFit Moms

Back Squat with Chains

This movement improves core and trunk stability as well as helps perfect squat technique. Having a solid core, especially when pregnant, can reduce back pain.
Photo: CrossFit Threshold

Pregnant CrossFitters require scaling differently because of their changing bodies and their changing center of mass. Always check with a doctor before starting any exercise routine.

All photos have been approved for use by either the person responsible for taking the photo or by the person in the photo. I ask readers to refrain from making negative comments about any of the women featured in this post, as all have made informed decisions about their own fitness plans and routines, and were highly conditioned athletes before pregnancy. Additionally, all have either given birth to healthy babies or have experienced healthy pregnancies thus far. For those who are unfamiliar with CrossFit, it may appear extreme, but each of these athletes exhibits control over her movements and bodies. I recommend any and all women to find their nearest CrossFit affiliate and give it a try! It truly is a sport for everybody.

Thanks to my wife and CrossFit coach, Sara Hill Mass, for her help in explaining the CrossFit movements. Check out her fitness blog!

Click here to read the CrossFit Journal’s “CrossFit Training During Pregnancy and Motherhood: A New Scientific Frontier”

Main Photo: Copyright Christopher Nolan

Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right

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About Aela Mass


Aela Mass

Aela Mass is a lesbian writer and editor living the dream on Martha's Vineyard with her wife, Sara, and their dog, Darla. She miscarried her twins at 17 weeks and has undergone numerous IVF, FET, and IUI cycles. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post among other publications. For more of her work, visit her blog Two Moms Make a Right. Read bio and latest posts → Read Aela's latest posts →

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21 thoughts on “20 Pregnant Women Who Could Kick Your Butt: Why CrossFit Rocks

  1. Edward says:

    At the risk of coming across as “hostile”, I think it’s important to note that many of the exercises shown above seem to directly conflict with the guidelines set by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    Certainly, exercise and weight training during pregnancy can be empowering and rewarding however there should be a point where safety trumps exertion! “Highly Conditioned Athlete” is a fairly vague description but regardless, it is the coach’s responsibility to ensure the safety and efficacy of the exercise regiment.

    I hope the message from this article is taken with caution and not misconstrued by any reader given that some may have no experience with exercise whatsoever. I encourage the reader to learn as much about their coach/trainer before partaking in any exercise regiment regardless of the brand they train under…CrossFit or not.

  2. Natalie Armentor says:

    I have a picture of a mother-to-be flipping tires! Can I send it to you to add to your collection? She wants to share it!

  3. aelahmass says:

    Thanks for weighing in, Edward! It’s true that the guidelines set forth by obstetricians are some of the most conservative “recommendations” out there for pregnant women. Naturally, some of these doctors (along with caring for their patients) are slow to recommend anything because they have such a high rate of potential lawsuits. It’s easy to see why they would be slow as a whole to approve anything that even slightly resembles risk. I don’t hold them at fault for that; their bottom line is most certainly a big deal. But women’s bodies – all of our bodies – are designed to be active, and these movements can be safely performed. Pregnancy is not a disability and as these women prove, it’s also not a hindrance to their fitness. Also, safety is the first and foremost concern of all the women in these pictures. It’s insulting to make the assumption that any of these women would or have put their child at risk. And I have faith in our coaches – CrossFit or otherwise – and the gyms these and other women go to that I have to believe that any professional is most concerned with the safety of all their athletes. And I certainly hope that no readers are left thinking that they should run to their nearest gym and pick up at 65+pound bar and start flipping into handstands. As Evan Saint Clare has said, CrossFit is “not a 0-100mph in 2 seconds sport, it takes work and perseverance.”

  4. Gloria Baker says:

    I am 11 weeks pregnant and have been crossfitting for nearly a year. I would like to add that the guidelines mentioned above are general ones, meant for the average pregnant woman. Crossfitters are not average by any means. Our bodies are used to stress. My OB has been working with me to scale my workouts and she said I’m perfectly healthy and that this is safe for my baby. I haven’t gained any weight yet, which she said is great, and we listened to my baby’s heartbeat yesterday and she said it is a VERY STRONG 165bpm. I think crossfit had something to do with that! She said the main tbing is to listen to your body, it will tell you when you’re doing too much. The guidelines are just that, guidelines! I admire these women and hope to be able to kick butt in the delivery room in six months!

  5. Jess says:

    WOW!! These pictures are amazing!

  6. Mrs.Buck says:

    I absolutely love this post! I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant and prior to conceiving had been crossfitting for almost 2 years – and I’m still going strong. By no means am I an “elite” athlete, but I love Crossfit, and love how it can be scaled to work for anyone at any stage of life! I also love this post because it shows us how women really can be strong and active throughout pregnancy. During a complication free pregnancy, a woman does not suddenly become a delicate flower – I’m completely capable of doing pretty much anything I was doing before getting pregnant. I get frustrated when people tell me – oh don’t lift that box or “let me help you with that” – I can do it! Of course I am careful and always listen to my body, if it doesn’t feel right, I don’t do it, or I modify to make the exercise lighter to accomodate my changing body. I love logging my WODs as “Preg-scribed”!

    Thank you for this awesome post!


  7. Shandra says:

    The one person I know that did this during pregnancy had her baby premature at 34 weeks. She continued to work out like this after her doctor told her to stop. She had previously given birth to a full term baby, but just think that this was a “fluke”. I wish there were some real statistics on cross fit and pregnancy and not just some I did it so can you mantra. I think Babble should step up and remove this. Find me an OB or a midwife that is okay with this and then “maybe” it would be okay to post. I bet you’d have a hard time.

  8. Jessica says:

    I am 17 weeks pregnant with twins. My doctor has told me no weight training and cardio at less than 60% max HR. I was previously moderately active with cardio and weight training, although not Crossfit. I am feeling great, but do feel my fitness level is declining rapidly. I would love to work with a Crossfit trainer and gradually regain some of my fitness level, but I don’t know whether my doctor is just being overly cautious, or whether a twin pregnancy is too high-risk for Crossfit. Is there anyone I can consult with? Thank you!

  9. Meg says:

    I was Crossfitting for over a yeah when I became pregnant. My doc said I could continue as long as I watched my heart rate and breathing and did not get overheated. I am proud to be a pregnant crossfitter and I have had to make huge changes to my WODs on a continual basis. My coach recently had a child and has trained other moms to be before. It’s been a fantastic experience and I feel like my healthy pregnancy is a direct result of my continued participation in CrossFit. Thanks for the great blog post!!!

  10. Shandra says:

    Also, I clicked the link to your wife cross-fit affiliate’s gym. Funny how the baby on the blog there was born at 37 weeks. While I’m glad the baby was healthy, it WAS premature. I’d like to know the actual weeks from these ladies. Just because a baby is born and does not require a NICU stay does not mean they were not premature. Any birth before 39 weeks in risky. Period.

  11. eva says:

    These women look AWESOME! God, I just wish that was me! However, I know of course that it’s not me, and that I can’t do what they’re doing. They are doing what THEY have trained to do, I’m doing what *I* have trained to do. Duh. RE. Edward’s well-meant (I’m sure) warning – I actually think it’s pretty insulting to assume that I, or any woman, wold look at those pictures and heedlessly rush out and start throwing a giant iron bar around, endangering our babies.
    Not only is it incorrect to assume that ALL pregnant women are delicate wall flowers (some feel great, some do feel like crap and have terrible complications) but it’s ALSO wrong to assume that we don’t take into account what works for us.

    Why not assume competence? At LEAST, why not assume competence on behalf of the women who are interested enough to read a post about fitness, and then motivated enough to seek out said fitness, with a trainer..

  12. LK says:

    Just a correction to Shandra’s comment – 37 weeks is considered full term, not premature as you state. While inductions or c-sections prior to 39 weeks can be risky and are not advised unless medically necessary for baby or mom, a baby born naturally at 37 weeks is a full term baby, not premature.

  13. aelahmass says:

    Yes, LK, thank you for pointing that out. Babies at 37 weeks or more are, indeed, considered full term. Had the baby been born at 36 weeks, he would have been considered preterm, which is also very different than premature. Preterm babies arrive before the end of the gestational period; premature babies arrive “before maturity” and have health risks associated with that. There is a very big difference. But regardless, the baby you speak of, Shandra, wasn’t either preterm or premature. I’m sorry you are so upset by this post. But that aside, it is insulting to say, “Find me an OB who is ok with this.” Do you think these women haven’t consulted their doctors and/or that they would do anything to harm their unborn child? As you can see from the thread of comments here by women who are CrossFitters and who did CrossFit during their pregnancies, they are all very aware of their bodies, what they can and can’t do, and they — like all mothers — consult their doctors about their exercise routine, and adjust it accordingly.
    Jessica, regarding starting CrossFit 17 weeks with twins: Regardless of the exercise regime, I’d suggest not making a drastic change during pregnancy. If you’re active now, keep doing what you’re doing unless or until your doctor says otherwise, and always remember to scale your workouts. I’d wait to start CrossFit, but I would wholeheartedly recommend checking out your nearest CrossFit affiliate after your babies arrive! Best of luck!
    To all the rest of you: Thanks so much for the love! I’m so glad you enjoy this post and I’m so glad you do what you do!!

  14. Jess says:

    Well done post Aela!
    Shandra – I am the owner of CCCF who had her son at 37 weeks and he was considered full term and healthy. 2 of the DR’s at the practice I went to predicted that I would deliver between 37-39 weeks due to the size of the baby and my size (I am only 5 feet tall) and the fact my mother had all her children before her due date. I truly believe being active in some way during pregnancy is crucial (as long as you’re not on bed rest). My best friend was pregnant with twins with a 2 year old at home at the same time I was pregnant with my son. My workouts looked easy compared to watching her run around after her daughter. My DR was very supportive during my pregnancy and when my son was born healthy after 2 pushes he said “more women would have births like this if they just exercised”.

  15. Shannon Bradley-Colleary says:

    My placenta failed at 34 weeks and my baby came in premature and almost died in the womb most likely thanks to the Pregnant Yoga class I took. When I see those pictures above it just seems insane. Why do we have to be pregnant super heroes. Isn’t pregnant enough?

  16. Tatiana says:

    These women are incredible. I have been doing cross fit, boxing and coaching ice hockey since I got pregnant. I got the thumbs up and haven’t stopped. It makes me feel good about myself and just feel healthy ad happy :) keep it up gals.

  17. Nicole says:

    I am an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and I am 30 weeks pregnant. Although I am NOT a cross-fitter, I loved this post! Even though I have been a trainer and group fitness instructor much longer than I have been pregnant, I have been shocked at people’s negative reactions to my on-going fitness efforts. I still teach, I still train, and I still feel great.
    I think the message here (and one I think is getting lost in criticisms) is that pregnant women should feel empowered to do whatever they feel comfortable with in their own pregnancies. Of course, discuss this with your doctor … of course, listen to our own body – but DO NOT listen to every lay person out there telling personal horror stories, or sharing unsolicited advice.
    I did not take this article as an advertisement for Cross Fit, but instead as a celebration of athletes remaining athletes throughout their pregnancies. You guys should have seen the special on pregnant rock climbers! :) It didn’t make me want to rock climb… but it did make me excited about being pregnant and maintaining my own level of fitness.

  18. I. G. says:

    In response to the mother who delivered her baby preterm after a Yoga class (at first, English is not my mother tongue, I apologize for any flaws in this text :-) ). I am sorry to hear about your experience and I hope your baby is fine now! I think the problem here is that in such situations we feel we need to search for answers. If a woman had gone into preterm labour after a stressful car-ride she would most likely advise against driving late in pregnancy. If a woman ate at a certain restaurant she would most likely blame the food there. Maybe some activities might trigger a preterm birth to happen somewhat earlier than it would anyway but I do not think they are the cause (unless something that is definitely contra-indicated in pregnancy like getting punched in the stomach etc.). All depends on listening to your body! “You” will never know how “my” body feels while performing a certain exercise (pregnant or not), so I think the best advice that can be given to a pregnant women is to do “a little less than she thinks she could handle” and respect her limits (she herself is the only one who can define those). If a pregnant woman doesn´t feel comfortable when she performs any exercise – that is just fine, but don´t judge what others think is right for THEM!
    Thank you for the article and best wishes to all the super fit ladies presented here!

  19. Sharon says:

    I am currently 39 weeks and I have crossfitted, 3x’s a week, for my entire pregnancy and have had no issues, my midwife approved my crossfit activity and never once suggested I change my style of working out. It’s about listening to your body and making adjustments as needed. I am not suggesting crossfit is for every pregnant woman but when your body is used to working out hard, you can continue through pregnancy. I had been crossfitting for about 1.5 years prior to pregnancy and I believe crossfit has made my pregnancy very comfortable and free of the typical pregnancy aliments. I have gained minimal weight and have been able to avoid many pregnancy symptoms.

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