CrossFit gaining popularity among pregnant women, stirring up new debate

Exercise is generally deemed safe, but some women are raising eyebrows with their decision to lift weights during pregnancy
November 6, 2013 10:42:57 AM PST
Pregnant women working out is nothing new -- maybe walking, hitting the gym, even running. But a growing trend involving intense exercise takes it to a whole new level, and it's stirring up a whole new debate.

Jennifer Timmins is killing it in CrossFit with dead lifts, pull-ups and kettle ball swings. And yes, she has a baby bump. She's due in December.

"Absolutely it pushes your body," she said.

A life-long athlete, Timmins has been doing CrossFit for two and a half years and can't imagine not doing it during her first pregnancy. She's still lifting up to 65 pounds, and makes it look easy.

"She's more determined than anyone, she's here everyday, and she's just constantly, constantly, constantly pushing herself," Covenant CrossFit owner Sean Mata said.

The rise in expectant mothers performing these intense workouts has sparked a lot of debate. Mom-to-be Lee-Ann Ellison felt a major burn when she posed for these pictures in a national magazine, doing overhead squats just weeks before giving birth. Angry comments and criticism flooded the web.

Exercise is generally deemed safe, and even encouraged during pregnancy. But some think CrossFit is overdoing it.

Timmins says CrossFit is not for everybody. She has scaled back on her intensity, has had an easy pregnancy thus far, and most importantly, she says she listens to her body.

"If it wasn't good for my baby, I wouldn't do it," she said. "I think a lot of people who has something negative to say don't quite understand because they've never been that active themselves. And if they had, maybe they'd have a little more understanding."

And this Houston mom to be is convinced that all these workouts will have an impact on her son.

"I'm bringing an athlete here," Timmins said jokingly.

The American College of OB-GYNs recommends exercise during pregnancy, but you shouldn't start a new workout. They say it's all about knowing your own body and your own limits.

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