Phoenix resident Meghan Leatherman was already an avid CrossFitter, so when she discovered she was pregnant, she didn't let that stop her from fitting her WOD in. Instead Leatherman, 33, worked out every day until she went into labor.
She even set a PR, doing a 165-pound back squat in her 40th week of pregnancy. A week earlier, she deadlifted 215 pounds, which was another record for her, she told Today.
"I was still setting personal records, which surprised everyone, including myself," she said.
While it's easy to think that CrossFit and pregnancy can't mix, the truth is, exercise—even intense exercise—is completely safe to do while you have a bun in the oven, as long as you're already healthy and in good shape before you conceive, Jennifer Daif Parker, M.D., told Shape in an earlier post. "If you were doing it prior to getting pregnant, it's great to continue, but I wouldn't recommend starting a new routine that intense if you never did it before during pregnancy."
Raul Artal, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and women's health at St. Louis School of Medicine, agrees, telling Today that pregnancy doesn't have to be a state of confinement; in fact, the only fitness activity banned outright is scuba diving. The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology backs that statement by recommending that women who are not deemed high risk should get at least 30 minutes of activity per day. Not only does exercise help with back pain and sleep troubles (common pregnancy complaints), but it can help you keep excessive baby weight off and even make labor a little bit easier.
That said, it's important to be careful, as hormone changes toward the end of your pregnancy can increase the risk of injury (this is why some late-stage pregnant women have trouble even getting off the couch or out of bed), so talk to your doctor. If you're a healthy, active woman before pregnancy, chances are there's no reason you can't continue to be a healthy, active woman with baby on board.
What do you think of Leatherman working out until giving birth? Comment below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.