Today I am 14 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Earlier this week, we had our second prenatal appointment, where we heard the baby’s heart beating at a healthy 140 beats per minute. Although our families and closest friends already know, I didn’t want to make the news more public until we’d successfully passed the 14 week milestone; hence the somewhat late start to this blog.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I did what every mom-to-be does nowadays: I scoured the internet for information about pregnancy. In particular, I was interested to know about any special dietary and exercise considerations. For the past five years, I have been doing some fairly intense physical training, including CrossFit, trail running, mountain snowshoeing, yacht racing, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and training for a military pentathlon. I have also been following the Paleo Diet to various degrees (sometimes modified; sometimes very strictly) for almost two years. I am as fit, healthy and happy as one could ever ask to be, and I credit my current diet and exercise routine for helping me to have such a high quality of life.
But back to the internet… I was curious to see what the experts said I could and couldn’t do during my pregnancy — and I really didn’t like what I found! Here are some examples of conventional pregnancy diet and fitness recommendations:
– Increase your carbohydrate intake
– Don’t bench press more than 40 lbs
– Don’t squat below parallel
– Don’t let your heart rate get beyond 140 beats per minute
– Don’t lie on your back after the first trimester
– Eat lots of grains
– Eat constantly throughout the day to make sure the baby is always supplied with nutrients
Now, to the uninitiated, this might all sound very logical, but if you know anything about the Paleo/CrossFit lifestyle, you will know that this advice just doesn’t compute. Over the course of the next six months, I will talk about some of the common pregnancy guidelines I have encountered, including the list above, and why I have chosen a different path for my journey. I will also share my successes, challenges and experiences, both from the early weeks, and as my pregnancy progresses. Of course, I am not a medical professional, so none of what I say constitutes professional advice, but please feel free to use my discourse as a launching point for your own research.
There really isn’t a ton of information out there about The Paleo Diet and CrossFit during pregnancy. Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson have all briefly addressed The Paleo Diet and pregnancy, and I have found one blog and some forum posts here and there, so I wanted to add my voice to the chorus to help other women who may be struggling between following “doctor’s orders” and following their instincts. I hope you find this useful and informative, and at times, entertaining. If you ever have questions about the topics I discuss, feel free to post in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them, or to direct you to more appropriate resources.