Prepping for a weightlifting meet while pregnant

**Before I start this blog I want to make a statement. I decided to compete in the weightlifting meet I had already signed up for knowing that I would be 8 weeks pregnant on meet day. I continued because I had consulted with THREE OBGYNs who gave me the okay to continue training. One of these physicians was the Department head of Obstetrics and Gynecologists at KGH and the top high-risk OBGYN in the area. I did not take an unnecessary risk competing and was under medical supervision. **

I identify as being an athlete. Being a weightlifter is a very important part of my life. I love it. I never DON’T want to train. It is my outlet and something that makes me feel confident and empowered. When Nick and I decided to try for a baby, I was definitely worried. Would I feel like I was sacrificing something? Would I feel regret? I know it might be hard to say but I didn’t want to feel resentful either. I found out I was pregnant with four weeks left before my meet.

I know as a physiotherapist that exercise is safe and encouraged for women that are pregnant. In general, there is no need to modify exercise in the first trimester except potentially intensity if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms. Therefore I thought it was no problem. As long as I was feeling okay, I was going to compete.

Okay now what do I do.

The first thing was letting my coaches know. I work with Lorenzo Robiso for weightlifting and I was working with Greg Sutton from Hybrid Performance Method for nutrition. It’s funny that your coaches end up being the first to know! Unfortunately, I was no longer able to work with Greg as it was against policies to help with nutritional coaching with those that are pregnant. Lorenzo and I just kept an open conversation to make sure that I wasn’t doing too much or not recovering well in training.

My one worry was the snatch. For those not familiar with weightlifting, the snatch is a movement where you move a barbell from the floor to overhead in one movement. You do that by sweeping the bar in, making contact with the barbell at your hip, and then sweep the bar overhead. The barbell contact at the level of the pelvis and it is a power-based movement. When you are pregnant, it is recommended that you avoid contact sports. It is thought that contact sports could cause the implanted embryo to detach leading to miscarriage. The snatch isn’t a contact sport obviously but I was worried.

Thankfully I have friends! One day I was warming up and started snatching. All I kept thinking is “is this okay?”. I would never forgive myself if I lost the pregnancy and thought it was my fault. I instantly started to cry (hello hormones) and called a friend of mine. Within 12 hours I was able to get the opinion of three different OBGYNS. They all said that the baby was further back in my pelvis, there was no risk and my body was used to the sport and my core strength would protect my little poppy seed.

*Insert sigh of relief*

As I prepped, my snatch wasn’t coming together. Between getting over my apprehension to lift and hormonal changes that altered my balance point, I got a little nervous. It’s hard when you have worked so hard and you know that you need to adapt to things outside of your control. I had to step back, remove any expectations from this meet (Nationals is in May and that is when I’m due so needless to say, I’m not competing this year anyway), and just do what I know my body was capable of.

The other thing is that your body goes into protection mode. It was harder to motivate myself to push in training. It was like pregnancy hormones were saying “just chill … move it’s okay but you know, not that hard”. As I write this blog, I’m a week away from competition and going into deload after tomorrow’s workout. I feel ready to deload and ready to compete.

I also feel ready to change focus after this meet. I’ll probably continue to Olympic lift until four months and then assess and change as my body changes. I know that I’ll be jealous of my teammates as they prep for Provincials and Nationals. That’s okay. I have something way more exciting coming my way in the spring!

 

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Christina Prevett

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