Washingtonian Magazine Article    October 9 2013

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“DT”
Five rounds for time of:
155 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
155 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
155 pound Push jerk, 6 reps

Nicole back squatting at 7 months pregnant.

Nicole back squatting at 7 months pregnant.

Washingtonian Article

A few weeks ago Nicole was interviewed by Washingtonian Magazine about CrossFit and pregnancy.

The article – CrossFit for Pregnant Women—Safe or Reckless? – examined the controversial topic that is pregnant women who choose to do CrossFit.

The article also touched on the recent online uproar caused when Lea-Ann Ellison, CrossFitter and 33-weeks pregnant, posted a picture of herself lifting weights.  The article caught the attention of quite a few athletes at the shop and media outlets from Twitter to Redbook to ABC News had something to say about it.  Ellison received hundreds of comments on the article as well as to her personal Facebook page.  The nature of the comments spanned everything from kuddos and praise to scathing and angry.  It appeared everyone had an opinion on what this woman should or should not be doing during her pregnancy.

Last week, CrossFit’s Facebook page linked to the Washingtonian article and posted it with a picture of Nicole working out at 8 months pregnant.  The post received over 400 comments, again both positive and negative.  You can see the post and comments on the CrossFit Facebook page.  Scroll down to October 5th.

What’s your take?  Post to comments.

  • Diana

    Too many thoughts are running through my mind . . . I loved Nicole’s comment about it being socially acceptable for a pregnant woman to gorge herself at McDonald’s, but god forbid if she picked up a barbell. What is it about our society that makes it okay to make judgements about women’s bodies the way that we do? Would there even be a controversy if men were the ones who got pregnant? Why all the hate about a friggin’ workout? Honestly, I think there are some misconceptions about pregnancy . . . one being that pregnant women are automatically fragile. Giving birth is the one of the most bad-ass things that women can do . . . okay, I think I’m done with my stream of consciousness.

  • Nicole S

    At the 5:30am class yesterday, your time for the 2nd 2012 Regional event was on the whiteboard, Nicole. No one voiced any questions about the fact you had a time on the board and many of us just assumed it was because you’d come in last night or really early this morning to do it. My take on all the negative feedback is that it’s sexism dressed up as concern. Some people can’t handle the idea that a woman can be strong in mind and body… AND create life?! That’s too much power for one person. I suspect one reason the CrossFit community is so awesome in encouraging strong women is because everyone shows up to voluntarily get their asses kicked every day. There’s no room for sexism when you’re all equally humbled by your limitations, and amazed by the accomplishments we see from men and women every day in the shop — like someone doing yesterday’s workout Rx in 15 minutes less than a week after having a baby. ;)

  • Maggie F

    I had a coworker ride her bike to work every day until the day she gave birth. That raised a few eyebrows! I feel like as long as your medical team supports, you feel comfortable, and your partner is on board (it’s their baby too!) more power to you. Congrats again, Nicole!

  • Hank

    I’m not dumb enough to comment on what women–especially pregnant women–should do with their bodies. However, I did want to say that’s an awesome picture of Nicole backsquatting ; )

  • emolter

    I agree with Maggie and Hank. Men don’t need to be commenting on what a pregnant woman should be doing during her pregnancy and as long as the medical team, spouse, and mama are comfortable and supportive then more power to the crossfitting mama! Great baby pics, too. Such a cute little girl. I can’t wait to meet her.

  • Kate C.

    The winter I was pregnant, we had EPIC snow. One day, I was shoveling snow for about 20 minutes until I started feeling pulling in my belly, so I stopped. That’s it – it didn’t feel good or right, so I stopped doing it. I don’t get why some people assume that it’s any different doing a WOD, or jogging, or whatever. When you’re pregnant and something starts to not feel good or right, you tone it down. It seems ridiculous to assume that a preggo CrossFitter wouldn’t show the same common sense as any other preggo woman.

    I watched Nicole work out during the floodraiser last month, and I couldn’t have been more impressed!

  • Mango

    Seriously, a hundred years ago women didn’t stop working in the fields when they were pregnant. They worked until they gave birth, literally. With the advent of incredible medical technology we have become pussified when it comes to pregnancy. If a woman’s doctor has legitimate medical concerns for the mother or baby, they will let her know and express appropriate limitations. Until then, it’s up to the woman to listen to her own body to tell her what’s safe and comfortable. I think our culture doesn’t give women the benefit of the doubt to do just that.

  • lisa p

    I think all of this hand wringing is just another example of institutionalized misogyny. And now I’m going to go through and “like” every single comment on this post.

  • http://www.crossfitroots.com Nicole Christensen

    HA! Well I wonder who pulled that prank. No workouts for me. Definitely have not worked out since the day we went to the hospital. There’s something that would probably surprise a lot of people – I don’t plan to workout for six weeks postpartum (ok walks don’t count). I did my research and made the best decision for me – having read about folks not giving their body enough time to recover and me wanting to take this time for me, kid, and family – it was a no-brainer decision. And, it’s what my doc told me to do.

    It’s another example of each women doing what’s right for them and listening to their body (and their heart) to guide their decisions. And sometimes that decision is not to workout.

    I never expected so much backlash from CrossFitting pregnant but I also think it’s hard for people to understand and trust in someone else’s ability to listen to their body, know their limits, and scale back when needed – especially when there is a child involved.

    — So, to all the internet haters out there…dude, I got this…don’t worry:). –

  • Guest

    But they worked in the fields out of necessity, not just because they wanted to. Also, a hundred years ago there were far more babies (and mothers) that died.

  • Nicole S

    My suspicion is a lot of those deaths were due to a total lack of modern prenatal and delivery care. The past 100 years have resulted in incredible medical advances that increase the odds of babies getting to full-term and babies and mothers surviving birth. The fact that women have become more sedentary during pregnancy in that time due to our modern lifestyle doesn’t mean being sedentary is the cause of lower death rates.

  • Alyssa

    Considering I’m 8 months pregnant and still doing crossfit, and have yet to go into preterm labor or have a miscarriage, I think it’s safe to say crossfit is OK. That and why should anyone who isn’t the child’s parents get so angry at a pregnant woman working out? I don’t quite understand the logic behind this.

  • Emily Moore

    Becoming pregnant, being pregnant, and giving birth are physiological in origin, while also being embedded within social constructs that structure what it means to be pregnant, be a mom, have a baby, etc. in our culture. These structures shift over time…just look at breastfeeding for example. Once it was a common practice (e.g., for the wealthy) to have a wet nurse – now not so common. Later, breastfeeding was considered less safe for your baby than using formula (remember “Better Living Through Chemistry”?), and now breastfeeding is increasing in popularity again. Some might argue this is linked solely to progress of science, but the inaction of science is also a social construct…the rules change the culture shifts perspectives. (Personally, I think it has a lot to do with perceptions of the wealthy, but that’s a different discussion.)

    My read on the freak out about Crossfitting pregnant women is just that people are expressing a disconnect between what they perceived to be a cultural norm (treating pregnant women’s bodies very delicately) and the image of Nicole (and others) being badass mommies. That disconnect does exist. We’re emerging from a period in which the envisioned “ideal” of American pregnancy (and before that, an English pregnancy, I think) involved rest and relaxation – or at least minimal manual labor. The key point, though, is we’re *emerging* from this, into something new (or at least, different). At some point, the norm will be to have some seriously fit mothers, but these changes don’t happen overnight. And in 20 or 30 years, it will change again…

  • Killer

    I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business. Pregnant women make choices in everything they do, every day. Do we eat that bag of McDonalds (great point, Nicole), do we go skiing (plenty of women do), do we walk down the street (yes, you can even fall walking down the street), do we drive, do we go jogging, and do we have a glass of wine (you should see the looks when you choose, yes)? Choices. Education is all you need to make these choices. Let’s all trust one another to make our own choices.

  • Kelly W

    I am baffled that so many people feel they have the right to comment on a woman’s behavior once she is pregnant. I agree with Lisa P that this is “another example of institutionalized misogyny”. Every woman is in charge of her own body, pregnant or not.