Hayley has been a competitive CrossFitter in the UK for a few years now. It was a blessing in disguise when she found out she was pregnant. Hayley reached out to BirthFIT because she had a few goals in mind. She wanted a way of training that would allow her to continue to CrossFit safely and effectively; she wanted to integrate more mobility and activations to keep her motor patterns dialed in and prevent back pain, and she wanted to prepare for labor and delivery as best she could.
Hayley's Pregnancy Journey
If you had told me 18 months ago that I would now be a Mum, I would have probably fallen over laughing right in front of you! I had never imagined myself with a baby, let alone being pregnant!! However; while competing at the Nordic Showdown in Sweden last October, I found out I was pregnant! I wasn’t performing as I normally would and I didn’t know why, so I decided to do a pregnancy test… And there it was, right in front of me, I was pregnant!
Being one of the top female CrossFit competitors in the UK, I panicked slightly! I love competing, training, lifting… it’s a major part of my life and for the last 4-5 years I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am (or was)!
During my first trimester I trained as normal and just eased back on things that didn’t feel just right. Then around week 14/15 I decided I needed some real structure to what I was doing. I wanted to make sure that I was still getting the most out of my training, without putting baby at any sort of risk. I welcomed Dr. Lindsey Mathews, DC from BirthFit on board as my coach, this is possibly the best decision I have made since finding out I was pregnant. I had structure. I had support from an experienced coach. I could tell Lindsey how I was feeling and she would tailor my training to what I needed at any specific point to my specific needs.
Pregnancy is not an excuse to eat what you want and become lazy, yes some women have a hard time during their pregnancy, but luckily I wasn’t one of them and I think continuing with my routine is one of the reasons why! If you feel fit and well, there is no reason for you not to carry on with the same fitness regime that you did before you were pregnant. This applies to everyone, whether you exercise just to stay fit, or if you are an athlete.
There is one piece of advice I can give to any lady that is expecting a baby… If it doesn’t feel right, stop. Just don’t do it! Change the movement, slow down or adjust the rep scheme. For example, around 18 weeks, handstand push-ups became uncomfortable for me, so I stopped doing them… I tried them again a few weeks later and they felt fine again, so they went back into my training. Sometimes it’s just trial and error.
I continued to train (pretty hard) throughout my pregnancy. I hit a lot of PB/PR’s while I was pregnant, not because I was trying to, but because it felt good, so I kept going! It made me feel good and helped me to enjoy my pregnancy.
At 23 weeks pregnant I took part in a partner competition at a local CrossFit, I matched my 1RM squat clean with 205lbs! I was so so happy to hit this! I also completed Isabel RX and easily completed workouts with toes to bar, box jumps, shoulder to overhead, wallballs and so on! I didn’t feel out of place, I enjoyed myself and I felt like I was still able to be competitive! Competition is one of the main things I missed while I was pregnant!
At 32 weeks pregnant I travelled from the UK to LA for 2 weeks to train with Samantha Briggs and Lindsey Valenzuela and also to meet the amazing Lindsey Mathews of BirthFit. While there I hit a 255lb front squat, a 400lb deadlift from a 2” deficit, and I could still perform muscle ups! I was also doing barbell complexes with 175lb plus! I thought that if I could still do all this while I was 32 weeks pregnant, what would I be able to achieve once I had my baby! I became hungrier and hungrier to explore what my full potential really was!
I continued to train all the way to the end of my pregnancy with expert guidance from Lindsey (BirthFIT) and even performed a muscle up at 35 weeks!
So the birth… my waters broke on the 15th June, 10 days before my due date! I had no contractions and continued my day as normal. My partner works away in Kenya and wasn’t due back until the 18th June! I had to call him and ask him to try to get home a.s.a.p… I really didn’t expect him to be able to get back in time to see the birth of our first child. Luckily my Mum was on hand to support me until the baby arrived!
As my waters had broken, due to risk of infection, I had 24 hours to be in active labor before the hospital would have to induce me. By 5pm I still had no contractions and I really wanted to have a natural birth (without being induced), so I emailed Lindsey and asked her what to do. SQUAT!! So, I thought, Karen has a lot of squats in it…! My Mum and I performed Karen; RX at 7pm hoping this would start my contractions. I finished in 9:59 (my aim was under 10 minutes)!!!! At 8pm they started! Wahoooo! It worked!!
Meanwhile, my partners company had paid for a private plane to take him from the desert in Kenya where he was working to Nairobi airport so he could catch a flight home that evening! He was due to land back in the UK at 8:20am Monday morning!
At first the contractions were fairly easy and I managed them without a problem. They started to get more intense at around 2am I decided to go to see how far along I was. I was 2cm dilated. When we got home I sat in my big comfy chair and snoozed until 6:30am, I was having contractions while snoozing around every 4 minutes, but I made myself stay there with my eyes shut! At 6:30am I took some paracetamol and I asked my Mum to run me a bath, I was in the bath until 8am when I said I really thought it was time to go to the hospital!
In the car my contractions changed and I wanted to push! A little bit worrying! Ha ha!
I practically ran through the hospital doors and into the delivery ward at 8:30am, the midwife checked me and I was fully dilated! (Relief)! I had written a birth plan explaining exactly what I wanted. My midwife was fantastic and followed it just as I wanted! I had put that I wanted a water birth, but I thought I was too far-gone to be able to have one… However, my midwife asked if she could run it in time, would I like to move into the pool… I said yes! Paddy arrived in the room at about 9:20am; I had accepted that he probably wasn't going to make it back, so that was a major boost for me!
At 9:30am, the midwife asked if I wanted to get in the pool, which I did, so I got off the bed and we moved to the pool room… 3 pushes later at 9:45, Pippa arrived :) weighing 6lbs 10.5oz and every bit as perfect as I had hoped!
I had 1 tiny stitch and that was that! I was back at home with Paddy and Pippa by 9pm that evening!
I truly believe that my amazing experience of a pretty easy pregnancy and an amazing labor was down to the fact that I kept myself active, fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy. I also have to thank Dr. Lindsey Mathews, DC (BirthFIT) massively for her expert advice and experience.
I am now nearly 4 weeks post partum and back training, not to the level I was before, but we are getting there! This is the time to take things steady and rebuild the machine slowly and carefully! I am loving being a Mummy; she has changed my life completely for the better!
Keep training ladies! Its good for the mind, the body, the soul… But most of all, you as a person and the little person growing inside of you!
Regular or Banded Good mornings
Hayley’s Wall Ball Mania:
20 Wall Balls
20 Wall Balls
20 Wall Balls
20 Wall Balls
20 Wall Balls
- Pick a weight for the ball that you can do 10 reps in a row with no problem.
- Shoot for a 9’ target.
- Be sure to hit the bottom of a squat each rep.