KATY, Texas – Arms are lifting, legs are jumping, and mothers-to-be are moving at a CrossFit gym in Katy.
CrossFit is one of the most popular and intense workout regimens in the world -- and your first question may be: Should expectant moms be exercising in such demanding fashion?
"I'm making it a priority," said Dr. Megan Watier, who is 35 weeks pregnant.
Watier is expecting baby number two in May. With her first pregnancy, which produced her daughter Quinn, she worked out almost to the point of delivery and says the exercise made a difference before and after.
"Pregnancy was amazing, labor and delivery was amazing, recovery was even better," Watier said.
In fact, several years ago, coaches here at CrossFit Katy noticed they had several women who worked out through their pregnancies. All those moms produced healthy babies, and began something of a trend.
"The more that we saw those women come in and set an example of how to do it right and do it smart," said coach Brittani Briner Morales, herself a mother of two, "the more that you saw women being more comfortable with it."
Studies show the benefits are many for women who exercise during pregnancy.
Cathy Rude has been a certified and licensed midwife for 27 years. In that time, she has delivered more than 1,200 babies. She and most other health care professionals support exercise during pregnancy -- if the mother is healthy enough and gets the green light from her doctor. But mom has to remember to stay focused and not overdo it.
"It's very important if you are going to work out that you are using proper form, even more so than other times," Rude said. "Because of the relaxin hormone that's going to let everything get looser. The ligaments and the joints and everything are looser in pregnancy to enable everything to stretch so the baby comes out."
Advice to guide mothers-to-be through the healthiest pregnancy possible.
"I'm just very conscious of movements that encourage strength for labor and delivery more than anything," Watier said. "I'm not worried about that six-pack anymore."
Medical professionals say what kind of exercise and the level of intensity should be considered on a case-by-case basis. But barring any major complications if a woman was participating in a particular form of exercise before getting pregnant she should be able to continue that exercise with modifications.