Another movement with mixed reviews is performing handstand push-ups while pregnant.
I have looked into it a lot and always find conflicting theories. None of which seem all that scientific, but I guess that is the way it goes with pregnancy as it is deemed unethical to test on pregnant women, for obvious reasons.
The main point against handstand push-ups (HSPU’s) I found were:
- Risk of falling
- Elevated blood volume so higher risk of dizzy spells and fainting
- Too much abdominal pressure
- Risk of the cord wrapping around the babies neck
- Risk in the first trimester as attachment of the embryo is still occurring.
Mainly what I read from CrossFitters was to carry on if you have done them in the past and are competent getting up and down from the wall safely and if they feel ok. Fine, I am confident kicking up and coming down from a wall (free standing handstands/handstand walking is a completely different ball game for me. ALWAYS end up flat on my back no matter how many time I learn to bail out correctly!)
(13+4 weeks. 2 strict & 2 kipping)
They have always been one of my strengths and a movement I really enjoyed so I was desperate to keep them in my workouts.
The first trimester I was gutted. They made me feel shit, just one would send my head and stomach spinning. Even though the first trimester was basically a write off anyway, I probably did a total of 5 HSPU in 10 weeks.
By week 11 I was feeling better; more in control of my body, less/no nausea, less fatigue so clearer head (baby brain is REAL!! And completely different to tired brain fog!).
I decided to give HSPU another go. I had learnt about the benefits of inversions in yoga and figured aside from the pressing action, which is really not much different to a strict/push press, HSPU must carry some of the same benefits.
Here are some of the benefits I found while researching:
From Geeta Iyengar’s Yoga: a Gem for Women and David Coulter’s Anatomy of Hatha Yoga.
- Ensures proper blood circulation to the uterus
- Creates space in the pelvic cavity for the baby to move around
- Relieves venous pressure in the legs, which may relieve and prevent varicose veins
- Promotes hormonal balance by increasing blood flow to the head and neck. This is especially good for the thyroid gland, as a deficiency in thyroid hormone can lead to miscarriage.
As far as the chord being wrapped around the babies neck; as many as 25-40% of babies are born with the chord wrapped around the neck. One of the first thing the midwife will do once the head is out is to check the chord is free, and if not they will slip a finger under and pull it back over the head. Oxygen is supplied from the umbilical chord inside the womb not through the trachea.
I completed a workout today (13+4 weeks) which included 30 HSPU’s. I had to break them up into 3 sets of 10 as they are tougher now I’m heavier, but otherwise felt good and resting on my head was quite refreshing! The only alteration I am making is to go a little wider with my knees on the kip to accommodate an ever growing bump.
I will keep updating this post as I progress through my pregnancy as things may change, but for now handstand push-ups are back in 😀