Ballet and Modern Dance OK the First Trimester?

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,
I am a dancer (ballet and modern dance) and dance teacher. I am supposed to be performing when I will be about 10 weeks pregnant. I have taken the last few weeks off and am getting ready to start working out again.

I just found out I am about 3 weeks pregnant. Do you know anything about dancing during pregnancy? There's alot of jumping, leaping, and turning involved, as well as falling to the floor and lifting others. There are times when I can slow down and pace myself during the dances so I'm not going full out all for an hour straight (that's the length of the performance). What do you think?

Thanks.

ANSWER

Dance away!
You are a conditioned athlete continuing a routine your body is well adjusted to. What worries most physicians is when a pregnant woman decides to take a new sport or training routine because she is pregnant. The jumps, leaps and bounds are nothing for your body and you should be able to continue dancing until you decide it just doesn't feel comfortable anymore.

On a personal note, I was running stadium steps and putting in competitive times against non-pregnant women in the 30-, 60-, and 100-meter dash while four and five months pregnant. With the permission of my OB/GYN, I was able to continue an intensive routine until I felt the need to scale down.

What you need to be most concerned with is your inner core temperature. You may find a lot of information on this site about this very topic. Fitness for pregnant moms will talk about drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest and not exceeding 140 beats per minute but the single most important issue while training is your inner core temperature.

By checking your inner core temperate during your hour-long routine, you will be able to ensure you are not overheating. Because you are in such great condition, you will be less aware of how hard you are working and less aware of how hot you've become -- all the more reason to check your inner -- not outer -- heat. Rectal thermometer is the best way to be sure you do not go over 101 degrees.

However, be sure that you get permission from your doctor. Because we do not know the full extent of your medical history, it is always wise to speak with your OB/GYN first. Good luck!

You'll be fabulous!

-- Alex

Alexandra Allred

Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.

Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!