Can I Dance During Pregnancy?

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,
I am about 4 weeks pregnant and am a Polynesian dancer. I have danced for about 3 years now and we practice or perform at least 1 week, but for the past 2 weeks we have been practicing every day for an upcoming event. My group does a lot of Tahitian dancing, which involves a lot of fast hip motion. Is it still safe for me to do this, or is it too much shaking or stress on the baby? Thanks!

ANSWER

Is it too much shaking or stress on the baby?

Absolutely not! At four weeks, you are perfectly safe and can hip-hop, dance away, rocking that baby to sleep. What a great way to stay in shape.It is low-impact on the joints and while you may have to reduce the amount of hip swing you have, there is no reason you cannot continue to dance throughout your pregnancy. Your major concern should be heat. Specifically, inner core temperature.

While you and your group continue to practice, you need to have a rectal thermometer (I know, it sounds awful, but it is the best thing for you and baby) that you can carry in your bag or purse. As you begin to heat up, excuse yourself at the next available water break and take your temp in the bathroom. Your inner core temperature should not exceed 101 degrees. Your baby has no way to sweat and release the heat while you are sweating. You might feel fine -- as you are a conditioned dancer -- but check that temperature and NO! it does not work to feel your forehead.

As long as you are drinking plenty of water and do not exceed 101 degrees, dance away! Good luck. Send pictures!

-- 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!