Dear Fitness Expert,
I am in my 6th week of pregnancy and I am wondering if it is ok to continue to play competitive mixed slo-pitch (I've been playing since 1997)? My doctor says it's not a concern in my first trimester. My league finishes in the end of August but tournaments sometimes go into September or October, depending on the weather.
My husband is really concerned about me playing and I've told him that I would listen to the doctor and quit when he tells me to, and that I wouldn't play certain higher risk positions (like 3rd base or 1st depending on the level of the competitors and how many lefty batters there are). What is your opinion?
Because your doctor has given you permission and because this is an activity you are already acclimated to, I am inclined to say you should continue to play -- as long as you feel good/strong/healthy.
Having said this; however, it is summer time. We need to talk about proper hydration and inner core temperature. If you go on-line, you will find all kinds of information about pregnant athletes. You will read again and again that you need to watch your heart rate but, unfortunately, little information is provided about inner core temperature.
Okay ... so, there you are on the field ... roasting. Remember that your baby's body temperature is 1 degree Celsius higher than your own. AND your baby has no ability to sweat, self-regulate body heat. So, the hotter you get ... the hotter your baby gets without anyway to cool him or herself.
As long as you do not exceed 101 degree F (INNER CORE) -- you and your baby should be fine. But the question is: how can you tell just how hot you are? Many women will ask if they can just determine how hot they are by the amount they are sweating. No. Because your temperature will spike, level, and drop throughout a workout -- or, in your case -- the game and tournaments.
This is icky -- but should make your husband more comfortable as it will ensure your exact body temperature. Are you ready? Here goes. The only way to really know is to buy a rectal thermometer. You need to take a break during the game -- and a good team will encourage you to do this -- although they may tease you a lot! -- and run to the bathroom to check your inner core temperature.
If you do this, drink lots of water -- not caffeinated drinks that will naturally dehydrate you and are NOT good for baby -- and seek shade when possible, you should be able to happily finish out the season.
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!