Exercising on the Elliptical Machine During Pregnancy

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,
Is it safe to use an elliptical machine during the third trimester. If so, how long can I spend on it?

Yes, I love the elliptical machine. As you move into the third trimester, your joints are shifting and softening as your body prepares for childbirth. The pounding on a treadmill our outdoor jogging/walking can sometimes be too much, particularly if you already had knee or hip issues. The elliptical allows you to work on cardio without putting undue pressure on your joints.

Ahh, but there is a catch that you need to be aware of. Because it is indoors, because you will often have a fan on or A/C and because it is easier on the joints, you will likely go further and faster on this machine. As a result, your inner core temperature can spike without you even realizing how hot you actually are.

This is a problem because you do not want your inner core temperature to exceed 101° F. Your baby has no ability to sweat and regulate his or her own body temperature. As you pump away on the elliptical, you can make that baby oven of yours hotter than you should.

How to fix this?

And ... no, that doesn't mean, "Oh, goodie ... I get to sit on the couch and eat bon bons." It means that you need to buy a rectal thermometer. About every 20 minutes, you need to get off the elliptical and go to the bathroom. With your handy dandy rectal thermometer, check your temperature. If you are hovering at 100 degrees, take a walk to the water cooler, get a drink, cool down a little and hit the weights. If you are around 99 degrees, you can continue on if you so choose -- depending upon the time you have set out for yourself.

*For more information about inner core temperature, check out our information on the site!

But be sure to get permission from your doctor first and, if you can, talk to a trainer. Pick up tips on how to work the machine and how you can add in light weights to sculpt, tone and prepare your body for the big day! Your body will thank you later!

--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!