Dear Fitness Expert,
My doctor's office has given me the go-ahead to continue exercising and teaching fitness classes for as long as I continue to feel good. I am currently 8 weeks pregnant.
2 of the classes I teach are boot camp classes which involve jumping rope, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, push ups, and plyometric/explosive drills such as squat jumps. Can I continue to jump while pregnant, as long as I don't have any balance or dizziness issues? Or should I avoid jumping?
Hi, You sound like a girl after my own heart. When I became pregnant -- while training for the US Bobsled team -- the pre-requisites for making the team were performing plyometric skills, lots of jumping, explosive starts, squats and lunges. I couldn't find anything that told me I could continue these exercises while pregnant. That was when I hooked up with Dr. James Clapp, III, MD. He is a renown researchers in Obstetrics and pregnant athletes. I began training with his team, hooked up to EKG leads, oxygen mask, heart monitor, fetal heart monitor and yes, even a rectal thermometer. The idea was to record, regulate and evaluate every aspect of training and how my body (and baby) reacted.I was part of a group that lead Clapp/team to determine that squats, lunges and running are safe throughout the pregnancy. There are four factors that must be considered. You've answered one already.
Why the rectal? Your baby is one degree Celsius hotter than you and has no way to sweat. You do not want to let yourself get hotter than 101 degree F. Many times people have asked, "Yes, but can't you just tell if your really hot?" No. There are outside circumstances that hike your inner temp. such as weather, things that you have eaten, the body heat generated in the class or the actual workout. Your inner core temperature can spike suddenly. For you personally, by checking yourself at the end of a few classes, you can begin to get a feel for how you felt that day and what your temperature was. You will learn when to back off a bit and 'instruct' rather than participate. (I will be more than happy to explain this further if you need more information)
Still, it is important to listen to your body. When the jumping/bounding exercises feel awkward or are simply too much work, instruct. You're the teacher, you can do that! I taught kickboxing into my eighth month of pregnancy with baby #3. While I continued the kicking, punching, squats and lunges, I grounded myself -- no bounding or jumping. It wasn't that I couldn't do it... I just didn't want to because it did not feel good.
Good luck, have fun, listen to your body, take your temperature, drink water and keep us posted!
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!