perjantai 5. marraskuuta 2010

Is a strenuous dance class safe during pregnancy?

For years I've been taking a very strenuous dance class that includes hip-hop moves and jazz steps. Now I'm pregnant and don't want to give it up, but my husband thinks it's too intense. There are a lot of turns, jumps, and quick movements. Is it safe for me to continue?

Expert Answers
Tracey Mallett, fitness expert

As a rule, when you're pregnant you can keep doing the type of exercise you did before — as long as you make some modifications, and as long as there's nothing about your physical condition that puts you or your pregnancy at high risk from such activity .

To make an informed decision about whether (or how) to stay with your class, you first need to understand the changes in heart function and metabolism that pregnancy brings. Early in pregnancy, the amount of blood circulated by your heart increases, until it levels off during the third trimester, at 30 to 50 percent above normal. Your heart has to work harder to pump all that extra blood around, so you'll get more easily pooped from physical activity. Any aerobic exercise you do while pregnant will be more of a struggle than usual, regardless of how intense or mild your workout is.

Heart rate rises during pregnancy, too, because of the increased volume of blood, so after workouts it may take as long as 15 minutes for your heart to recover to its resting rate. Since the heart and other muscles also need additional blood flow during exercise, there could be competition with the placenta for that extra blood.

Your risk for muscle strain, tearing, or other injury is also higher, since the same pregnancy hormone that helps the uterus expand also weakens the body's connective tissues. So jumping, jarring motions, or quick directional changes are not a good idea.

Even so, there are modifications that can help lower your heart rate and make dance class a safe bet for your and your baby:

* Keep one foot on the floor at all times * March, or step side-to-side instead of jumping * Use fewer arm movements * Avoid quick turns that might cause jarring; instead, always face in one direction

It's essential to get the go-ahead from your healthcare practitioner first. But with these simple changes, you should be able to stick with your class.

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