Is It Safe to Do Jumping Jacks While Pregnant?
By Elena Donovan Mauer | Originally Published April 26, 2018 on Aaptiv | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross
Expectant women commonly ask whether or not jumping jacks while pregnant are safe. These exercises—along with other plyometric or jump-heavy moves, like jump squats and high knees—are a welcome and beneficial addition to the standard workout plan for those who aren’t pregnant. But their high-impact nature can, understandably, make pregnant women feel uneasy.
For women who were previously sedentary, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends adding exercise gradually into their routine. Low-impact workouts such as walking and swimming are a good starting point. However, jumping jacks while pregnant aren’t advised for the women who fall into this category. On the other hand, if you’re experienced in jogging and aerobics, ACOG says you should be able to continue doing high-impact workouts safely.
So, jumping jacks while pregnant aren’t necessarily a no-no for fit women. However, there are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to incorporate jump-heavy moves into your exercise routine.
You need your doctor’s go-ahead first.
Some doctors will limit a patient’s activity if she has certain health conditions or pregnancy complications to reduce risks to her and her baby. So always be sure yours is okay with your workout plan.
“Before beginning your exercise program talk to your doctor or health care provider to make sure you do not have any restrictions on any jump-exercises during pregnancy,” says Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. “Do not start any new or rigorous exercises during pregnancy unless you speak to your doctor first.”
Consider your comfort level
Even if you were doing plyometrics every day pre-pregnancy, you might not feel good doing them while pregnant. Listen to your body and gauge whether or not you feel comfortable with each move. For example, Ross points out that women in their first trimesters might not feel up to jumping around at all.
“One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is feeling nauseous, exhausted, and fatigued. In the beginning of pregnancy, this is considered completely normal and often expected,” she says. Jumping moves might not be something you want to do in those first 13 weeks anyhow, since you probably won’t be feeling well.
Avoid overexertion and dehydration.
During weeks 13 to 20, you might feel more inclined to try jumping jacks while pregnant. Every woman’s body is different, but the general rule is to avoid discomfort and pain. Stay well hydrated and ease off if you feel exhausted, overheated, or short of breath.
Ease up as your body changes.
In trimester two, as your belly grows, your ability to balance will change. Jumping jacks while pregnant will become more of a safety risk.
“Any exercise that can affect your balance, including jumping jacks and other jump-heavy exercises, would not be recommended beyond 20 weeks for fit and experienced exercise enthusiasts,” says Ross, “Even those women who are experienced in these forms of exercise can be surprisingly affected by the physical changes associated with pregnancy that make you unsteady on your feet.”
Many women find the risk of tripping or falling or putting baby at risk for complications isn’t worth it.
Modify in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
Once a woman hits the third trimester, jumping jacks while pregnant aren’t usually done. The extra weight can make the moves extremely uncomfortable.
“During the third trimester, a woman feels more swollen, tired, and heavy,” says Ross. “This would not be a good time to do jump-exercises. Your risk of falling and feeling less steady on your feet will be exaggerated.”
Instead of doing jump exercises, modify your workout to include moves that keep you more stable. For example, walking, prenatal yoga, swimming, or riding a stationary bike. There are plenty of ways to get a good workout without putting you and baby in danger.
Call in a pro for help.
Still interested in coming up with a prenatal exercise routine that incorporates jump moves? Don’t do it alone. “I would suggest those interested in participating in plyometrics use a personal trainer experienced in handling pregnant woman,” says Ross.