I wrote this article almost a year ago for askfitnesscoach.com who I write articles for from time to time. I thought it’s about time I actually shared it on this ol blog 🙂 you can find the original article HERE
Currently, I am wearing stretchy pants.
Currently, I have my achy feet propped up.
Currently, I am eating a huge spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips on top.
Currently, my stomach is pulsing from tiny, little hiccups.
Currently, I am 36 weeks pregnant.
And, currently, I am running 3-5 miles a day.
Don’t get me wrong, girls, I totally get how running and pregnancy don’t seem to mix.
With the extreme exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester, the pants squeezing your belly, weird aches and pains, and stretching of the second trimester and the “I am so uncomfortable all the time” feeling of the third trimester, logging your daily miles might be the last thing ‘running’ through your mind. But, it could be just the thing to help you endure pregnancy woes.
Running, and really any type of exercise used to be a big no-no while pregnant. Thank goodness for modern research that has found that not only is moderate exercise not bad, it is actually good and encouraged for women while pregnant.
Studies have shown that exercise while pregnant is not only beneficial for the mother’s health, but it’s also good for your baby too.
It helps reduce things such as excessive weight gain, morning sickness, back pain, improves sleep, and can reduce delivery complications and time spent in labor. Beyond the benefits during pregnancy, it has been shown to reduce recovery time and help keep post-partum depression at bay after your baby is born.
Starting to sound a little more appealing? Take it from this momma who has ran through 2 pregnancies.
Running has been the one thing that has kept me sane, physically, mentally, and emotionally!
Now before you start lacing up your trainers, there are some things you need to know to ensure healthy running while pregnant.
5 Tips for Running While Pregnant
1. Talk to your doctor!
Make sure your doctor knows your intentions of running while pregnant. Every pregnancy is different and requires different care. Make sure you doctor gives you the okay to run and keep him/her informed on how you are feeling.
By being monitored by your doctor, it will ensure the health and safety for both you and your baby.
2. This is not the time to start anything new!
Running while pregnant might be totally safe, but only if you were used to running beforehand.
The golden rule is that you can continue doing your typical exercise routine that you were doing before getting pregnant. For example, I was running about 40 miles a week before getting pregnant. After finding out the big news, I haven’t ever run more than 40 miles a week!
Moreover, this is not a time to try and set any personal bests. Your body is changing rapidly and using a huge amount of its resources to grow a freaking human!
There won’t be much left to try and gain more fitness – this is a time to slow down, enjoy, and maintain your fitness. Your pace will slow, you’ll gradually run fewer and fewer miles, and you will lose some fitness. Instead of trying to fight it, try and find the joy in putting running on the backburner as you grow your little human. Your baby and body will thank you for it!
3. Have the proper gear!
(So I know it doesn’t look it. I am actually pregnant in these pictures…only ones I have of me pregnant & running!)
I usually love to run in really light-weight trainers. But during pregnancy, with added pounds and lose ligaments, I switch over to a more supportive and cushioned shoe.
This is a very good time to hit up your local running store and make sure you are running in the shoe that is right for you.
Also, make sure you wear comfortable and breathable clothing. It is even more critical to not let your body overheat while pregnant.
As your tummy gets bigger and puts more weight on your ligaments, you might want to consider running with a belly band for extra support.
4. Be safe!
I am an adventurer at heart and love to find new trails and courses on the fly during my runs. However, when I’m pregnant, my runs become very monotonous as I pick courses that I know will be safe.
Try to pick a course that has drinking fountains and bathrooms (trust me, you’ll really want the bathrooms!) available. I also try and pick courses that aren’t too far from home so if I start feeling too tired or what not, I can either cut my loop short or call someone to come pick me up.
And, of course, to be able to call someone you have to run with your phone! This might be the biggest safety rule of all while pregnant! You never know exactly what might happen and being able to call someone is vital.
Make sure you let at least one person know when you leave to run, how far/long you are planning on going, and ask them to be ready to pick you up if needs be.
Again, pregnancy is not the time to do anything new! Stick to the courses you know and are easily accessible to ensure safety for both you and your baby.
5. Listen to your body!
Our bodies are incredible. Without doing anything (well…almost anything ;)) they know exactly how to grow, birth, and feed a human! If our bodies can do all that, don’t you think they can let you know if you are doing the right things while pregnant?
Listening to your body is key to healthy running while pregnant. There are days when I get up to run when I absolutely do NOT feel like running. So what do I do? I don’t run.
When I’m out on a run and I feel a twinge or odd pressure, I stop and walk until it passes. As my belly grows bigger and bigger, my pace gets slower and slower and I have more and more walking breaks (I went from running 7:30 min/miles on average to walk-jogging 10:30 min/miles on average). And as time goes on, I run fewer and fewer miles.
It can be frustrating to slow down and do less, but relish the 9 months that you are given a pass on pushing yourself. Pregnancy is the perfect time to rediscover the love of running as you run just for the fun of it!
And remember, even though you slow down and perhaps lose some fitness, by running through your pregnancy you will be able to bounce back quicker and more easily once your baby is born!
By following these 5 things you’ll be on track to keep up your running and ensure a healthy pregnancy as well! Always remember that you and your baby’s health is most important, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up what you love! So lace up those trainers and be proud of your waddling run as you stay healthy for both you and your babe!