Is It Safe To Run When You’re Expecting?
With a normal, healthy pregnancy, exercising while expecting has many benefits for you and baby, including:
- Reduces back pain
- Eases constipation
- May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
If you frequent this blog, I’m guessing your go-to exercise is running, and luckily research suggests it’s OK to keep the habit through your pregnancy. Here’s some guidelines to keep in mind if you want to continue running:
Be Open with Your Doc
Not asking your doctor about running because you assume they’ll tell you not to is like putting your head in the sand. Anything you read online (even this!) or hear from friends is a start, but every pregnancy is different and your doctor knows what’s best for your pregnancy. From the start, bring up how important running is to you, and work together to ensure you can do it safely. The approach may change throughout each trimester so keep them up to date on your workouts and how they feel.
Pay Close Attention to Your Body
Your body is going through a multitude of changes, and most likely everything feels different then it did. Still, there are some key occurrences to note during and after your run that are signs you’re pushing too hard/doing too much:
- If you feel any pain in your ligaments and joints throughout or after your run
- Your run leaves you feeling drained instead of energized
- Your muscles feel much more sore than usual, you are shaky and weak, long after your run
- You feel dizzy/faint or have a headache while running – Stop!
- You experience any chest pain, vaginal leaking or bleeding – Stop!
- Feel signs of contractions – Stop!
- Any swelling or pain in the calf – Stop!
When you’re running for one, you have the luxury of assuming aches and pains are normal and waiting for them to either go away or talk to pro. Now is not that time. You are the only one who can feel it the moment something isn’t exactly right; be your biggest advocate and err on the side of (over) caution.
For more details on how to know when you should cut a run short, visit this post on Babycenter.com
Dial it Back
Throughout your pregnancy you’ll naturally slow your pace as your body adjusts to carrying a baby, still, be conscious about how much you push it. This is not the time for PR’s, speed-work or any kind of high intensity interval training.
Be especially careful of the heat and humidity, particularly in the first trimester. Your body isn’t as good at keeping your temperature regulated as it was before. Wear loose clothing, drink plenty of water before and during your run, and move it to the treadmill if it’s hot and humid outside.
While it’s always important to strength train, you definitely want to incorporate this aspect of exercise to your prenatal routine. Your body is shifting and there will be muscle imbalances that weren’t there before, but keeping your muscles strong will not only help you from injuring yourself during your pregnancy, but make it easier to bounce back after you deliver.
Core strength is important for your pelvic floor health and can help prevent back pain associated with a growing belly. Crunches – and during the later months, exercises on your back – may be out, but there are plenty of safe exercises you can do to keep your core muscles intact. Click here for some ideas!
As with any exercise program and anything related to pregnancy, check with your practitioner first and foremost. Running can be a great way to keep your body healthy and your mind balanced during this exciting and oh so confusing time!