Staying active during pregnancy is incredibly important. Exercise helps strengthen our muscles and heart, improves circulation, and can have a positive impact on our mental and emotional health. Staying active during your pregnancy can also reduce your risk of complications during delivery, and help with your postpartum recovery. There are plenty of safe exercises during pregnancy, but a lot of women who were runners before they got pregnant might be wondering if they can continue. Is running while pregnant safe? Are there precautions you should take? How long can you keep running during your pregnancy? And if you're new to running, is pregnancy a good time to start? We have the answers to your running while pregnant questions!
Reasons To Run While Pregnant
Any physical activity or exercise during pregnancy is beneficial! But running has been shown to have many maternal benefits, including improved cardiovascular function, reducing edema or swelling during pregnancy, and reduced muscle cramping. In addition to the physical benefits, running while pregnant can have a positive affect on your mental and emotional state.
Guidelines To Get Started
If you're new to running and haven't been given any activity restrictions by your doctor, there's no reason you can't start running while pregnant! Start small, with regular walking. If you're feeling good and want to take it to the next level, consider a beginning runners training program to help you transition to a gentle running program that will be easy for you to maintain. Invest in a good pair of comfortable running shoes and loose-fitting clothing that won't put too much restriction on your limbs.
If you were a runner before getting pregnant and want to continue running while pregnant, make sure to get cleared by your doctor first, and make necessary adjustments to your runs to accommodate your needs. Go slower, take more breaks, and take more rest days. Also, remember to hydrate well and run in loose-fitting clothing to prevent restriction to blood flow. Also, you may need to adjust your running schedule, and head out in early morning or evening hours to avoid full sun and high heat hours.
As with any physical activity during pregnancy, running while pregnant should be avoided if you have a high risk pregnancy or complications in your pregnancy. If you experience bleeding, have placental problems (like placenta previa or placental abruption), or at higher risk for preterm labor, your doctor may restrict your physical activity. Before starting or continuing any exercise program during pregnancy, check with your doctor and discuss the risks.
If you have a healthy pregnancy without complications, there are still some safety concerns you should be aware of when running while pregnant. Staying hydrated is incredibly important, especially since you may start sweating earlier and more profusely. Stick to flat surfaces, as looser ligaments during pregnancy can make you more prone to injuries. You don't need to wear a heart monitor, but pay close attention to your heart rate and perceived exertion - a conversational pace (where you could talk and not be out of breath) is a safe pace.
Running Through The Trimesters
For a lot of women, the first trimester is hard - the exhaustion and nausea are no joke. Running may help combat those, but it's important to listen to your body and rest as much as you need. If you're having a hard time keeping food down and aren't getting enough nutrition, it may be a good idea to cut back on running while pregnant until that subsides.
The second trimester is when a lot of women's energy comes back and the nausea subsides, so this is a great trimester for runners! But be mindful of your changing body, and make adjustments as necessary. A belly band might be helpful to wear as your tummy gets bigger and heavier.
As you enter your third trimester, you may find that running while pregnant gets more difficult, and a lot of runners need to stop or cut way back. If you're feeling good, and have been cleared by your doctor, there's no reason you can't keep running into your third trimester. But if you're ready to stop, listen to your body and take a break.