Running during Pregnancy
Running during pregnancy, especially excessive distances and at a high intensity is not recommended.
Nor is pregnancy a time to set a goal to run a marathon or compete in endurance events.
But can you run if pregnant?
Yes, but I personally believe there are many better choices.
Running in Pregnancy and Post-Birth
This post is primarily dedicated to running when pregnant. But I have this great podcast for you on running after pregnancy as well where I chat to our Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Beth Scott is a Women’s Health Physiologist with over 10 years experience and a strong passion in helping women, to stay healthy and active, particularly in the perinatal period.
Running in Pregnancy
It’s important to know what the impacts running can have on the body pregnant.
Did You Know?
An upper level of safe exercise intensity has not been established, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Essentially, there are risks associated with pushing yourself to exertion. Not enough is yet known to ensure your safety when running at high levels of intensity.
According to ACOG, if you previously exercised prior to getting pregnant, and you are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy, then you should be able to engage in running with no adverse effects.
What if You Did Not Run Before Pregnancy?
If you did not run before you became pregnant, then when you are pregnant is not the ideal time take up jogging or running.
You must accept that your body is undergoing some weird, wonderful and dramatic changes as it carries a baby and prepares for birth.
During pregnancy, your body produces the hormone relaxin which loosens your joints.
As a result, this can make you more prone to injury.
If you haven’t really run before, this isn’t the time to start pushing your limits. Instead, focus on other pregnancy-safe exercises.
Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of women who stay fit from running. It’s just that running is high impact. And it can cause a lot of injuries.
Can I Continue to Run?
If there are are no changes in your joints and ligaments you can continue running. Only once your doctor has given you the all clear.
As you progress into your pregnancy you will notice that the physical changes will impact on your ability to run.
Your belly gets bigger.
And with looser joints and this extra pregnancy weight, running can be hard on your knees.
Pregnancy back pain starts to become an issue. High impact running on hard surfaces will not be kind to an already sore back.
You raise your body temperature to high levels when you run and getting over-heated must be avoided.
The extra weight gain impacts on all your joints.
This is why yoga during pregnancy is recommended as it is non-impact.
Pregnancy is an ideal time to focus on lower-impact activities. And a great place to start is by committing to your PregActive pregnancy workouts!
Seek Medical Advice Prior to Running when Pregnant
You will just need to take your doctor’s advice as to the intensity and duration at which you run. You will also want to be familiar with any warning signs your body is sending out.
You must know when to stop or pull-back. You should avoid hot weather, running on hard surfaces and pay attention to your breathing.
If you are quickly getting out of breath then you may be pushing yourself too hard.
Make sure you are wearing some lose-fitting clothing and quality running shoes as running is a high-impact activity and you do to want to develop any injuries.
Is Walking Good for Me if I cannot Run?
Absolutely! You will need to pay attention to any warning signs but walking is a great form of low-impact exercise and is even more enjoyable if you can walk with friends.
Along with your walking, be sure to include some of my prenatal at home workouts into your weekly plan. If you would like to try a pregnancy workout for free, click here >
Running and Your Pelvic Floor
Running can place a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. So if you do continue running during pregnancy you must also place greater emphasis on your pelvic floors.
Our PregActive programs can help you out here. I include Kegel exercises into each session to help build the body confidence you need now and also post pregnancy.
Replace a couple of your running sessions with a PregActive routine which you can perform in the comfort of your home.
Tips for Running during Pregnancy
1. Quality Running Shoes
When pregnant, you must do all you can to prevent slipping or tripping as you are more prone to sprains and strains. Properly fitted shoes will give you more support around your ankles.
2. Watch out for Injuries
The downside of high -impact activities is that are often associated with more injuries. To help reduce sustaining an injury, you should also participate in a strength training program.
A stronger core and legs will help you as strong muscles help protect your joints.
3. Your goals have changed
Yes, you now have a passenger on board! As a result, you should reduce your distance and run at a slower pace. Forget about setting new personal bests or increasing your training volume.
4. Run with a Friend
There are many benefits of running with a friend. One is for safety, or if you need help. Two is that you should be able to talk when you exercise. If not, you may be pushing yourself too hard.
5. Wear a Sports Bra
Yes, you will yourself constantly shopping for new bras. Investing in a quality sports bra is a ‘must have’ if you are running to avoid damage to your breasts.
6. Be aware of the Roads
This tip applies to all runners whether they are pregnant or not. Running on hard surfaces, or hilly streets, can result in greater impact on your joints.
Also, the holes in the footpath, or uneven surfaces, the curbs, all come into play as trip hazards. As your center of gravity shifts as your baby belly grows, you are more prone to falling.
7. Avoid pelvic discomfort
Running can be hard on the muscles in your pelvic floor, your core and your abs. This is especially true as you progress to the second and third trimesters. If you feel pressure in your pelvic floor or core, slow down.
8. Plan Toilet Breaks
A part of your daily plan is knowing there is a toilet near by. Due to the extra weight of your uterus pressing on your bladder will mean you need to pee more often.
So plan your runs so they are within distance of a toilet.
When to Stop Running
Running during pregnancy is safe as long as you adhere to all safety guidelines.
As with any exercise, if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms stop running.
And call you health care professional.
3. Vaginal bleeding
4. Shortness of breath before exertion
5. Any signs of preterm labor
6. Chest pain
7. Muscle weakness
8. Calf pain or swelling
Running during pregnancy is safe for most women.
But as always, consult with your doctor prior to starting.
And if you didn’t run before pregnancy, now is not the ideal time to start