Running While Pregnant?
- Congratulations..!!

positive pregnancy test

Now don’t worry, you do not have to give up your running while pregnant – in fact, staying fit and healthy throughout pregnancy has been proven to ease the birth and reduce the risk of miscarriage

- one study published in the US concluded that women who continued regular running during pregnancy had a beneficial effect on the outcome of their labour when compared to women who discontinued running...

woman running

Of course there will always be the die-hards who insist on you ‘putting your feet up’, resting, and the most guilt laden one ‘think of the baby!’ …. Well you are thinking of the baby that’s why you want to keep running and stay healthy

It must be stressed that running while pregnant is not a good idea for a beginner - if you want to take up an exercise during pregnancy to get fit, then try walking or swimming, these are much more beginner friendly than running

- but, as long as you are running-fit and have an uneventful pregnancy, there’s no reason why you can’t continue running from now until your later stages…

Everything during pregnancy is split into the 3 trimesters so we’ll do the same here and look at the aspects, obstacles, and benefits of running

while pregnant in each trimester…

Running While Pregnant 1st Trimester - 0-12 Wks

taking blood pressure

New Life (and Morning sickness!)

It makes sense at this point to check in with the doctor to get the all clear to carry on with your running, or just to let them know that you will be running and then they can be aware of your life style and health choices

In this first trimester your baby goes from being a ball of cells to being a foetus, and this all takes energy, yours to be exact! Fatigue and nausea will be your biggest problems to overcome in the first 3 months

Now nobody feels like running when they are sick and knackered! But persevere, it has been reported that running and exercising can relieve morning sickness, so slow down, and cut down the length of your runs if necessary. You may find that a light jog is all you can manage. Also grazing (little and often) on food rather than having big meals can help with the nausea and the fatigue

running while pregnant

Your body temperature also rises by about 50% when pregnant so hydration becomes even more important now than ever before, especially if you are vomiting with the morning sickness

Don’t push yourself till you get to the point of puffing and panting, if you are not getting enough oxygen then your baby certainly isn’t! – and avoid running in hot weather or when it’s really humid…

This all sounds like common sense, but don’t forget that as a runner you are used to pushing yourself to the limits, always trying to get that bit extra out of your body, so it may be a hard habit to break… may even feel a bit weird that you are no longer in full control of what is happening with your body, but at least by keeping up your running while pregnant and eating well, you will know that you are providing your baby with the best start in life…this is now your number one priority and not that extra mile!

The good news is you won’t need to alter your clothing during this 1st trimester, although you may want to look at a more cushioned, stabilising shoe to help prevent injury and falls

running while pregnant on a treadmill

- another thought would be to run on a treadmill if you are in the market for one ;-)

The first 3 months are commonly the worst time as far as fatigue, nausea and mood swings go, your body is changing so rapidly to accommodate your baby, but this will pass quickly so don’t worry

Running While Pregnant 2nd Trimester - 12-24 Wks

The Honeymoon Period!

The nausea should be leaving you now and your energy will be coming back up and even going higher than you’ve felt before, but don’t overdo things just because you’re feeling better…

Running during pregnancy means you will need to eat a bit more…

- an extra 300 calories a day is needed to fuel your growing baby’s nutritional needs. So if you are burning calories from running while pregnant then you must take this into account. You should not be trying to lose weight when pregnant, so put the diet on hold and concentrate on healthy eating ;-)

Running Tips HQ: always have a small snack or sports drink within 30 minutes of finishing your run (10 minutes is best) – this will replenish your depleted carbohydrate stores - 150-200 calories will do

During this trimester your uterus shifts as it grows and this causes your centre of gravity to change. Watch out for this as it makes you prone to falling over and being a bit wobbly. This may be a concern if the terrains you run on are uneven trails or narrow verges, try to find more flat even surfaces to give yourself less chance of injury or falls

Injury is also more of a concern now as your body produces extra amounts of the hormone Relaxin. As the name suggests, this loosens the ligaments and relaxes the muscles in preparation for the birth and this allows for the growth of the baby. This mainly concerns the pelvis, but will also affect all the joints, so be wary with the knees and ankles as there are an increased risk of injury and strains. This is a good time to get in some back and leg strengthening exercises

Keep going now your turning into the home stretch…

Running While Pregnant 3rd Trimester - 24+ Wks

running while pregnant with a stroller

It’s All About Size!

You will be noticeably pregnant by now and you are going to have to adjust to running with a bump and the extra weight. But it doesn’t have to mean giving up your running; your baby doesn’t get huge over night! It is a gradual growth and this gives you time to get to changes in shape and weight. You will probably need to slow down or run/walk, if that suits you better. It is a case of listening to your body (and your baby - it will be making its presence felt with the odd kick!)

Running Tips HQ: If you are running while pregnant, cramps and stitches may be a more common experience, taking the time to do a warm up walk can help with these

Back ache is a problem all through pregnancy but especially during the 3rd trimester. There are many supports on the market, from minimum support ‘Bump Bands’ which pull snugly over your belly, to maximum support ‘Maternity Belts’ which sit under the bump and give excellent support to the lower back

fancy aqua running?

Unfortunately, running while pregnant means there will likely come a time when it’s just too hard to run during the late stages of pregnancy... don’t despair… take to the water! - aqua running is brilliant for this time. The water helps to support your belly and makes running easier on your joints so less chance of injury

Finally, Keep In Mind…

Running while pregnant is usually OK, but keep regular contact with your doctor and midwife team and keep them up to date on your running activities

the Zen-approach to running

Throw away your strict training programs and regimes, this is a time for a more relaxed Zen-like approach to your running, “it is what it is” and if it is throwing up and feeling tired out then you will have to slow down and just go with it!

This is a time of incredible changes in your body and having a new life growing inside you is a wonderful, scary, and exhilarating experience. As a runner you are already very much in touch with your body as a whole, you know how to listen to it and how to get the best from it. So be prepared for a whole host of new amazing feelings and responses from your changing body… and listen carefully

Lastly, please do not panic if this is your first pregnancy - if you are running while pregnant (staying fit) and eating well you will see your waistline again, I promise ;-)

Good Luck!

More tips for women running? ( >>>)

To return from the running while pregnant back to the Home Page (>>>)