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RUNNING DURING PREGNANCY – CAN YOU RUN WHILE PREGNANT? HOW TO DO IT?

Publish date 07.09.2022

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RUNNING DURING PREGNANCY – CAN YOU RUN WHILE PREGNANT? HOW TO DO IT?

If you are an active person and enjoy physical exertion, especially outdoor running, then you certainly don’t want to give up this activity when you are pregnant. If you are a runner then 9 months without training is a long time. 

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life – a new life is being created, and soon the family will grow bigger. Many women take great care of themselves and are careful not to let anything happen to the baby. Hence the question arises. Can you run while pregnant? If so, how do you run during pregnancy? If not running, what to replace it with?

I will answer these and many other questions in this article. Find out everything you need to know about running while pregnant!

Running during pregnancy – is it possible?

More and more people believe that movement during pregnancy is important and even advisable. We move away from the old views that a woman only needs to rest. However, not every woman can afford this kind of physical activity. It all depends on:

  • the state of health,
  • the state of the baby,
  • Your well-being, 
  • test results,
  • the development of the pregnancy, 
  • doctor’s opinion. 

Not all women’s pregnancies go the same way. Some enjoy the whole 9 months, others have complications or have to spend a certain stage of pregnancy in bed.

Can you run while pregnant? – 3 most important things to consider before training

1. Run only when you feel good

Feeling unwell? Don’t force yourself to be physically active. Every pregnancy goes differently. One day you may feel great, and the next you may not. Some women struggle with vomiting, lack of energy, and mood changes even for several months. 

If you feel better and have the energy to run, see how your body reacts to this activity. 

“What? I’ve run before. My body is used to running and doing exercises.”

Yes, this is true. However, during pregnancy there are many changes in the body. You can never be sure how your body will react to standard stimuli. After all, even your favorite foods often make you nauseous and vomit sometimes, right?

2. Can I run during pregnancy? – ask your doctor

Is running safe during pregnancy? This is a question you are probably asking yourself when it is your first pregnancy and you want to be active. You are worried about the baby’s health – it’s normal to have doubts that it may affect the baby in some way. 

This is why you need to go to your gynecologist who is managing your pregnancy. The doctor will know if the pregnancy is going well and if there is any danger – whether running will be safe in your case.

If your gynecologist forbids you to run – don’t do it. Even if you feel well. You should always follow your doctor’s guidelines because they know what condition you are in and what you can and cannot do. 

If the gynecologist does not have any contraindications, you can ask what exercises will be appropriate and how active you can be. 

What’s more, if you are a runner then you should ask your physiotherapist about exercises for the pelvic floor muscles. These are muscles that are highly stressed when you are expecting. The addition of running strains them even more. That’s why proper strengthening and relaxation exercises are so important. 

3. Running while pregnant only for advanced runners 

You can only run while pregnant if you have already been running long before you found out about it. 

Why do I need to be an advanced runner? 

Such training leads to fatigue, and in pregnancy, this fatigue will certainly be faster. If you know what the signs of your exhaustion are then you will know when to stop running. 

Moreover, by training beforehand, your muscles and body are strengthened. Therefore, you will be able to run more easily, even with a load (your growing belly;) ).

Running when pregnant - women in the woods
When you are feeling good, you can go for a run with favourite music.

When you definitely cannot run during pregnancy?

There are also contraindications when you can’t run or do other exercises.

These are: 

  • twin pregnancy, 
  • miscarriages in previous pregnancies,
  • risk of early childbirth, 
  • bleeding, 
  • hypertension, 
  • diabetes, 
  • fetus heart rate disorder,
  • anemia, 
  • cervical suture or pressure-cervical insufficiency, 
  • pre-eclampsia, 
  • cold or fever, 
  • oligohydramnios/polyhydramnios. 

However, be sure to consult with your gynecologist. 

When to stop running while pregnant? – disturbing signs

When you are running during pregnancy you must pay special attention to how you feel. You must not underestimate any symptoms. 

You should stop your training if: 

  • you feel that you are bleeding – in this case, you need to go to a gynecologist as soon as possible to check if all is well with you and the baby,
  • cramps start, 
  • you will feel pain in your pelvic bones – as we mentioned earlier they are stressed by pregnancy and even more by running,
  • your heart rate will increase, 
  • you will feel pains in the pit of your abdomen,
  • you will start to get a headache or get dizzy, 
  • you catch breathlessness – in this case, rest for a while, do not train forcefully,
  • you will feel pain in your chest.

Listen to your body and your gynecologist. If something is wrong, consult with the doctor. Better be safe than sorry. 

How long to run during pregnancy?

There is no single answer to this question. It all depends on you and your condition. As a professional runner, you certainly know how many kilometers you can run. However, you need to take into account the fact that the body tires faster during pregnancy and is changing. Do not disdain a good workout in the form of marches. They will allow you to maintain your running passion, and at the same time will not lead to exhaustion.

How to run when pregnant?

1. Be comfortable – choose the right running clothes 

To feel comfortable when running during pregnancy you need to have an appropriate outfit. 

What should you pay attention to when choosing the right running clothes?

  • appropriate shoes – feet swell during pregnancy, so consider whether to buy running shoes in a larger size with a soft sole. 
  • a bigger t-shirt – there is no denying that the belly grows during pregnancy. To some women, it grows slower and later, and to others earlier. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy a larger T-shirt to feel comfortable.
  • stretch sports leggings – if we are already talking about a pregnant belly, you should also buy stretch leggings that will not pinch, and even if your belly grows they will fit perfectly. 

right sports bra – your breasts also grow when you are pregnant – buy a larger bra for running. You will be more comfortable in it, and it will also support your breasts.

2. Remember to drink water

It is recognized that a person should drink about 2-2,5 liters of water per day. In a pregnant woman, this requirement increases to as much as 3 liters of water. 

Therefore, when you go running, take a water bottle with you. It will hydrate your body when you are thirsty. 

When it comes to drinking, choose water. When you’re pregnant, avoid sugary carbonated drinks, which are a source of sugar and contain artificial colors and preservatives. Also, beware of energizers and alcohol. 

Running during pregnancy - drinking water
During your pregnancy remember to drink around 3 liters of water every day.

3. Heart rate

The right heart rate is important for normal running. When you run during pregnancy your HRmax should be 60-70%. 

As a professional runner, I’m sure you’ve calculated it more than once. However, you must remember that during pregnancy your body weight changes = your Hrmax changes. Don’t worry, this value can be quickly calculated using Sally Edwards’ formula:

Hrmax = 210 – 0.5 x age – 0.022 x weight (kg).

But how do I know if my running heart rate is appropriate?

There are several ways to check it:

  • you can buy a smartwatch that will measure your heart rate, 
  • you can buy a special chest belt to measure your heart rate at the store, 
  • Don’t want to spend money? There’s a way to do that, too – run so that you can freely talk to the person next to you. 

4. Choose the proper route for your training

Running during pregnancy also involves choosing the right route. Why? 

On the route, you may encounter holes, roots, or stones, which are easy to trip over. Then there is a likelihood that you will fall on your stomach. The consequences can be terrible. 

Therefore, you should choose roads that are flat and soft. Not only will you avoid tripping, but such a route will be better for your joints and muscles because they won’t be stressed as much. 

Run on trails that are close to home and those frequented by other runners so that you are not running alone. 

5. Don’t run alone

When being pregnant, run with someone. Of course, this is not always possible, but very important. Suddenly while running you may feel unwell. It is a good idea to have someone with you at that time to help you, wait until you feel better or in the worst-case scenario call an ambulance.

6. Choose running on a treadmill

If you don’t have someone to run with, and you’re afraid you might get hurt, go to the gym. At the gym, you can run on a treadmill. This is also a very good workout, regardless of the weather. 

In addition, there is always someone at the gym. Therefore, if you feel unwell, the person exercising, a trainer, or a staff member can help you. 

7. Increase the frequency of doctor’s appointment 

Being active during pregnancy, you must expect to see your doctor more often. He has to check whether you can continue to exercise freely and whether nothing threatens the health and life of the baby and yours.

What does the gynecologist check during such an examination?

  1. Whether physical activity does not harm the bay and whether you can continue to be active.
  2. Whether your cervix is long and strong.
  3. Whether the workouts you are doing can continue or whether you need to change their intensity, and length or replace running with another physical activity. 
Other activities than running during pregnancy
When you can run, there are other activities such as yoga for pregnant women.

Can I run during pregnancy? – look through the trimesters 

1 trimester – the early months of pregnancy will be the best for sustaining physical activity. However, be sure not to overexert yourself, especially up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Why? Because during this period the functioning of the endocrine system, which is responsible for maintaining the pregnancy, normalizes. Miscarriages often occur during this period. Rest for a couple of weeks, and then after consultation with your doctor return to running. If you ran before pregnancy you can allow yourself to run short distances. However, remember to take care of yourself and watch your body. 

2 trimester – during this period you can freely train if there are no contraindications from the gynecologist. However, you should not overdo it. Run max 4 days a week for about 30 minutes each. This is the optimal effort. Nevertheless, watch your body, if you feel tired, rest. Do not do anything by force. 

3 trimester – during this period the belly is already really big, because of which the center of gravity changes and muscles, joints, and spine are increasingly overloaded. Moreover, there is a decrease in fitness and energy. A woman goes to the bathroom more often and her feet swell. During this period, it is best to give up running and rely on other physical activities, such as fitness, yoga, and swimming. 

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