If you are a runner who now finds herself pregnant, you don’t necessarily have to give up the exercise you love the most. In rare cases or when miscarriage is a concern, your doctor might advise you against running during pregnancy but in most cases, pregnant women can still run, at least until the last trimester.
Before beginning any running or exercise regime, check with your doctor first to be sure it is safe for your pregnancy. If the OB says it is ok, here are some pregnancy running tips:
Stay Hydrated- Hydration is always important when running but you’re going to need it even more when you are pregnant. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after the run. Dehydration can decrease blood flow to the uterus and this can lead to premature contractions.
Plan your Potty Breaks- Another symptom of pregnancy that many women get right from the beginning is increased urination. When you’re drinking a lot of water, you’re going to have to go a lot. Add to that your expanding uterus pressing on your bladder and the fact that you are pounding the pavement and you’re probably going to need a potty stop or two on your run. I would run laps around my block rather than run several blocks away so that if I had to get to the bathroom, it was right there for me.
Warm Up First- Warm ups are important but for the pregnant woman, it’s even more so. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that loosens the joints and ligaments in preparation for childbirth. It makes you more flexible but also more susceptible to injury. Each time you’ve been pregnant, your body can start producing relaxin even earlier. By my 5th pregnancy, I felt the changes just a few weeks in and had to be very careful when running/jogging.
Seek Proper Support- Even the fit pregnant woman is getting bigger. Your uterus is growing, your breasts are enlarging and your feet are probably swelling, too. If you plan to run, it’s very important that you have the proper support. Invest in a very good sports bra, make sure your clothes are comfy and not too restricting and be sure your shoes are comfortable but supportive.
Don’t Run Solo – It’s important that if you don’t have a running buddy, you at least let someone know where you are, what your route will be and that you check in regularly. This way, if you don’t return or check in when you should, they know to come find you. Always carry a cell phone with you, too. If you start to feel sick, have cramps or run into any other problems, you can call for help.
Keep in mind that pregnancy running is meant only to help maintain your current fitness level and to provide regular exercise and stress-relief. This is not the time to up your regimen or train for a marathon. If it hurts, stop immediately and also take care of yourself and baby first.
More on exercise during pregnancy:
Can You Run While Pregnant?
Exercising when Pregnant: The Do’s and Don’ts
5 Sports You Shouldn’t Start While Pregnant