Running during pregnancy is not only possible but can be beneficial for both you and your baby. However, adapting your running routine is essential to ensure safety and well-being. As your body changes, it’s crucial to listen to it, acknowledge your new limits, and stay vigilant about potential risks and warning signs associated with running while pregnant.
Running while pregnant offers several advantages, promoting overall well-being and reducing pregnancy complications. Here are four key benefits for expectant mothers who choose to continue running:
Easier Labor: Maintaining a running routine during pregnancy can help keep you fit and healthy, potentially easing your delivery process and aiding in a quicker recovery.
Lower Risk of Complications: Regular running during pregnancy has been associated with a reduced risk of complications such as preterm birth, high birth weight, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and the need for a c-section.
Mental Well-Being: Research published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal in 2020 indicates that running during pregnancy can reduce the risk of depression by up to 67%. It can also elevate your mood, alleviate anxiety, and reduce stress.
Baby’s Brain Development: Studies suggest that running or exercising during pregnancy can positively impact fetal brain development.
Risks of Running While Pregnant:
While running is generally safe during pregnancy, certain risks must be acknowledged to ensure the safety of both you and your baby:
Altered Balance: Pregnancy leads to a shift in your center of gravity due to weight gain. Be cautious when running on uneven or steep terrain to avoid losing balance.
Aches and Pains: Some pregnant women may experience discomfort, including round ligament pain, pelvic pain, or abdominal discomfort. These symptoms can worsen with vigorous exercise, including running.
How to Run Safely While Pregnant
To maintain your fitness and well-being during pregnancy, follow these five steps for safe running:
Wear Supportive Running Shoes: Choose appropriate shoes for the terrain and environment. Supportive running shoes are crucial for comfort and safety.
Use a Proper Running Bra: Invest in a comfortable running bra designed for pregnancy to provide the necessary support.
Focus on Technique, Not Speed: Prioritize good running technique over speed. Maintain an upright position and run at a comfortable pace. Consider running longer distances rather than faster.
Know When to Stop: Listen to your body. Nausea and fatigue may affect your running during the first trimester, and discomfort may arise in the third trimester. Adjust your running routine accordingly.
Stay Hydrated: Pregnant women require 8-10 cups of water daily for digestion, blood volume, amniotic fluid, and waste removal.
Warning Signs When Running While Pregnant:
Be vigilant for warning signs that you may be pushing yourself too hard. If you experience any of the following symptoms, consider modifying your running routine or consult with a healthcare professional:
Calf pain or swelling
Feeling faint or dizzy
Regular and painful uterine contractions
Bleeding or fluid leakage from the vagina
Muscle weakness affects balance
Shortness of breath before exercise
If you encounter these symptoms regularly or severely, seek medical advice from your primary care provider or OBGYN. They can provide guidance to help you continue enjoying the benefits of running while pregnant without compromising your health or your baby’s well-being.