Is It Safe To Run While Pregnant?
There’s no denying the fact that running is a high-intensity workout. This is why many women are hesitant about whether they should be running while during their pregnancy. The good news is that there is no need to stop running even while you are pregnant, at least not in the starting stages of your pregnancy.
Most family members and loved ones will often advise against running, keeping in mind that such high-intensity exercise can lead to early labor, or bring about pregnancy complications. However, running is considered to be a safe exercise during pregnancy.
Neither does running lead to a miscarriage, and neither does it harm the baby in any way. (1) So if you liked to run before you got pregnant, then you can continue with your running routine without any worries.
However, while it is safe to run during pregnancy, there are certain precautions that you need to take. After all, being pregnant will eventually have some or the other impact on your body and your exercise routine. You may find that you have to run slower, or you have to change how frequently you go for a run. The most significant point to keep in mind is that you have to listen to what your body is telling you and modify your workout routine accordingly.
But what happens if you were not running before your pregnancy, but want to run while pregnant? If you were not a runner before getting pregnant, then pregnancy is perhaps not the right time to start a high-intensity exercise such as running that your body is not used to. However, you still should incorporate some form of physical activity into your routine as doing some level of exercise during pregnancy is very important for both you and the baby’s health.
Remember that after becoming pregnant, your body is already working double time, and at the same time, it is going through a lot of changes. Incorporating high-intensity workouts such as running at this stage, especially when your body is not previously used to it, will add a lot more physical stress, which at this stage is not at all ideal.
If you were not a runner before, you could try to include some lighter exercises in your daily routine, such as walking, yoga, gentle aerobics, or using the treadmill at a low speed. Start any routine slowly and then gradually increase the pace of the workouts. For example, you can begin by walking for 10 to 15 minutes a day and then increase it by 5 minutes every alternate day or as you see fit.(2)
Tips for Running While Pregnant
Here are certain adjustments you should be making or advice to follow while running during pregnancy:
Make Sure You Have Good Running Shoes
It is vital that you wear proper, supportive, and well-fitting shoes when you are running during your pregnancy. The footwear you wear should ensure that your ankles and joints are safe, and you don’t suffer from any strains and sprains. Remember that the shifting hormone levels of your body can cause the muscles, ligaments, and joints to become more elastic, which makes you more susceptible to injury. The hormone relaxin is produced by the body in preparation for labor and to help the cervix relax and stretch, but at the same time, it makes many women wobbly and unsteady on their feet, increasing the chances of falling.(3) This is why you have to be extra careful while running.
Also, remember that you are now carrying extra pregnancy weight, which is going to put a lot of pressure on the knees. This may result in knee pain, and a comfortable and sturdy pair of shoes can make a huge difference not just in keeping you safe, but also in preventing such aches and pains.
Have A Good And Supporting Sports Bra
Pregnancy makes your breasts grow, and an important thing to keep in mind while running is to take care of your breasts. You may also find that the growing breasts make it uncomfortable while exercising, but buying a good and well-fitting sports bra will help immensely. Make an effort to invest in a supportive and sturdy sports bra that fits comfortably. This relieves any pain that many women feel while running during pregnancy.(4)
You May Need A Belly Support Band
As your pregnancy advances and your stomach continues to grow, it will become more obtrusive and heavier. At the same time, as you run, you will find that running in such condition may be uncomfortable. The weight of your stomach bouncing as you run is likely to make you feel tired more quickly.
There are many types of support bands available for pregnant women that help reduce the discomfort, especially while exercising. These maternal support bands also help reduce pressure on the pelvis and also enable you to maintain a neutral positive. It keeps the pressure off the abdominal connective tissue while you are running.(5)
Stay Well Hydrated
It is essential to stay well-hydrated when you are running, even when you are not pregnant. However, during pregnancy, being hydrated is very important. While you should anyways be drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but make sure that you are drinking adequate water before, during, and after your run. Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to a restriction of blood flow to the uterus, causing premature contractions.(6)
Be Aware Of The Restrooms Along Your Running Route
While the best advice is to not stray away too far from your home, but even if you are running a long way, it is recommended that you are aware of where all the restroom stops are along your running route. Being pregnant will make you feel the need to urinate more frequently and urgently. Further, as the weeks progress, this will only worsen. These ways, you will always know where to find a place where you can use the restroom to relieve yourself.
Running in pregnancy is a safe exercise to continue doing if you were a runner before conceiving. However, if you were not running before you became pregnant, then it is best to avoid starting such a high-intensity exercise during pregnancy for the first time. Exercising in general during pregnancy helps ease back pain, improve mood swings, maintains a healthy weight gain during pregnancy, and also reduces constipation.
As you progress along in your pregnancy, though, you may find that running or general exercising becomes more and more challenging. Even if you are not able to run or exercise at the same pace anymore, doing some type of physical activity is better than stopping all exercise at once.
- Aaptiv. (2020). Can Exercise Cause A Miscarriage In Early Pregnancy?. [online] Available at: https://aaptiv.com/magazine/exercise-cause-a-miscarriage [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].
- Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. (2020). Pregnancy and exercise. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-exercise [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].
- Goldsmith, L.T., Weiss, G. and Steinetz, B.G., 1995. Relaxin and its role in pregnancy. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America, 24(1), pp.171-186.
- Cadenshae United States. (2020). The Experts Guide To Pregnancy Bras That Grow With You. [online] Available at: https://cadenshae.com/blogs/news/pregnancy-bras-that-grow-with-you [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].
- MaBabyPro. (2020). Why You Should Have A Maternity Support Belt？. [online] Available at: https://mababypro.com/blogs/news/have-maternity-belt [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].
- American Pregnancy Association. (2020). Dehydration During Pregnancy: Symptoms and Prevention. [online] Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/dehydration-pregnancy/ [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].