Everything you need to know about running during pregnancy. What to do, what not to do, and what to keep in mind before you and your bump hit the trail.
Running during pregnancy isn’t dangerous and it’s not impossible. (No, your baby doesn’t jiggle around in there!) It’s also not always easy or predictable. If you’re thinking about picking up running (it’s totally safe when you follow the right guidelines) or even if you were running long before you found out you were pregnant, you might be confused about what’s safe and what’s not.
This article will help newbie and seasoned runners alike, and will offer some practical advice and things to keep in mind whenever you’re running for the next 9 months.
Pay attention to your body - The most important thing to know when you’re running while pregnant is that no pregnancy is the same. Something that feels right for someone else might not feel right for you. (Click here more information on which modifications you ALWAYS need to make during pregnancy, regardless of fitness level.) There are a few conditions in which running during pregnancy might not be safe, so check with your doctor to make sure things are going smoothly before you start.
Don’t be surprised - Just because you’re not yet physically seeing the demands pregnancy has placed on your body doesn’t mean you won’t have setbacks. Morning sickness may leave you too tired or weak to go for your daily jog, or you might be experiencing other digestive problems that make it difficult to go on a run. Take it all in stride (pun intended) and accommodate as needed.
Don’t start too fast - It’s also important not to rush into running when you’re pregnant. If you weren’t running consistently before, try using a walk-run method. Try running for 1 minute then walking for 5 minutes, repeating this cycle for 30 minutes. A good rule-of-thumb on how to gauge how intense your exercise is the “talk test.” If you’re breathing so hard that you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re going too fast or too hard. Take it down a notch!
Fuel yourself properly - where you would’ve attempted some “fasted cardio” before, pregnancy isn’t the time for it. Grab a small snack before you head out the door, and make sure you’re getting enough calories to support your baby and your new running habit!
Stay hydrated (and hang in there for all the bathroom breaks) - You need more water as a pregnant woman than you did before. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of water on your run, taking swigs every now and then, especially when it’s hot outside. Yes, that probably means you’ll have to stop to go to the bathroom more than normal, but that’s pregnancy, right?
Pick the right gear - yes, we’re talking clothes and shoes! Invest in good maternity clothes that will support your bump while you run. Trust us, this is a lifesaver as your bump grows! You also need to protect “the girls” by wearing a high-impact sports bra or a tank with a built-in bra. Next up, shoes. Your feet might grow and swell along with that bump, so make sure your shoes fit correctly, and that they don’t have a tapered toe-box. A shoe with plenty of room in the toe box lets your feet do their thing without being constricted.
You might need a support band - there’s a very small (2-3 inches long) ligament that holds your uterus in place. It stretches - and stretches - until it’s more than 10 inches long! When your belly is bouncing during your run, you might feel sharp pains on the right side that may leave you sore the next day. This is called round ligament pain. A maternity support band can help alleviate this pain. (Mumband belly support, built-in to all Mumberry clothing, has been shown to help decrease this pain in pregnant women! Get yours by shopping our supportive maternity collection!)
Watch your step - as you hit the third trimester (and maybe sooner) your center of gravity is changing, making you more prone to falling. Run on level surfaces and always be cautious!
You might be slower - you’re running for two now, which means your body is already working hard. Challenge yourself, but do yourself a favor and give yourself a break if you’re not up to your pre-pregnancy workouts anymore. Pregnancy is a time to nourish, love, and strengthen your body, not the time to set new PR’s.
Know when it’s time to try something else - if you’re unusually exhausted, fatigued, sore, and uncomfortable during or after your runs, consider switching to another, lower-impact form of exercise like an at-home workout video, prenatal yoga, pilates, or walking!
Lastly, if you’re scared about running during pregnancy (or exercising in general,) it’s important to remember the benefits that it has for you and your baby! Improved mood, improved mental focus and clarity, avoiding excess weight gain, a smart and healthy baby, and help losing the pregnancy weight after delivery are just a few of the many benefits! Now that you’re armed with all of this new knowledge, lace up your shoes, grab your water bottle, and hit the pavement, mama!