For most healthy women, it is safe and beneficial to run throughout pregnancy provided that it is at a moderate level of exertion, lasting for 30 minutes or less and does not result in vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, painful contractions.
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.
Is it Safe to Run during Pregnancy?
Yes, For most healthy women, it is safe and beneficial throughout pregnancy provided that it is at a moderate level exertion, last for 30 minutes or less.
According to ACOG
"Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risks and have been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements"
Benefits to Walking during pregnancy
There are many benefits to walking including:
- Keeps your heart strong and your muscles toned. “A stronger mom will have an easier time meeting the demands of motherhood,” says Liz Neporent, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, and author of Fitness Walking for Dummies (IDG).
- May help you have a shorter, easier labor.
Burns calories, which helps prevent excess weight gain.
Keeps your body fit, which offers protection from gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- You’ll have an easier time exercising after you have the baby, “because you’ll already have an exercise routine in place,” says Debbie Rocker, a personal trainer and fitness expert, who specializes in walking workouts. Anyone can do it, “and it’s something you can do just for yourself before you have to focus on your baby,” Neporent says.
Tips for running during pregnancy
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!
Why is it important to drink more water while running
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.
Why does my bump hurt when I run?
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!)
Is it safe to run in my third trimester?
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!
Can I run as fast during my pregnancy?
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.
When Should I stop running during my pregnancy?
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!