Iâ€™ve gotten A LOT of hits from people looking for information about running during pregnancy. I guess theyâ€™re facing the same social stigma that Iâ€™ve been facing â€“ pregnant women are supposed to â€œtake it easyâ€. If youâ€™re a running enthusiast (like me) â€œtaking it easyâ€ can simply be reducing your mileage and your running intensity. If you were not already a runner, then strating a running program during pregnancy is not a good idea. Anyways, while perusing the ‘net I found this great article. I’ve copied and pasted it into my extended entry:
RUNNING WITH BABY ON BOARD
Running is one of the most natural forms of exercise so thereâ€™s no reason why you canâ€™t continue â€“ or even start running – when youâ€™re pregnant.
Overall, running while pregnant is a safe activity which many women continue and enjoy, with some refinement, throughout their pregnancy. Typically we exercise to lose weight and to tone our bodies but a pregnant woman needs to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy, therefore, exercise needs to be adjusted accordingly. Importantly, the goal of exercise while pregnant should be to maintain a sense of well being and fitness, not to curb weight gain or competitively train.
When running listen to your body – it will tell you when enough is enough. Thereâ€™s no reason to limit the duration of exercise or target heart rate in pregnancy, but itâ€™s important to be aware that your level of energy and reserves will slowly decline as pregnancy progresses, and therefore, there may be a need to alter your training accordingly.
There can be some complications in pregnancy so you should consult your doctor to make sure exercise is safe for you.
Experts agree that exercise in moderation during pregnancy has many benefits, as long as the pregnancy is without complications and both mother and baby are healthy. While studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy may experience shorter labour, less distress to the baby and fewer Caesarean deliveries, the most important benefit woman experience is on overall feeling of well being. Women who exercised during pregnancy have reported feeling an enhanced self-image, a reduction in minor discomforts of pregnancy, and fulfilment of their need for exercise.
Even if youâ€™re not a runner, thereâ€™s no reason why you canâ€™t start once youâ€™ve become pregnant, firstly though discuss this with your doctor. If youâ€™re starting to run to improve your health during pregnancy itâ€™s important that you start off slowly. Check out our beginnerâ€™s guide to running in Starting Out for some tips on beginner to run.
Whether youâ€™re a seasoned or a new runner follow these guidelines to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby:
- If youâ€™re a regular runner, the experts say you should be able to follow your usual programme to a certain extent. Your programme will need modifying as your pregnancy develops and depending on how you feel yourself. Listen to your body – if it says rest then rest!
- Exercising to breathlessness can signal that not enough oxygen is getting to the baby â€“ remember take it easy!
- Drink plenty of fluids â€“ even though youâ€™ll be running to the loo even more than normal itâ€™s important that you donâ€™t dehydrate.
- Wear comfortable running shoes with strong ankle support and keep to flat ground â€“ this will help reduce injuries and ankle sprains.
- If cross-training by weight training donâ€™t use weights which will put pressure on your back and remember to include stretching and relaxing before and after your exercise.
Most of the same practices that apply when not pregnant are appropriate when expecting your baby. Because of the increased needs of the developing baby, you should be particularly careful to maintain an adequate and healthy diet. In addition to the increased caloric needs of your specific exercise regime, an additional 300 calories per day are required to meet the metabolic needs of pregnancy.
The risk of dehydration is increased during exercise while pregnant, placing you and your child at greater risk of increasing body temperatures to dangerous levels so remember to drink lots of fluids.
During early pregnancy tiredness and â€˜morning sicknessâ€™ are common, however some people find that running can actually help, whether this is down to the fresh air or that simply running takeâ€™s your mind off it, people do find it helps. During your later stages of pregnancy you may feel at your best but youâ€™ll also be conscious of the extra weight youâ€™re carrying, therefore, running may not be so appealing. At this time, you should slow down or try some different activities such as swimming or walking.
Experts recommend that women return to exercise after four to six weeks depending on how they feel. Many women who have trained regularly pre-pregnancy find it difficult when they start running again. Remember it will take time for your body to adjust so again let your body set the pace.
Happy running! May the wind be at your back and your gatorade cool and sweet. May your path be free of dogs and bicycles…