Can I Run While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Table of Contents

Running While Pregnant

Table of Contents

Hear, hear all new mamas! Pregnancy needs you to stay active so that you can boost your energy, reduce the risks of pregnancy complications, and improve your overall mood. Now, when you think of all the ways you could stay active, do you wonder whether running while pregnant is safe? Well, running is an extremely high-intensity activity which is why you might be skeptical about trying it.

Here is some good news, however. You don’t need to hang up your running shoes but before you hit your track you need to know a few more things about running when pregnant.

Can You Run While Pregnant?

Your family and well-wishers might warn against running, questioning whether its intensity could include early labor or worse lead to some other pregnancy complications. If you are constantly facing these fears then you might turn cautious and completely stop running.

While this advice is usually with good intentions, the truth is that running can be a safe exercise during pregnancy. It won’t harm your baby and lead to miscarriage. That said, you need to make sure you take certain precautions and keep an ear out to listen to your body.

Of course, pregnancy will have some effect on your daily workout routine such as slowing down your regular pace or modifying the way you run. But you definitely do not have to stop doing what you have been doing so far.

Can Non-Runners Run During Pregnancy?

Now you might be wondering if you could run during pregnancy if you haven’t been running before. If you were not exercising before being pregnant, incorporating some workout routines in your daily life would be a good choice but remember pregnancy is not the time to “start” running.

While being pregnant your body is already going through massive changes and working harder. When you start an intense workout session during this time it could add to excessive physical stress which may not be ideal.

Instead, you could choose lighter workouts such as walking, gentle aerobics, yoga, or using an elliptical machine or a treadmill at a slower pace. To develop a routine, remember to begin slowly and then gradually increase the intensity and length of your chosen workouts. For instance, walk 5 minutes every day and then increase the time to 10 minutes then 20 minutes, and so on.

Fitness Goals During Pregnancy

In spite of being a beautiful experience, pregnancy can wreak havoc on your body. You will feel fatigued, mood swings, pregnancy brain fog, and naturally, the weight gain that we all dread. However, staying active during pregnancy is the ideal health booster that will uplift you mentally and physically.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that pregnant mamas should get “at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity that is moderately intense every week.” These aerobic activities will raise your heart rate and make you sweat out. If you were a physically active person before you got pregnant, staying active during pregnancy would be a piece of cake but of course without challenging workouts. Apart from having exhaustion, aches and pains, and morning sickness, make sure you do not overdo your expectations while exercising.

If you work out for 30 minutes every day for 5 days, you will meet the recommended 150 minutes of workout time. It is okay to spend this 30 minute time running but you could also opt to do other activities like walking, yoga, or swimming. All kinds of workouts during pregnancy will ease back pain, constipation, and fatigue. It will also promote healthy weight gain and lower preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

And the most important thing to happen when you exercise during pregnancy is that it will increase the production of endorphins in your body. These are feel-good hormones that are a must to elevate your mood and decrease stress. Exercising is thus a win-win as it helps you improve your mental and physical health.

Risks Of Running During Pregnancy

Now we know running is okay during pregnancy given you have taken into account all the precautions. Let’s dive deep into what these precautions are.

  • Change in center of gravity: Pregnancy changes your center of gravity which will affect your balance. Your belly has increased in size which will put you at the risk of falling if you run on uneven trails. To prevent such an accident, you should run on pavements such as a track at a local school or a sidewalk. Running flat surfaces will also be easier on your joints that are under pressure due to the increased weight.
  • Bouncing motion: Running when pregnant in your second and third trimester will be a tad bit uncomfortable with all the bouncing motion. You could wear a belly support band that will rein in this movement.
  • Overexertion: Remember that your ligaments and joints have become loose to prepare your pelvis for giving birth. This happens due to the release of a hormone called relaxin. This puts you in a position to get easily injured so it is best if you begin your workouts slowly and avoid those exercises that cause you discomfort.
  • Flexible workout routine: Your workout routine during pregnancy should be flexible and as you get closer to your due date you should not and you won’t be able to run as fast, long, or far.
  • Severe symptoms: Depending on your health, you might want to stop running altogether at one point in time which is completely okay. Give yourself time and begin running after you give birth even then only after giving your body time to heal. If you experience any signs such as chest pain, headaches, vaginal bleeding, muscle weakness, amniotic fluid leaks, or calf pain you must immediately stop running and get in touch with your OB-GYN.

8 Tips To Remember Running While Pregnant

Here are some tips to make running during pregnancy a comfortable and safe experience for you.

1. Good Running Shoes

You must have perfectly fit running shoes that will support your arches and ankles. Perfectly fit shoes are very important as they will keep your feet stable and will prevent you from injuries and falls. Body changes due to pregnancy will require you to buy some new shoes at one point in time.

2. Wear A Sports Bra

Your breasts will increase in size when you are pregnant which will make you uncomfortable. So invest in a supportive and good sports bra that will prevent breast pain when you run.

3. Wear Belly Band

Belly support bands will stabilize a growing belly which will ease discomfort and pain caused when your belly bounces while running. These support bands will also improve your posture and reduce pelvic pressure.

4. Hydration

Please hydrate! Your body needs plenty of water during pregnancy so remember to drink water before, during, and after your workouts. This will ensure that you are not dehydrated and overheated. Also, wear loose clothing and exercise indoors in your comfort zone to not over exceed yourself.

5. Listen To Your Body

Definitely, physical activity is important when you are pregnant but do not overdo it. If you overexert yourself or feel overtired then shorten or skip a workout. If running has become uncomfortable for you then switch to walking.

6. Include Strength Training

During pregnancy, you are prone to joint and muscle injury so you must incorporate strength training exercises to strengthen your joints and muscles. These exercises will include squats, lightweight lifting, and lunges.

7. Keep Near To Bathrooms

Remember to run in an area with access to public toilets or bathrooms as you might wanna pee now and then. Pregnancy’s extra weight adds pressure to your bladder which means you might want to urinate frequently. Map out a route that is closer to your home or in an area with public restrooms.

8. Maintain A Healthy Diet

You require extra calories when you normally exercise and if you are pregnant on top of it, you require extensive amounts of energy. To maintain that healthy diet, have a snack such as toast with nut butter or a piece of fruit before you start your routine. Also, refuel your workouts with one or two servings of proteins and carbohydrates and one serving of healthy fat.

Is It Safe To Run While Pregnant Final Conclusion

Exercising in general or running during pregnancy will add benefits to your mental and physical health. It reduces constipation, eases back pain, improves mood swings, and helps you to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.

As you near your due date, you must reduce exercising or running as it will become more difficult for you. Even if you are not able to keep up the same pace as before, you must not miss out on some physical activity. So instead of running or jogging, you could walk, swim or do other light exercises for about 30 minutes for 5 days every week.

Running While Pregnant FAQs

1) Can I start a couch to 5k while pregnant?

Couch to 5k is a running program developed by Josh Clark who wanted to make his mum get up from the couch and run. So, run but if you are pregnant do not race. If you notice your heart rate spiking then it means your baby's heart rate is racing too. If you struggle to breathe then so is your baby. So if you want to run a local 5k for fun then do so without putting unnecessary stress on your baby.

2) Which exercises should be avoided during pregnancy?

Any or all exercises that cause abdominal pain, even mild ones including activities with rapid changes or jarring motions should be avoided. Extensive jumping, skipping, hopping, or bouncing is a strict no-no. Deep knee bends, double leg raises, straight leg toe touches, and full sit-ups should also be avoided.

3) Can I do burpees while pregnant?

Burpees are the fundamental cross-fit move but its traditional form is not safe to be done during your 2nd or 3rd trimester. You can try a modified version as explained below.
  • Stand in front of an elevated surface such as a box, tall bench, or a wall. Keep your toes pointed outwards.
  • Drop a squat by keeping your weight on your heels and allowing the knees to bow a bit.
  • Do a pushup against the elevated surface when you are squatting. This makes one repetition.
  • Perform five sets of ten to twelve reps.
  • 4) Can running during pregnancy cause miscarriage?

    No running cannot cause a miscarriage. Exercises are good for your baby if your pregnancy is uncomplicated. Consult your OB-GYN if you have further doubts.

    5) Why is working out so hard in the first trimester of pregnancy?

    Exercising in your first trimester can be a tiring experience. The volume of blood that is pumped out by the heart every minute increases by five to six weeks of gestation. This is a major change that will cause symptoms like rapid heart rate, dizziness, and the feeling of not being able to deep breath.
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