Previously taboo, now running while pregnant is acceptable if you know what you’re doing. Staying active while pregnant protects the health of your baby, encourages growth and strengthens muscles that you’ll need during labour (the hardest workout of all). Here’s our guide to running while pregnant:
1) If you haven’t been running prior to becoming pregnant, now is not the time to take it up
Pregnancy is a time at which you want your body to be as comfortable as possible. If you’re accustomed to running frequently and it is a part of your regular fitness routine, you’ll be fine to continue during pregnancy. If you have aspirations to become a runner, wait until your baby is born and get a sitter before hitting the trails.
2) Pregnancy is not the time to train for a big race
If you have a race coming up, you may still be able to participate, depending upon which trimester it falls in. But you certainly should not be expecting a PB. Definitely talk to your doctor before heading to the start line.
3) Keep an eye on the temperature
Overheating can cause health problems for your unborn child, so making sure you head out the door in proper attire for the weather and adequately hydrated is extremely important while pregnant (ideally you make it a priority all the time, but we know things happen).
4) Don’t be surprised if Junior gets active with you
It is not unusual to experience increased kicking after you’ve exercised. Think of it as your baby getting some Ks in.
Eating healthfully is important for any runner, but making sure you’re properly fuelled during pregnancy is absolutely paramount. Many female runners will already experience low iron levels and this nutrient is essential to the development of a fetus. All mothers-to-be should increase their natural intake through food and talk to their doctor about whether or not a supplement is a good idea.
6) Watch for unexpected caffeine
It isn’t uncommon to find caffeine on the ingredient list of chews and gels that you may be used to popping on longer runs. Since caffeine should be avoided during pregnancy, be aware.
7) Stay close to home
Especially during the second and third trimester, it is a good idea to stick on roads close to home, or opt to run on a track or treadmill, so that you’re always close to a source of aid. During the second and third trimester, your bump will be quite big and can throw off your centre of balance, so stick to even and flat surfaces to avoid tripping.
All exercise that you do while pregnant (and it is a good idea to mix things up with swimming, prenatal yoga and strength training) should be at a moderated effort, even if you’re usually a fitness superstar.