Running is a great form of exercise and an excellent way to rejuvenate your body and mind. People who run report having more energy during the day and sleep better at night. It is an excellent way to stay in shape, but is it safe to do while pregnant?
If running is already a part of your routine, you’re probably wondering if you have to give it up once you become pregnant. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to retire your running shoes for nine months. But you also shouldn’t continue without speaking with your physician first.
Once you conceive, it’s important to speak with a health care professional before continuing or starting any exercise program so you can avoid over exerting yourself and confirm you are clear of any medical condition that could put you or your baby in harm’s way. Medical conditions that may deter you from running include pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, history of pre-term labour or miscarriage.
If no potential hazards are found, running while pregnant is quite safe and beneficial. Running while pregnant can:
- Prevent excess weight gain
- Reduce pregnancy related hypertension
- Increase energy levels
- Decrease anxiety levels
- Increase blood circulation and placental efficiency
While the benefits are plenty, there are some things you should keep in mind. Stretching, for instance, should be done cautiously because your ligaments are much softer now. Other things you should keep in mind when running pregnant include:
Increase water intake. It’s important to stay hydrated to avoid excess water retention, decrease fatigue, keep headaches at bay and most importantly keep your body from overheating (which is especially dangerous while pregnant).
Pace yourself. This is no time to push yourself to new limits. Continue running for health and wellness purposes only. In other words, that marathon you wanted to sign up for will just have to wait until after the baby’s born. Stop when your body says stop and take breaks as you need to.
Take the easy route. As your belly expands, your balance will dwindle. It’s therefore not a great idea to take your regular route through the woods or up and down hills. In fact, once you reach the second trimester, you may want to consider sticking to the treadmill at the gym.
Get the right gear. When you’re pregnant, it’s not just your abdomen that grows. Your feet grow and so do your breasts. You therefore may have to go up a running shoe size and get fitted for a new sports bra so you have the proper support.
Especially in the last trimester, you may feel out of breath more often due to the diaphragm not having as much room to move around and the heart having to pump harder due to increased blood circulation. It’s therefore important to listen to your body and slow down when you need to.
Running is an excellent form of exercise and many women are able to continue throughout their entire pregnancy. But, while there are many benefits, it is important to know the facts and to consult a physician before continuing in order to protect yourself and your baby.