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Running For Two

running-stretch-300wGuidelines for Pregnant Runners

If you were running before becoming pregnant, you don't need to stop just because you're expecting. That being said, it depends on if you qualify with a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. Being at risk for certain medical conditions can halt even seasoned runners from running during pregnancy. Discuss your health and running schedule with your midwife or health care provider as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Where Should You Run?

If you are going to keep running, your belly and all, where is it safe to run? It is suggested you run on even terrain, avoiding hills. Running on a track can keep you close to your car when you need to call it quits. Because of the increased pressure on your bladder, it's a good idea to plan your outdoor runs around a bathroom stop (or two!). As your center of gravity changes later on in pregnancy, your abdomen gets bigger so you're at a greater risk for falls. It is recommended that you try running indoors on a treadmill during the second and third trimesters. As a seasoned runner you know that different muscles are used on the treadmill so adjust your mileage accordingly.

What Should You Wear?

Since you are an experienced runner you know what to wear. Before pregnancy you might have been smaller in the bust area; now here you are with swollen and possibly tender breasts. You need to wear a supportive sports bra. Invest in a supportive belly band. Worn underneath your clothes, it supports your back and belly and gives you an instant lift. If it is time for new shoes run out and get some right away (pun intended). It won't be long and your wicking running clothes may no longer fit. Remember that controlling your body temperature is more important than ever, and you don't want to overheat. Here are links to online stores with maternity active-wear: http://www.fitmaternity.com/  http://www.bellybra.com/  http://www.fit2bmom.com/

Don't Forget Your Basics

  • Warm-up, cool down, stretch well afterwards.
  • Make sure you are well hydrated before, during and after the run and if you can run in the coolest part of the day.
  • Check your heart rate periodically. Stay in the safe target zone you discussed with your midwife or other health professional.
  • If you're going for an outdoor run, always let someone know your route and when you expect to return. Try not to run in isolated areas or on high-traffic routes if you're running on the street. Safety should be your top priority, so bring a cell phone in case of an emergency or always run with a buddy.

When Should You Call It Quits?

Listen to your body day to day. When running for two you've got more weight to carry, less ability to breathe deeply, and more than yourself to think about. It can be hard to stop doing something you love. If running is your passion and you've done it for years, it may be difficult to hang up your shoes and turn to walking, swimming, or a stationary bike. As your belly gets larger you might try a run/walk combination. The bottom line, your body will probably let you know when it is time to quit and embrace the weeks ahead with a lower-impact aerobic exercise. You never know, you just might discover another passion for your cross-training days again after baby. Most importantly, don't get frustrated with your running abilities while pregnant. Remember that your body is hard at work developing your little one, so while you may not be able to run as long or as fast as you used to, after your baby is born, you'll soon be able to get back on the running wagon.

What Are The Risk Factors To Look For?

If pregnant runners see that their heart is beating very fast, if there is shortness of breath or any bleeding, they should stop. If there is any tightening in your abdomen (contractions), leakage of fluid, fatigue, or dizziness, it's time to stop! You really need to be in tune that you are now a mom-to-be, running for two, and know when enough is enough and not to push yourself. Be sure to read Keys of Safe Pregnancy Exercise.  CREATE LINK