As a personal trainer and as someone who hangs out in a LOT of running groups (I love to run!)The question I get asked all the time is "Can I run during pregnancy?",often followed by "did you see Amy Keil run the Boston Marathon?" The short answer is yes, you can run when you're pregnant, but there's a big BUT.
If you've been running prior to falling pregnant, it's generally safe for you to continue running provided you find it comfortable and pain free. It's a great idea to check with your doctor and midwife to rule out any reasons you shouldn't run.
I get it, running is fabulous, the endorphin rush, the fresh air, the challenge, the relaxation time, and the alone time are all really good reasons to continue on with our running regime, and I encourage you to listen to your body and make wise decisions.
Due to the changes in your body, you might find running more challenging, and feel that you get out of breath at a slower pace, or even earlier into your run. As your belly grows and your tiny human starts taking up more of your breathing space you might start finding it uncomfortable to run. Many women change up their exercise regime by the end of the first trimester, because it's uncomfortable.'
Now, here come the "buts"
Don't run through pain
When you're pregnant, your body produces a relaxin - a hormone that helps your ligaments to relax as you grow, and as you birth your baby. All good stuff. The trouble is this very flexibility that you need for pregnancy and birth isn't always so great when it comes to sports and exercise, you may find the increased laxity in your joints can lead to injuries, pelvic pain, incontinence, and aches and pains. These are all good reasons to re-consider your running.
Don't encourage your insides to make an escape bid for outside
The other reason that I advise my clients to re-consider running is that as your belly grows and as your tiny human grows there's a lot of stress placed on your core and pelvic floor. If you can imagine a baloon with a basketball in it, bouncing up and down, that's kind of what is going on with your pelvic floor the more you bounce, the more the balloon stretches, the less it stretches back while that ball is there.
All of this can lead to incontinence and prolapse. We don't want either of those things.
Exercising during your pregnancy has SO many benefits, and I encourage most of my clients to engage in a healthy, safe, exercise program. Sometimes that means changing things up for a little bit to keep you pain free and safe.
These are reasons you absolutely should NOT run during your pregnancy.
Yep. While exercise is safe and recommended for most pregnant women there are a few situations where you really shouldn't be exercising. The American College of Gynaecologists makes a list of absolute reasons not to exercise during pregnancy. These include:
- Unstable Blood Pressure,
- Restrictive Lung disease,
- Incompetent cervix and or a cervical stitch,
- Persistence 3rd trimester bleeding,
- Placenta previa (after 26 weeks) ,
- Premature labour,
- Ruptured membrane,
- And pregnancy induced hypo-tension (low blood pressure),
But Chloe, I want to run, can I run during pregnancy?
If you're going to insist upon running, assuming you have clearance from your doctor, then do listen to your body, stay hydrated, don't push through pain, and if something doesn't feel right, it's probably not right.
- Speak to your pelvic health physiotherapist.
- Consider support gear
- Insist on excellent, well fitting shoes (your feet may have changed shape and size)
- Accept that you're probably going to be slower
- Don't run during hot weather, or run indoors with air conditioning
I encourage you to exercise, running if it doesn't hurt or make you pee is a good way to get moving. However, if it doesn't feel right, it's probably not. Listen to your body, listen to your care providers and keep moving because you love yourself.
If you need to give up running for a little while, remember it will be waiting for you when you de-sprog (my fancy term for birthing your baby) and you can get your runner's high on again.