Staying active during pregnancy can increase your energy levels and reduce the risk of complications. But is it safe to run when you are pregnant?
Running when you are pregnant
When you think of different ways to be physically active, you may be wondering, is it safe to run during pregnancy? Running can be demanding training with varying intensity, so it is no wonder that you are in doubt whether you can continue with it during pregnancy. The good news is that you do not have to put your sneakers on the shelf, at least not yet.
Is it safe to run during pregnancy?
Well-meaning friends and family can warn against running when you are pregnant. Some may question whether the intensity can induce premature birth, or even worse, lead to pregnancy complications. Although this advice and concern come from a good place, the truth is that running is generally safe during pregnancy. Running will not cause miscarriage or harm your baby. So if you were a runner before pregnancy, it’s OK to continue running. That said, you may need to take some precautions.
What if you did not run before pregnancy?
If you did not exercise before pregnancy, it might be beneficial to include some form of physical activity in your daily routine. Pregnancy is not the time to start running. Your body is already working harder and undergoing many changes. Beginning an intense workout provides more physical stress, which is not ideal if you are not used to running from before. Instead, choose lighter activities, such as gentle aerobic exercise, walking, yoga, or a low-speed treadmill. To establish a workout routine, start slowly and gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. For example, walk 5 minutes a day, increase to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
What is the risk of running during pregnancy?
Although running is an excellent way to stay active during pregnancy, it can involve some challenges. Pregnancy changes your body so that you can cope with a shift in the center of gravity and balance as your stomach increases in size, which can put you at risk of falling and even more so if you run on uneven ground. To prevent an accident, you may want to run on the sidewalk. Running on even surfaces is also easier for the joints, which provides more comfortable and motivating running training. As your stomach gets more prominent in the second and third trimesters, the jumping movement when you run can be uncomfortable. However, wearing a tummy tuck band can reduce this movement.
Also, note that joints and ligaments become looser during pregnancy because your body produces the hormone relaxin to relax ligaments in your pelvis in preparation for childbirth. This hormone relaxes ligaments and joints in other parts of the body, giving you an increased risk of injury. It is best to start gradually and avoid workouts that cause discomfort. It is outstanding to adjust the training routine.
You may need to stop running completely, at least until after birth at some point in your pregnancy. Signs that you should stop running include headaches, chest pain, muscle weakness, vaginal bleeding, leg pain, or amniotic fluid leaks.
Tips for running safely while pregnant
Here are some tips to make running more accessible and safer while pregnant.
- Buy good running shoes. Your running shoes should fit well, support the ankles and arches under the foot, keep the feet stable, and prevent falls and injuries. Body changes during pregnancy can mean that you need new shoes at some point.
- Wear a sports bra. An increase in size during pregnancy, making running uncomfortable.
- Use a tummy tuck. These ligaments help stabilize a growing stomach, which can ease pain or discomfort caused by a bouncing stomach.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
- Listen to your body. Physical activity is essential during pregnancy, but do not overdo it. If you feel overworked or too tired, it is OK to skip or shorten a workout. If running becomes uncomfortable, walk instead.
- Include strength training. It would help if you integrated strength training exercises to strengthen your muscles and joints. These exercises include lunges, squats, and light strength training with the body as a load.
- Have a healthy diet. Your body needs extra calories when you exercise during pregnancy. To maintain your energy level during workouts, grab a snack before exercising. Eat foods with a high water content to stay hydrated. Eat well after exercise, with about one to two servings of carbohydrates and proteins and one serving of healthy fats.