Is Running During Pregnancy OK?

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Dec 4, 2014

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Exercise in pregnancy has numerous benefits, both physical and emotional — but whether running during pregnancy is safe depends on your level of fitness going into your pregnancy.

Can you start running during pregnancy?

You shouldn’t. If you are not accustomed to running, taking it up as a new form of exercise during pregnancy isn’t advisable; it’s better to stick to brisk walking, which is one of the best and safest pregnancy exercises. Walking during pregnancy is highly recommended by physicians and qualified, professional fitness trainers.

Can you continue running during pregnancy?

If running has been part of your regular exercise routine, then you can continue running during pregnancy — but with extra attention and care. Running is a high-impact activity and puts pressure on joints, which may be already weakened from the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy.

Like all forms of exercise during pregnancy, running should also be charted through a program that reduces the level of intensity each trimester.

1st trimester of running during pregnancy 

For a pregnant runner, overheating is a major concern during the first trimester. If your core temperature gets too high, it can cause problems for the baby; hence, it is very important to keep your body temperature in the normal range by drinking small and continuous sips of water while running. These sips will also help keep you hydrated (dehydration decreases the blood flow to the uterus and can cause premature contractions).

Wearing a good quality sports bra to support your growing breasts is advised. It is also essential to wear running shoes that are comfortable and provide the necessary level of support to your soles, arches and ankles.

2nd trimester of running during pregnancy

Before continuing your running while pregnant in the second trimester, it is important to consult with a doctor to ensure that your cervix is stable and strong. If your cervix is weak, do not continue running while pregnant.

Beyond running, however, it becomes increasingly important for your fitness regimen to strengthen your core muscles and lower back. During the second trimester, your centre of gravity begins to shift slowly, causing your posture to curve forward (known as lumbar lordosis). Strong core and back muscles will help you maintain balance as your weight increases.

Also, ensure that you are getting enough calcium and iron through food and, if necessary, supplements (if recommended by your physician).

3rd trimester of running during pregnancy

During the third trimester, jogging or brisk walking are safer options than running. Above all, do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. It’s easier in these months to become overtaxed: Your breathing rate naturally increases, as your body carries a higher volume of blood and thus, oxygen. Strenuous physical exercise places an even bigger strain on the body for oxygen, taking it away from your baby.

Furthermore, your heart rate naturally increases by 30 to 50% during pregnancy; overtaxing yourself can put serious strain on your heart. For all of these reasons, running during pregnancy in the third trimester is not generally recommended. Instead, consider a less strenuous pregnancy exercises such as yoga, walking or swimming.

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Written By Neville Wadia

Neville Wadia is a qualified Exercise Professional from Fitness Australia and a postgraduate MBA in Entrepreneurship. He specialises in exercise prescription, rehab, prehab, and working with special populations. He is also a qualified Master Rehab Trainer from Rehab Trainer Institute in Australia. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Altitude Synergy, and is passionate about elite sports training and disseminating health and wellness knowledge and advice in India.

See all articles by Neville

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