Running during Pregnancy – Is It Harmful?
Exercising is very important for staying healthy and fit. However, running while pregnant is an exercise that demands caution. If you are pregnant, you need to know if it is safe to go jogging or running, and adhering to certain safety measures while running is always good.
Is Running Or Jogging Safe During Pregnancy?
Running and jogging are recommended during pregnancy but only if you are experienced. If you are already in the habit of running, take the required precautions, and have no complications in pregnancy, this can be a great exercise for you. It is, however, still recommended to consult your doctor before you resume running.
But if you have not run before and would like to start running during pregnancy, then that might be a tricky situation. Consult your doctor before you start anything at all. During pregnancy, a first-time runner may experience some discomfort that must not be ignored. If you are not an experienced runner, your doctor too may advise you against it as it gets difficult on the knees and the pelvic floor.
Can you have a miscarriage from running? Yes. A research study published in ‘New Scientist’ confirms that women who exercise or run for long periods in a day, without observing the necessary precautions, may experience a miscarriage. This is because running jostles the uterus thus increasing the risk of miscarriage.
How can I run safely while I am pregnant? The rules for running before or after pregnancy remain almost the same:
- When running, you must warm up and cool down properly.
- You must try to stay within your physical limits and not push too hard.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes made of breathable material.
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
What Is The Ideal Running Regime?
Your ideal running regime will vary at different stages of pregnancy. During the first trimester, since the weight gain is negligible, running with just basic precautions will not do your body any harm. Just stay away from overheating and stick to moderation. You must be more careful during the second and the third trimester. The stress on the knee and pelvic floor increases during this phase due to weight gain and other hormonal changes in the body.
While running in pregnancy 1st trimester, follow the tips listed below.
- Stay hydrated and drink lots of water before and after the run. Any weight loss after the run is due to fluids and must be replaced by drinking lots of water.
- Stay cool by wearing loose fitting clothes made of light material.
- To minimize skin darkening, protect your skin from the sun by using a good sunscreen.
- Wear good running shoes that give your feet good support and are cushioned well for shock absorption.
- Wear a supportive bra that can expand as and when the size of your breasts grows.
The first trimester is when your body is getting prepared for the baby to grow inside. Hence, running or jogging during early pregnancy is recommended as long as you keep the precautions in mind.
As your weight increases during the second trimester, it is important that you become careful about the change in balance while running in pregnancy 2nd trimester.
- Take a safe path for running to avoid falls and injuries.
- Do not run in secluded paths where medical assistance may be hindered, if required.
- Support your belly with a belly support band.
- Look out for any signs of discomfort and be ready to stop if necessary.
When running in pregnancy 3rd trimester, please keep these precautions in mind:
- It is advisable to be extremely sensitive to the needs of the body at this stage. Stress and fatigue can be harmful to both mother and baby.
- If you feel too tired to continue running at this stage, ensure you listen to your body and take a break
- It is recommended that you go walking instead of running during this phase of pregnancy.
What Are The Benefits Of Running When Pregnant?
Running is a good exercise for working up the heart and body. It gives you a physical and mental boost. Running or jogging can be a great way to stay fit if done in moderation and with a certain amount of precaution. Running or jogging also prevents gestational diabetes, alleviates back pain and postural pain caused by pregnancy, and, as a result, helps you sleep better.
Watch Out For These Warning Signs While Running in Pregnancy
It is important not to exhaust yourself during pregnancy to the extent of breathlessness. If you get breathless, you will end up using all the oxygen in your body and as a result, your baby will be deprived of oxygen. There are also some other warning signs that you must watch out for if you are running during pregnancy. Relax and take a break from running if you observe any of these signs:
- Pain in the joints or ligaments during or after running
- A feeling of exhaustion taking over after the run.
- Muscles beginning to feel sore, weak, and shaky.
- If your resting heart beat (ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute in adults) goes up by 10 beats from normal
- Feeling of dizziness.
- Experiencing chest pain, contractions, or vaginal bleeding
1. When to stop running during pregnancy?
You should stop running during pregnancy whenever you think that your body has stopped benefitting from the run. If you start feeling exhausted and experience breathlessness, it is time for you to stop running and take a break.
2. Can baby jiggle up and down while running?
Your baby is well encased in amniotic fluid that does not let the baby jiggle as you go about your daily activities, including running.
3. Should I maintain certain heart rate range?
No. As per recent research, pregnant women should only do workouts or running to the point that they don’t feel exhausted, not to achieve a target heart rate range.
4. Is there any need to wear support belt?
It differs from person to person. If you think that your growing belly needs extra support, then a support belt is recommended. Try one and see if it works for you.
5. Will I need any special gear, clothing or shoes while running?
You don’t necessarily need to change your shoes if they are comfortable and don’t hurt. It also depends on how much weight you have gained. If your shoes can balance your weight, then there is no need to change your running shoes. But if it is otherwise, then you may have to buy yourself a new pair.
Running clothes, on the other hand, must be lighter even during cold weather to avoid overheating. A flip-belt around the waist to carry water is fine during the first trimester, but after that it gets uncomfortable.
A sports bra is highly recommended for all who wish to run during pregnancy. It will continue to expand with the increasing size of your breasts.
6. Can baby kick and move while running?
It depends from person to person and from baby to baby. In some cases, the baby does occasionally kick and move while the mom-to-be is running, while sometimes they don’t.
7. Can running make labour and delivery easy?
There is no confirmation on this. As per studies, the only conclusive finding is that if you stay fit and healthy throughout the pregnancy, then it will be beneficial in recovering from child birth.
You can give in to your love of running even while you are pregnant, keeping in mind that you must listen to your body and stop when it becomes uncomfortable. Keeping these few simple tips in mind is sure to make your pregnancy a healthy and happy one.
Also Read: Walking during Pregnancy