Staying active during pregnancy can be beneficial in that it helps you feel better, prepares you for labor, childbirth and recovery after birth, gives you more energy and confidence and even helps you sleep, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If you are a runner, running may be a healthy way for you to maintain physical activity throughout your pregnancy, but always get your doctor’s approval before hitting the pavement.
Generally, if you have been running previous to becoming pregnant, you are in the clear to continue running once you become pregnant and throughout the pregnancy. If you have pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and body aches, modify your current running routine by slowing down or running for a shorter period of time. Some women with conditions such as high blood pressure may be advised not to run at all. Take your doctor’s suggestions about how, when and how long to exercise.
While your doctor may approve running, it is important to pay attention to your body and stop if you get overheated. When your body heats up to temperatures above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, your baby could be harmed and birth defects become a possibility. Do not run too hard or in weather that is too hot. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your run to keep you hydrated and cool.
When to Stop
Signs that indicate you need to stop running immediately include dizziness, abdominal or vaginal pain, bleeding, chest pain, contractions, shortness of breath, headache, blurred vision and fluid leaking from your vagina. These symptoms occasionally indicate a serious condition such as preterm labor or high blood pressure, so call your doctor if you experience them.
If you find that running doesn’t suit you during pregnancy, you can do plenty of other exercises. Walking is often suggested because it is low impact and your risk of falling and injuring your abdomen is low. Swimming is another oft-suggested exercise because it can make you feel weightless and take pressure off your joints and back, relieving back pain. Your fitness center may have classes specifically designed for pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga or step aerobics, which are alternatives to running that can keep you active without straining your body too much.