Running safely during pregnancy is completely possible if you are in decent shape, or were running before you got pregnant. You don’t have to stop running just because you are pregnant. During the first trimester, running may be the last thing on your list, but I was able to pick up my running again with my third baby in my second trimester. Running can be an awesome way to keep your heart rate up, give you a huge boost in energy, and ultimately combat the fatigue and cravings that happen so easily while pregnant. Now that I am just 12 weeks into my fourth pregnancy, I am dreaming of running again. I stopped running about 6-7 weeks pregnant because I just felt so tired and sick. Around 8 weeks I couldn’t workout or even go walking until a few days ago. Now, I’ve been gathering up my energy and strength by walking 2-3 miles a day to start getting ready to run again.
*Update! At 19 weeks pregnant, I get to sneak out and run every once in a while, and I can run about 2 miles. It isn’t like it used to be, but because I’ve been building my strength back up, and doing cardio workouts at home, I can jump out and go almost any chance I get!
Running is an amazing way to stay in shape, or even burn fat during pregnancy. Running burns a lot of calories, tones your muscles and gives you a boost of energy. I’m assuming if you are reading this, you were running before pregnancy, or have learned to love running at some point. Most pregnant mamas have no desire to take up running if they were never a runner. If you haven’t been running at all prior to pregnancy, you may need to go super slow. In general, it is recommended to keep doing what you were doing before pregnancy, not jump into any brand new workout plans. This is because your body is used to that activity, making you less prone to injury and over exertion.
Important tip to remember when running during pregnancy:
Overexertion is really important to avoid during any pregnancy workout, especially later in pregnancy. As you begin your workout routine, or running, keep in mind your exertion levels. For example a leisurely walk might be a 1 or 2 exertion level. A sprint as fast as you can for more than 30 seconds would be a 10. Going past a 7 is usually not a good idea for a longer workout. Of course you know your body and fitness level, but keep this in mind as you start jogging, so you know when you might need to take a walking break.
Is running during pregnancy really safe?
First off, yes. Especially if you were running before you got pregnant. Most doctors advise that you can continue your fitness activities that you were doing before you got pregnant. If you were not a runner at all, and for whatever reason pregnancy has made you decide to become a runner, you can still do it carefully.
Running is going to be super uncomfortable at first, and you will need to know how to calibrate your exertion level because heart rate monitors are inaccurate during pregnancy. This is what I go over in my program, so you can really push yourself during your workouts, yet know when to stop. Becoming more winded and out of breath is also common during pregnancy. If you are going to start running again, you need to work at a level that allows you to get enough oxygen, but challenges your heart a bit.
How to start running during pregnancy:
Here’s what I want you to do if you are going to either start running again, or take up running during pregnancy. I want you to set out at a walk. Then pick up a jog that keeps you at a conversation pace. This means you could jog with someone and chat with them next to you. If this is super, super slow, no big deal. The goal is to get your body used to jogging, but keep your heart rate and breathing manageable. Stick to this pace as long as you can.
If you are a beginner, this might feel okay for 2-5 minutes. Decide how long it feels okay, then allow yourself to walk for half the time you jogged. This gives you a break, then jog for the 2-5 minutes again. Doing intervals is a great way to build up your endurance, and make time go by much faster .
If you can jog and hold a conversation pace for more than 20 minutes, then you can add faster speeds into your jog. For example, jog for 2 minutes, pick up the pace for 2 minutes, jog for 2 minutes…and go forward that way. This will help keep your exertion level in check, but still allowing you to challenge yourself.
Once you have a starting place, you can add faster intervals into your jogs to help you safely increase speed. If you want to go over 20 minutes, stay at your conversation pace for 5 minutes, then go faster for 2 minutes, then back to 5 minutes. This will help you save your energy to make it for a longer run.
Strength workouts are very important if running during pregnancy:
Make sure you do some strength training a few days a week to protect your joints. You don’t need to add much weight, but you do need to keep your muscles active, engaged and used to ensure they can protect your joints. Lunges, squats, hip thrusts and glute work are super important to protect your knees and hips, and for keeping your pelvic floor strong too! My program is strength-based with walking. This allows any mama to be able to jump in and stay fit in a short amount of time. Strength is very important during pregnancy because your ligaments are much loser. When ligaments are loser, joints and muscles can get out of place easier. By adding in more strength work, you can protect your joints, especially hips and knees, so you can enjoy running or walking.
The Belly-Only pregnancy fitness program is a specific program for pregnant mamas looking to stay as fit and healthy as possible while pregnant. This program is also designed to prepare you for labor, as well as protect your core and pelvic floor for after baby. I’ve had three babies, and I wish I did a program like this! I was able to gain minimal weight during all three of my pregnancies, and lose it all within a few months because of my diet, but I didn’t focus on the repair work my muscles needed to recover and heal! That is why I first created my postpartum program, The Postpartum Cure. After popular demand, and many requests for a pregnancy program, I now created this program for mamas wanting to do some prep-work, eat clean and gain minimal weight while pregnant!
I have a very specific pregnancy diet plan that is actually super simple, yet the key to gaining minimal weight while pregnant. As a certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, I studied the massive benefits of nutrition during pregnancy for both mamas and babies. I included lots of recipes in this program to help you feel motivated and full of ideas to eat healthy.
The hardest part of running during pregnancy:
Your bladder. This can get super annoying later in pregnancy because your bladder can only hold so much. This is where you will need to run where there are bathrooms. Keep this in mind as you head into the third trimester especially. Don’t slow down on drinking your water. You need lots of water to keep you from swelling, especially if you are working out. As running can get more difficult, it is a great idea to alternate running and walking, or running and the elyptical machine to keep your joins and pelvic region from too much pressure.
A belly-band can really help:
There can be a lot of pressure from your belly as you get farther along. There are some great belly bands and supportive active pants that can really make running feel a lot more comfortable.
Grabbing a good, supportive band can alleviate and hip pain, back pain and support your belly as you get larger. Preventing injury and pain is really important, so you can continue staying active and fit through the whole pregnancy.
Do not just go running in any workout shoes. If you are going to be adding up the mileage, running shoes are really important. They are going to support your joints, hips and shins. All experienced runners know the impact a good pair of shoes can gave, so please don’t skip this step. I have bought the wrong pair of shoes before, mostly because I was trying to spend less, and I ended up in pain. You can find a good pair of shoes around the $60-70 mark, and sometimes the off colors will be on sale on Amazon. If you have a high arch, make sure you get good support.
If you feel any pelvic pain during running, stop:
As your joints become loose, things move around easier and you can feel more pain. Don’t run if you feel any pain at all. It isn’t worth it. Walk fast, find some stairs and have a back up plan ready. Walk up hills too. This is a great way to get your heart rate up with limited impact on your joints!
Recover With Good Nutrition:
I always recover with a protien shake. These are so helpful to getting in fast nutrition after your workout, so you don’t binge on a craving later. Plus, this protein powder tastes amazing, and the complete pregnancy blend is coming soon.
Running during pregnancy is a healthy way to stay in shape and monitor weight gain. There is a lot more to having a fit pregnancy, including diastasis recti prevention, pelvic floor work and strength too, which I have all ready to go for you in my program. Your nutrition is also extremely important. None of your workouts matter one bit if you aren’t making good choices in the kitchen. I would much rather you go to the grocery and buy all the fruits and vegetables you can, than go for a run. Nutrition is HUGE! Don’t forget that part, and keep up with your running and walking, and you will have a fantastic, healthy and energetic pregnancy.