Time was that pregnant women were forbidden all sorts of activities in the apprehension of what they could mean for the expectant mother and baby. Time was that running and pregnancy would have been a great big no-no.
Now however we know how tremendously resilient a woman’s body can be, whether during pregnancy or at any other time and how capable it is to withstand not just running and pregnancy, but a whole lot besides.
Who can run during pregnancy?
The rule of thumb is that any woman, who was used to running or jogging before her pregnancy, can easily continue to do so. As long as a woman has a normal, low-risk pregnancy (she can confirm with her health care provider that this is so and that it is safe to run) she can continue most if not all her pre-pregnancy activities.
When is running and pregnancy not advisable?
If a woman is not used to running on a regular basis, pregnancy is not the time to start a running regimen. This is because the body may not be used to the vigorous activity and may have some issues with overheating.
The issue of the body overheating (core temperature getting elevated) is a serious one particularly during the first trimester when the baby’s vital organs are being formed.
Elevated temperatures can result in malformations or defects. This is the same reason that pregnant woman are advised to be wary of hot tubs, or a fever of any kind particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy.
What about marathon or triathlon running and pregnancy?
Most experts advise that though a moderate running regimen is perfectly fine for a woman used to running regularly, something as physically demanding and training for a marathon or a triathlon is best postponed a bit till the end of a pregnancy.
Firstly there is the issue of overheating of the core body temperature that could cause fetal abnormalities. And secondly the chance of injury is greater during the pregnancy. Not only is the body weight increased during this time, the ligaments of the joints such as the ankles and knees soften and loosen, increasing chances of getting injured. There is also the fact that a large belly, later in pregnancy alters the center of gravity and makes a woman more prone to falls.
Some useful tips for running and pregnancy:
Use good support
The shoes should be of a good quality and offer adequate support for the ankles as well as shock absorption for running. A quality bra that offers extra support is also a must for running during pregnancy.
Drinking plenty of water to replenish fluid lost through sweating is also very important.
Listen to your body
When it comes to running and pregnancy, remember to listen to your body. When it gets too much for the body to manage the large belly and the physical stress of running it will probably sending out a signal which the woman should know to listen to. The extra weight and abdominal pressure during the last weeks of pregnancy may make it really difficult if not impossible to continue.