Pregnancy brings on all sorts of questions from friends to family to complete strangers on the street. Add running into the picture and the questions multiply.
Running during pregnancy is a curious topic because it's not everyday you see a woman 9 months pregnant wogging (waddle-jogging) down the street in this town. These days many women continue to run and exercise during pregnancy. Just not around here...
These are the real reasons behind HOW and WHY I continue to run (and strength train) through pregnancy. And how it's not as crazy as it sounds!
Disclaimer: There is no shame in NOT running during pregnancy! Any form of pregnancy-safe exercise is beneficial as long as it is approved by your doctor or midwife and it is comfortable for you. This post is sharing my personal experience and IS NOT intended as medical advice!
How I'm Still RunningConsistency. If you were a regular runner pre-pregnancy, continuing your running routine during pregnancy is safe as long as you are approved by your doctor or midwife. The key is to be consistent. Being consistent with weekly workouts has helped my body to gradually adapt to pregnancy changes and support my growing belly.
Support Belt. The <affiliate link> Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Support Belt is a life-saver when it comes to running during pregnancy. It provides great belly and back support while I run. I haven't ran without wearing mine since mid-second trimester! I have used the same support belt running through both pregnancies and it's worth the investment.
Low and Slow. Low mileage, low intensity, slower pace. What the numbers end up being all depends on you personally and your pregnancy. My runs are 2 to 3 miles, four times per week. My average pace is now between 10:30 to 11:30 per mile and I take walk breaks as needed. Despite moving at a slower pace, maintaining a running cadence around 180 strides per minute does make running more comfortable!
Hydrate Well. Being an active pregnant woman means you need to drink more water than sedentary pregnant women. Livestrong recommends that pregnant women drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every hour of light activity. Dehydration can cause preterm labor, constipation and bladder infections in late pregnancy!
One Day at a Time. Take pregnancy one day at a time - one run at a time - and to listen to your body. My mindset is that each run could be the last run of this pregnancy. I have no expectations of running through a certain date. There is no shame in walking, choosing another low-impact exercise option or just taking a nap!
Why I'm Still RunningI feel better when I do. Pregnancy does make it harder to for me to get out the door early in the morning. My motivation comes from knowing how I feel once I get moving and how great I feel post-workout. Exercising gives me extra energy and I feel like I have a little extra stamina to chase our toddler throughout the day.
Running feels natural. With a big belly and 20 additional pounds on my frame, I don't look particularly graceful but my legs remember what they're doing and moving feels really good. Because my body was well-adapted to running before pregnancy, running while pregnant still feels natural to me.
Eased pregnancy discomforts. Exercising has helped to ease the discomforts of pregnancy from morning sickness and insomnia to constipation and fatigue. Staying fit and keeping a strong core also helps to reduce pregnancy back pain.
Endurance for labor and delivery. Labor and delivery are a huge test of endurance. In my first pregnancy, staying in shape gave me extra endurance for labor and delivery and I know it will help with baby #2, too. Labor may be longer this time - who knows what Baby has planned - and staying fit will certainly help with whatever lies ahead.
More Pregnant Running Resources:
The Benefits of Running While Pregnant at Active.com
What You Should Know About Running While Pregnant by Amber Kuiper
What is your favorite form of exercise, pregnant or not?
Linking up at Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.