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Running While Pregnant: Tips for Great Runs

Posted Jul 28 2008 7:14am

I thought I’d post about running while pregnant, since I spent the entire last pregnancy-up until the 35th or so week-running. Or, should I say wobbling by that point!

I worried for the first six months. I really thought that the jostling would do some type of damage, even though my doctor and the literature I read said otherwise.

It didn’t help that everyone I knew who didn’t run would look at me like I had three heads and say, “Won’t that damage the baby’s brain or something?”

When you are pregnant, you are paranoid. The two go hand in hand. So I worried. (Fast forward to today, one and a half years later. My daughter is fine. She’s developing normally and as we can tell her brain did not get squashed!)

Paula Radcliffetrained for a marathon during her pregnancy, picked it up two weeks after the birth of her daughter, and ran it pretty soon after that. Now, I don’t think I could have handled this type of training, but then again I’m not this type of runner. I’m in awe of what Paula can do when she isn’t carrying around a child in her womb!

There are some key things I learned to stay healthy and fit while running during my pregnancy.

1. Don’t try to increase too much, but try to maintain. If you are running four miles at a time, do four miles at a time for as long as you can comfortably do so. Don’t try to run a marathon when pregnant, unless your body is accustomed to long distance running (and then talk to you doctor first, of course, which brings me to number 2).

2. Talk to your doctor first. Your physician can alleviate any nervousness you have about maintaining your physical routine and can tell you if you have any adverse conditions that might make running while pregnant dangerous or not a great idea.

3. Remember your balance, or lack thereof, particularly when you get bigger. The only mishap I had was during my seventh or so month. As you may or may not know, your balance is off a bit when pregnant. I don’t know what happened-I believe I stepped on a twig or something-but I went down pretty hard. I had my hand out, so no belly hits, but it was scary, and I was shaken up for a while after that.

4. Hydrate. You are drinking for two. Keep up with the water intake.

5. Eat well. You need to think about running at this point as a fitness routine and not a weight loss method. If you are running to lose weight, stop it now! You need to take in enough calories to make up for what you are losing on top of feeding yourself and your baby, so factor this into the equation.

6. Think of the benefits! I didn’t get nearly as large with my second pregnancy because I ran the entire time. I didn’t do marathons; I didn’t even do halfs! Instead I focused on getting in half an hour at a time three days a week. My mileage decreased as I got bigger, but I still went out up until the very end, when I got so pregnant that I just didn’t feel so great. I also lost weight a lot more quickly, and I believe running while pregnant really helped with this. I was able to get back into a fitness routine fairly soon after giving birth.

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