That photo above is me running in my first trimester (feeling nauseated but determined).
I’ll just get to the point though, y’all: You would not BELIEVE the amount of people who message me on Instagram and tell me I shouldn’t run because “it can’t be safe for the baby.” Here are some stellar examples:
- You’ll hurt yourself, won’t you? Carrying that weight and running?
- Maybe you should wait until at least 28 weeks. Preterm labor before then comes with a lower chance of survival for the baby.
- Does that put you in danger of a miscarriage?
Alright, universe – you get your answers, and you’ll also get a little bit of my third trimester attitude (deal with it).
Running while pregnant, under the care and knowledge of a medical professional (in my case, my doctor), is not only acceptable but healthy.
That’s the short answer. I know; shocking. Really, though – the fact that people think I’m engaging in activity that could potentially harm my unborn child need a smack.
It’s true that working out during pregnancy may not be for everyone. Unfortunately, women who have had complications in past pregnancies or are considered high risk in their current pregnancy may get a “no” to working out. The key here is that they are working with their health professional team on the best option for them, just like I did.
When I had my first appointment, I asked my doctor about running. Her response is that since I have been running for years, there isn’t a reason to stop or cut down. However, she cautioned against increasing my mileage. I registered for a marathon before my surprised pee-stick, and low and behold, I gave that up based on her advice. I have never run a marathon, and the strain it could put on my body as a first-timer could pose a risk for both mom and baby.
I’m proud to say, though, that I have run every week of my pregnancy. The first trimester was by far the most trying because I could barely stay awake long enough to eat, let alone get miles in. I always felt better, more energized, and less nauseated after my runs. So I made them a priority and I am glad I did!
Here’s the thing. If you’re having a healthy pregnancy and if your doctor tells you that you can (and perhaps should) continue your typical fitness routine, there are some wonderful benefits:
- Healthier weight gain. In my first pregnancy, I gained 53 lbs. I was not a runner yet; I didn’t even workout at all. I took advantage of my couch and I didn’t care what I put into my body (so I filled it with two pies per week lolol). This time, I am on track to gain about 40 lbs. Thirteen lbs may not seem like a huge difference, but it sure is for me.
- Better health in general. Last time, I failed my glucose test the first time and my rings didn’t fit after five months. I ate so much salty food and didn’t move that I swelled. Seven months into the game and my rings are still on, no swelling, better blood pressure, and I passed my glucose test #likeaboss.
- More endurance and energy. I’m going to be 31 weeks pregnant this weekend and I still clean, cook, and get my miles in. I get tired; sure – but as a distance runner, I am well equipped with mental and physical strength to 1) recognize the difference between mental and real physical exhaustion; and 2) find energy to finish what I start.
- Strengthened immunity. Your immune system isn’t quite as on guard when you’re pregnant, and if you get sick, it sucks because you can barely take anything. When you run, you release endorphins – and those endorphins can naturally boost your immune system.
- Better mental health. For me, hormones have always been an issue (pregnant or not). I’ve had issues taking certain types of hormonal birth control pills because it seems that any kind of hormone alteration makes me act like a crazy person. In my last pregnancy, I snapped out on my husband and well, pretty much everyone – a lot. Back to those endorphins that running releases: they’ve been a game changer for dealing with hormonal changes during my pregnancy. #endorphinsforevaaaaa
So there you have it. Personally, running has made pregnancy go a lot smoother and has helped me enjoy it a lot more for a variety of physical and mental health-related reasons. You should not begin or continue any exercise routine during pregnancy until you speak with your doctor. This blog entry is my experience and opinion, and it should not to be used as medical advice; I am not a health professional and everyone is different. Talk to your doctor before moving forward with any fitness routine in pregnancy.