Running During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

pregnant woman runningWhether you run marathons, 5Ks, or it's your go-to workout, running is about more than exercise for many women. But like many habits -- from eating sushi to getting your hair dyed -- a running routine is one of those things expectant moms are discouraged from doing. But why? Do women really have to stop hitting the pavement once they're expecting? Not necessarily, according to physical therapist Gia Fruscione, DPT, founder of DLVR Maternity.

Here's the deal ...

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week during pregnancy, as long as there are no medical complications. That said, if you didn't consider yourself an avid runner prior to pregnancy, it's best to stick to low-impact exercise, like yoga or swimming, especially if you are having joint problems, notes Fruscione. "Other low-impact exercises to consider include brisk walking, indoor stationary bicycling, and low-impact aerobics," she says. All of these activities carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth. Still, if you're a running novice who's feeling particularly gung-ho, you could speak with your health care provider about starting an appropriate program.

As for women who were runners before pregnancy: "Higher-impact exercise, such as running, can be continued during pregnancy," says Fruscione. 

Just take even more care to be well-hydrated, avoid overheating, and wear good shoes while out for a run. You can also ensure you're not exercising too hard by using the "talk test," recommends Kimi Suh, M.D., family medicine physician at Loyola University Health System in Illinois. "If you are not able to hold a conversation while you are exercising, you need to slow down and take a break," she says.

Then, once you get into your third trimester, you get more uncomfortable and need to bear additional precautions in mind. "As your belly grows, it may be difficult to keep your balance," advises Suh. So run on a flat, even surface to reduce impact and avoid a fall.

But when in doubt about pulling on your sneakers, ask for guidance from your doctor or midwife. "Each pregnancy is different, and your personal health history should be considered before running," says certified personal trainer Adela Blevin, CES. "A health care provider can help you determine whether running will benefit your health and your baby's health."

How do you feel about running while pregnant?

 

Image via Corbis

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