Running While Pregnant

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I need to work out like running and other exercises while I am in pregnancy. Do I have to stop?

Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best forms of exercise, not only does it train your heart, lungs and muscles, but it also releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, which is why it can be addictive. A fit, healthy, happy body makes a wonderful place for a baby to grow. It is important to remember that when you are preparing for pregnancy, during and after (breastfeeding) you are sharing your body with another life, and that other life needs to be considered by eating healthy, getting adequate rest and ensuring that your exercise program is safe.

Please consult with your health care provider (i.e. physician, midwife), prior to continuing your exercise regime once you suspect that you are pregnant to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy from start to finish. (It’s alright to skip a few workouts until you know exactly what is happening in your body). And remember, this is your body growing another life, (not your sister’s or your mother’s) and every pregnancy is as unique as the child itself.

Considerations for running during pregnancy:

Overheating: The first trimester is a crucial development stage for your baby and you must take caution not to overheat the body. Of course, same goes for the second and third trimesters. Keep your running routine on the lighter side, try and keep a steady pace and never push yourself too hard

Breathing: Keep a steady airflow, if you are having difficulty breathing then you are restricting air supply to your baby. During the third trimester your diaphragm has less room to move as the baby grows bigger and this can lead to shortness of breath.

Joints: As the fetus grows, your body begins to release the pregnancy hormone relaxin. This hormone is responsible for increasing the laxity of your joints. Be cautious of your foot placement and knee alignment.

Hydrate: Increase your consumption of water. Water is a major component of the blood, dehydration decreases blood flow to the uterus.

Cardiac output: During pregnancy, a mother’s cardiac output increases to approximately 30-50 percent above normal. Similarly, blood volume increases by as much as 50 percent to protect against blood loss during delivery. This increases your resting pulse rate and will severely increase your exercise heart rate. You may find that you have to slow your pace, particularly in the third trimester, speed walking may be a better choice as your approach your due date.

Apparel considerations: Wear a comfortable pair of running shoes with lots of support. And invest in a supportive sports bra (good for on and off the treadmill as your breasts grow as your baby grows).

Running terrain: Keep your run on a flat terrain. As the fetus grows your center of gravity shifts, running on a flat terrain helps you stay in control of your balance.

A word to the wise: Listen to your body, if you are too tired to go for a run, don’t go! Stop running immediately and seek medical attention if you experience vaginal discharge or bleeding, chest pain, dizziness, can’t catch your breath, unusual aches and pains, headache, or premature contractions.

If you did not run regularly before pregnancy this is not a good time to start. Great exercise to pick up while pregnant includes pregnancy yoga, walking and low impact aerobics.

About Author:

Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow and yoga but she is also a Certified Nutritional Practitioner.

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