7 Running Tips for Pregnant Women
The walk/jog combo is where it's at
Congrats, you’re pregnant! But you’re also a runner…and no, just because you’re expecting doesn’t mean you have to give up that stress-relieving morning jog. In fact, studies confirm that with a few adjustments, it’s totally safe for the baby. Here, seven tweaks all pregnant runners should make.
Invest in a New Pair of Shoes for Better Stability
It’s a given: Pregnancy throws off your center of gravity. It also means your feet are probably going to swell. Sneakers with proper support and stretch will help you maintain your balance. If you notice your current pair is pinching at all, don’t wait—upgrade now. (A brand like Asics should treat your feet well.)
Wear Moisture-Wicking Workout Clothes That Fit
Yes, it’s an investment, but as your bra size increases, never go running without proper chest support. Also important: moisture-wicking material. During pregnancy, your skin is a lot more sensitive. Performance fabrics—like these workout pants from Ingrid & Isabel—will help fend off sweat so you can avoid heat rash and irritation.
Before Pounding the Pavement, Talk to Your Doc
Always (always) mention your exercise plans to your ob-gyn before working out. She knows your medical history inside and out and can help tailor your running routine and advise you of any out-of-the-ordinary precautions you should take.
Give Yourself Permission to Walk/Run
Sure, pre-pregnancy, you were crushing half-marathons. But now that you’re expecting, it’s important to tune into your body and adjust your pace. This also means it’s probably not the best time to take on massive hills, rugged (and uneven) terrain or long distances. Listen to your body—there should be an appropriate amount of fatigue after exercise, but if you find yourself lightheaded or dizzy, you’re overdoing it and need to slow down, according to Dr. Nancy Simpkins.
Monitor Your Heart Rate to Be Extra Safe
If you’ve always been a runner, then running during pregnancy is usually OK. But Dr. Simpkins notes that it never hurts to keep tabs on your heart rate just to be sure it stays in the safe zone (i.e., no more than one and a half times your base heart rate). Wearing a heart-rate monitor—or downloading a free app—is an easy way to keep track.
No Matter What, Don’t Forget to Stretch
While exercising, pregnant women often feel more back and leg pain due to the extra weight they are carrying. Dr. Simpkins recommends simple, gentle stretches, particularly for the calves and hamstrings, to help alleviate post-run aches.
If You Feel Even the Slightest Bit of Discomfort, Stop
Shortness of breath, more fatigue than usual or back pain that feels out of the ordinary are all signs you should take a break and consult your doc.