So many mamas-to-be want to know whether it’s safe to keep running (or start running) while pregnant.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic who wants to maintain her exercise regime, or a couch potato wondering if now’s the time to start that jogging habit you keep talking about, balancing your wellbeing with your baby’s is key to a healthy pregnancy.
Here’s everything you need to know about running while pregnant.
In this article: 📝
- Can I run while pregnant?
- Can you start jogging while pregnant?
- What are the main risks of running when pregnant?
- Is running while pregnant safe?
- When should a pregnant woman stop running?
Can I run while pregnant?
Light to moderate exercise, preferably a little bit every day, is definitely recommended during pregnancy.
There are massive benefits for both your physical health and your mental wellbeing, and this translates into major developmental benefits for your little one too.
But can you run while pregnant?
If you had a running habit before you became pregnant, are healthy, and have a low-risk pregnancy, it is generally considered safe to keep up a light running routine, provided you get the all-clear from your doctor.
If you listen to your body and stay within your limits, you may well be able to handle gentle runs.
Can you start jogging while pregnant?
If you weren’t a runner before, doctors will generally agree that pregnancy isn’t the best time to start.
They’re likely to point you in the direction of something gentler (but just as good for your fitness and wellbeing) like walking, swimming, or yoga.
But if including a bit of running is important to you, there are some things you can do to help your body handle your new hobby.
Your doctor might be able to help you make a plan which includes a few minutes of light jogging as part of going for a walk.
The goal is to break more of a sweat than you would by walking, but without risking an injury or pushing your body too hard.
What are the main risks of running when pregnant?
Your center of gravity is different
Your body goes through massive changes in pregnancy. One of these is that your center of gravity moves forward as your bump grows. This makes it a little harder than usual to keep your balance, especially on uneven or slippery surfaces.
Your ligaments and tendons are looser
During pregnancy, particularly the first trimester, your levels of a hormone called relaxin rise to help loosen your pelvis and uterine muscles. The thing is, relaxin loosens everything else as well, including the ligaments and tendons in your other joints. This makes it easier to injure yourself when running.
Aches and pains
While it’s less of a problem when running in your first trimester, as your bump grows, it can strain on your back, your surrounding abdominal muscles, and of course, your bladder. Many women experience sharp cramps and pains around their bumps, known as round ligament pains, which can make running uncomfortable.
Overexertion and dehydration
It might not feel like it (or maybe it does) but during your whole pregnancy, your body is doing a ton of work behind the scenes. It’s pumping extra blood, building a placenta, and just generally being awesome. Running can push your heart rate and body temperature up. This is OK up to a point, but if you find yourself panting and gasping for air, it’s too far. Sweating can also use up your fluids, which can lead to dehydration.
While this sounds bad, there’s a lot you can do to minimize these risks.
Is running while pregnant safe?
If it doesn’t cause pain or discomfort, raise your heart rate too high, or get your body temperature too hot, most mamas-to-be can keep running during their pregnancy.
It just needs a few extra precautionary steps.
These are our top tips to make sure that you stay safe while running when pregnant:
- Get the all-clear from your doctor before starting any exercise regime during pregnancy.
- Stay hydrated by drinking extra fluids on your running days.
- Avoid strains and injuries by staying on flat, even terrain, and wearing good running shoes. They should fit your feet correctly and give you lots of ankle support.
- Try and time your runs so that you’re not out in the sun at the hottest times of the day.
- Shorten your distances and bring your pace down a little.
- If you ever feel dizzy, lightheaded, or off-balance, stop.
- Use the talking test to make sure you’re not overdoing it: As long as you can hold a conversation while you’re running without having to pause for breath, you’re running at the right intensity for you.
- Some mamas-to-be use a pregnancy belt to support their bumps on the road, which can help relieve some of the discomfort of backache or round ligament pain, especially in the third trimester. But again, don’t push it beyond your comfort limits.
When should a pregnant woman stop running?
There’s no fixed rule as to when you should stop running. As soon as running becomes too uncomfortable, causes pain, or forces you to stop… stop.
The internet is full of tales of unstoppable mamas who ran every day throughout their pregnancy or went for a jog before going into labor, but these are exceptions.
The only thing that matters is what feels right for you.
For even the most dedicated runners, the third trimester is often when they decide to call it quits.
Whether it’s backache, round ligament pain, the constant feeling of needing to pee, or simply the discomfort of carrying three trimesters worth of pregnancy in front of you, by this stage, the benefits of running can be outweighed (literally) by the discomfort and increased risk of falling or injury.
So can you run while pregnant? As with most things, listening to your body is probably the best tip we could give you.
Because let’s be honest, as great as jogging is, what your body’s busy building is WAY more incredible than any running habit.
Wondering about other running tips or exercises to keep you fit and healthy while pregnant?
Get a load of new ideas and tips from the mamas-to-be in the Peanut community.
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