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Running During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Exercise is good for you – especially during pregnancy.  When you’re pregnant, you need to exercise to stay healthy and to keep up your stamina.  Exercising will also help you avoid gaining excess weight and make it easier for you to regain your figure after the baby comes.  But is running during pregnancy safe?

The best person to make the decision about whether or not running during pregnancy is safe for you is your health care provider.  Only your doctor has the necessary information about your particular situation to make this call.  However, the following are some general guidelines.

If you’ve already been running before conceiving, then it’s probably safe to continue running.  You’ll want to make sure to wear a supportive bra, as your breasts and nipples will become tender during pregnancy.  You’ll also need to make sure you’re wearing supportive footwear.  If you haven’t recently replaced your running shoes, you might consider doing it now.  Be aware, however, that your shoe size will usually increase during pregnancy – anywhere from one half to one full size.  Avoid becoming sunburned, dehydrated or overheated while out running during pregnancy.

However, even before you’ve begun to gain significant weight, you’ll notice that you may begin to move differently.  Your body will produce a hormone, relaxin, which will allow your pelvic bones to accommodate your baby during delivery.  This same hormone causes your ligaments to relax, which can cause pain in the hips and lower back in some women.  It’s one of the reasons for the distinctive waddling gait that so many pregnant women have.  You may find that this makes you feel awkward as you are running.  This also puts you at an increased risk of falling, something you should avoid as your pregnancy continues.

The pressure of your uterus on your bladder may also cause stress incontinence during running. The extra weight you’re carrying in your uterus may also cause you pain or discomfort in your legs, knees, ankles and feet as you run – not to mention causing the weight of the uterus to press against your blood vessels. The impact of a pregnant uterus against the muscles in your pelvic floor can weaken them at a time when you want those muscles to be as strong as possible. As you continue to gain weight and your pregnancy begins to show, try walking instead of running.

When you’re running, stop immediately and contact your doctor if you notice any spotting or vaginal bleeding, any fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina, swelling or pain in your calves, contractions, chest pain, dizziness, trouble breathing or decreases in fetal movement. All of these symptoms can indicate serious conditions that need to be addressed right away.

The more pregnant you become, the less likely running is to be comfortable and safe. If you ran before you became pregnant, you can continue to run early in your pregnancy, but you’ll probably be happier if you switch to walking as you move into your second trimester. And again, always check with your doctor regarding any exercise during pregnancy.

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