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Challenges And Benefits Of Running During Pregnancy

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Growing a new life inside you is exhausting and nauseous. With you having to pee after every 5 times the biggest question is whether you should lace up or rest up. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that you should be exercising throughout your pregnancy at least for 20 to 30 minutes. This will reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, pre-term birth and increases the chances of a normal delivery. It doesn’t put you into labour as many presume, but it helps you get through it. Hence running during pregnancy is very beneficial and a must unless you have some complications.

Running During Pregnancy

Is running good for a pregnant woman?

Whether you are a newbie who runs only to catch a train or an experienced marathoner, running is a great thing to do to stay healthy and happy these nine months. Being active during your pregnancy makes you feel great which ultimately benefits the little one growing in you. Though there are numerous benefits of running during pregnancy, it is essential that you listen to your body. Every pregnancy is different and listening to your body will ensure that you do only what your body can take. Following are some of the warning signs in the pregnancy which gives a big NO to running during pregnancy:

  • Complications in the pregnancy such as bleeding, preeclampsia or placental problems make running a risky affair.
  • Running while pregnant carrying multiples puts you at risk of premature labour.

See More: Meditation During Pregnancy

However, if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy then continuing with your exercise routine including jogging while pregnant is a good way of staying fit and healthy during those nine months.

Tips for Running during pregnancy:

Trimester 1:

Running in pregnancy 1st trimester could be the most difficult one for most pregnant ladies– All thanks to nausea and exhaustion. But trust me, running would only make you feel better; the question is how far you can motivate yourself to get into those shoes.

Trimester 2:

Running in pregnancy 2nd trimester is pretty easy and comfortable. Your nausea has subsided, your body is adjusting with the changes taking place, and you feel more energetic. However as the ligaments have loosened and the body is stretching to accommodate the growing baby, you may face some new pains such as in the lower back, around the lower abdomen or the ligament. Having a strong core and using a belly band can provide some relief with these pains.

Trimester 3:

Running in pregnancy 3rd trimester really gets difficult. Most of the women find they need to stop. There is an increasing back and pelvic pain that makes it difficult to continue with the running. The key rule is if you feel you want to run and you can run then go run but if you feel you don’t want to then just don’t. Don’t stretch.

Is Running safe during pregnancy?

As it is easy to fit running into anyone’s schedule, everyone would opt to run to keep themselves fit. It’s safe to run while you’re pregnant only if you’re used to running before, it’s not favourable to include running in your routine once you’re pregnant. But if you’re already running, then you can continue during pregnancy. Running makes your body heat to rise, and that could cause harm to the baby, so why risk it? After all, it’s your baby who will get affected by whatever you do.

However, running for a limited workout is always safe. Asking your doctor regarding running in pregnancy can help you make the best decision for you.

Precautions to take while Running during pregnancy:

Though running during pregnancy has its own set of benefits, it’s always better to be safe than be sorry. Here are a set of precautions that one must take while jogging during pregnancy to ensure safety:

  1. Just run, don’t race
  2. If you are new to running start with the smaller program rather than going for intense running.
  3. Build stability to avoid tripping and falling.
  4. Consider investing in new gear which is comfortable.

See More: Exercise For Normal Delivery

Food and drinks to be taken pre and post running during pregnancy:

Staying hydrated before, during and after running is essential for you and your child when you are running in pregnancy.

Pre-running snack:

You must consume good carbs before beginning running. This will provide you with energy for running. Avoid high fibre snack or snacks rich in proteins as this would reduce the speed of digestion and you will end up with cramping or indigestion during running. Here are some examples that will make a good snack before a workout.

  • A smoothie containing a ½ cup of each fruit, Greek yoghurt and ice.
  • Consuming 1 cup of Greek Yogurt topped with a 3/4th cup of fruits or berries.
  • 1 medium-sized apple topped with natural almond butter.
Post-running snacks:

Refuel yourself with a balanced meal within 30 minutes of running with 200 to 250 calories. The flour should ideally contain 2 portions of carbohydrates, 2 portions of proteins and 1 portion of fats. Following are some of the examples of post-running snacks:

  1. A wrap made from whole grain stuffed with 2 oz. of grilled chicken, tomato, lettuce, salad dressing and shredded cheese.
  2. A bowl of raw vegetables such as celery, cucumber, carrots topped with 2 tbsp hummus and whole grain crackers amounting to 100 calories.
  3. An on the go option such a one slice cheese with a bowl of fruits.

Benefits of running during pregnancy:

The following are the benefits of running during pregnancy:

  • The moms-to-be running during pregnancy has an overall better mental health.
  • The risk of having gestational diabetes is greatly reduced.
  • Running during pregnancy guards the fetus against any probable heart defects.
  • Improved stress tolerance.

Side effects of running during pregnancy:

There is no evidence of side effects during pregnancy. The only check is you should not be running if you have some complications in your pregnancy or if your doctor doesn’t give you a green signal to do so.

See More: Walking In Pregnancy

Running during pregnancy including early pregnancy is safe and a must to keep your heart rate normal and to prevent excessive weight gain. However, it is advised that you first consult your doctor and make sure that there are no complications before you begin running during pregnancy. Besides, don’t exert and always listen to your body as each body is different, and so is every pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers For Running During Pregnancy:

Q1. Is running after birth safe?

Ans: After your little bundle of joy arrives in the world it might be weeks before you are allowed to resume running again. This is because the tendons and ligaments are still very relaxed and prone to injury. Ideally, you should wait for 6 weeks before you resume running. If you feel good to go before six weeks then begin with walking or a little strength training but running should be strictly avoided.

Q2. When should you stop running during pregnancy?

Ans: If the question is at what stage you should stop running then the answer is to listen to your body. If you don’t feel good after running, you felt tired and sucked up then you should stop running. If the question is when to take a break in between running, then it depends upon you. Never push. Stay focused, listen to the warning signs your body gives you and obey.

Q3. What are the warning signs for running during pregnancy?

Ans: The following are some of the warning signs the body gives during pregnancy meaning that it cannot take anymore and it’s the time to stop.

  • Your muscles feel sore and your experience weakness and shaky.
  • If the resting heartbeat goes up by 10 beats more than the normal.
  • You start feeling contractions, chest pain or vaginal bleeding.
  • Dizziness

Q4. Is it safe to use a treadmill for running during pregnancy?

Ans: There cannot be equipment easier and safer to do exercise during pregnancy than a treadmill. It is convenient as you can control the terrain as well as the speed. However, it is advisable to use the treadmill for running during pregnancy only under strict monitoring of an instructor.

Q5. Can running affect pregnancy?

Ans: Running affects pregnancy in a good way. It prevents the possibility of developing gestational diabetes. It also aids in controlling the postural pain and back pain caused due to pregnancy. Sleeping is made easy, and you can get good sound sleep even during pregnancy. Besides the baby’s heart rate is also positively affected due to running during pregnancy the effect of which lasts for 6 months after birth.

Q6. Can running be the cause for pregnancy miscarriage?

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have mentioned that daily physical exercise during pregnancy including running should be a part of your routine. Many women fear to engage in physical exercise during pregnancy with a fear of causing miscarriage, but the truth is exercise itself can never be a cause of pregnancy miscarriage. Running cannot be the cause of pregnancy miscarriage unless there are other complications associated with it that complete demand rest and you still go running.