Running and Jogging During Pregnancy
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If you didn't really exercise before you were pregnant then you won't want to suddenly engage in a new running or jogging routine. Although jogging is good for the body and heart, it is not good for your knees, pregnant or not. Once you fall pregnant, your body begins producing a hormone called relaxin which softens your joints and makes it much easier to injure yourself.
If you were an experienced runner/jogger before falling pregnant then it is okay for you to continue. It is a good form of exercise to get your heart rate up and keep your body in good health. It's also a great form of exercise if you have limited time available because you can easily pop out for a 15 minute run when you are short on time or go for a longer jog if have time to spare.
Do your pelvic floor exercises
Running and jogging place substantial pressure on your pelvic floor muscles so it is important that you practice your pelvic floor exercises regularly. Even if you aren't running, you still need to do your pelvic floor exercises. As the saying goes, 'if you don't use it, you'll lose it' and you really don't want to lose it!
Top tips for running/jogging
- As with walking, if you find it difficult to hold a conversation while running because you are out of breath, it means you are overdoing it so slow down.
- Invest in some good quality running shoes to provide good support to the arches of your feet and to your ankles.
- To avoid dehydration you need to drink plenty of water before you run, take a bottle of water with you to sip while running and remember to drink lots of water after your run. If you become dehydrated your blood flow to the womb will be reduced which is damaging to your baby and can bring on contractions prematurely.
Running in the first trimester
Provided you were running regularly before you became pregnant then it is safe to carry on running as you did before. Run for as long as you feel able to though don't be surprised if your runs become shorter and less intense as your pregnancy progresses.
The most important thing to bear in mind when exercising during your pregnancy is to not allow yourself to get too hot as this is dangerous for your unborn baby. You should not run in hot or sticky weather.
By now, your bump will be blooming and your feet will be harder to see. Your balance won't be as stable so you need to be careful where you choose to run. Only run on flat pavements or tracks to avoid the risk of trips and slips. If you do feel yourself start to fall, try to fall to the side or put your hands out and land on your knees to protect your bump.
If you still feel good enough to run in your third trimester you deserve a medal! It goes without saying that you need to take extra special care now and if you feel yourself getting tired then stop and put your feet up or find a less strenuous form of exercise, perhaps a brisk walk instead.
Keep your mobile phone with you in case you need assistance quickly.
Know the risks of running and jogging while pregnant
You should never walk or exercise to the point of breathlessness or feeling faint as your body will use up excess oxygen which should be used for your baby.
If you have any of the following symptoms during or after exercise you should call your doctor or midwife immediately: vaginal blood loss, breathing difficulties, feeling lightheaded, pains in your chest, muscle weakness, pain or swelling of the calf, early labour, drop in foetal movements, if you suspect loss of amniotic fluid, or if you feel contractions.