Is running during pregnancy safe? Will running during pregnancy harm my baby, or cause labor? Is running during pregnancy too intense? If not, then what is the basis for caution with running during pregnancy, anyway? These are many questions women runners ask themselves when they contemplate continuing to run during their pregnancies. The folks at Preggie Pals sent us this guest post, authored by fitness expert Leigh-Ann Webster. Read on…
Through the years, there have been very strong opinions regarding women and running during pregnancy. Will I harm my baby if I run? Will I harm myself? Should I ignore the funny looks people are giving me as I run down the street pregnant? Hear from moms who ran throughout their pregnancy in this episode of Preggie Pals, a weekly audio podcast for expecting moms.
After researching this topic, I have concluded that running during pregnancy has some great benefits assuming two things: you were a runner prior to becoming pregnant and you do not have any risk factors that restrict exercise or bouncy movements.
So, what are some benefits that you and your baby may experience if you continue running while pregnant?
1.) All studies that I looked at show that a mother who is strong and in shape will influence her ability to have a good delivery. Just think of yourself as training for your day in the Olympics. It’s probable you may be up for hours, physically going through pain and pushing, and ultimately delivering a baby! It makes sense that you would want to be in shape for this momentous occasion.
2.) Barring terrible morning sickness, it is natural to want to eat during pregnancy, and with eating comes weight gain. Without doubt, the weight gain is natural and an important part of being pregnant. However, running, or any type of exercise for that matter helps keep things in check. And, because running is a weight bearing activity, it helps to keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong, and your cardiovascular system fit.
If you fast forward 9 months and think about all the demands that will be physically placed on you as you recover from child birth and care for your baby, being out of shape and carrying around a lot of extra weight is going to make the process even more difficult. Women who run during pregnancy remain fit and tend to have less “baby weight” to lose. Plus it makes those pregnant indulgences more fun because they were double-earned. Not only are you making a baby for God sake, you ran today too!
3.) If you run or exercise regularly during your pregnancy, studies indicate that your baby may benefit once outside the womb. Researchers are only guessing as to why this is happening, but what they are seeing is that at 1 year of age, babies born to women who exercise are more physically advances and tend to do better at standardized intelligence tests.
It’s a busy world with a lot of physical and mental demands on us. If you are a runner and you’re pregnant with no complications, and it’s comfortable for you to run, then go for it. And, if you are not a runner, but are intrigued by this topic then get out there and begin power walking! There will be plenty of opportunity after your baby is born to go out for a jog with the stroller.
Please consult with your doctor before continuing with a running program or before starting one while pregnant.
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