Running during pregnancy

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 01/30/2015

One of the trendiest sports during the last years is running. Every day more and more women decide to take up this sport, due to its numerous advantages. It’s a healthy sport that helps improve the cardio-respiratory system, helps control weight and fight illnesses, and increases the self-esteem of those that practice it frequently.

But, what happens during pregnancy? Can I still keep on running as I used to? Should I decrease the rhythm or even stop? Will it affect the development of the baby? These are some of the questions that arise when you are pregnant. Here, we’ll provide you with the answers.

Running also for pregnant women

It’s important to distinguish between professional runners and amateur. There are not the same conditions when it comes to physical effort.

The first ones dedicate their lives to sport, and their bodies are used to making efforts. Many elite athletes carry on with their normal routines and even compete during pregnancy.

One example of this is Alysa Montaño, who completed the 800 meters in the athletics national competition of the USA when she was 34 weeks pregnant. Other examples are Jessica Ennis-Hill, gold medal in heptathlon in London in 2012, who kept on running during the nine months of gravidity, or the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, who did the same in 2006.

Runnings brings some benefits

Regarding women that run because they like running and keeping fit, several studies show the importance of doing exercise during pregnancy and don’t prohibit running, as long as it’s not high-risk pregnancy, which normally requires ob absolute rest. Many doctors insist that pregnancy is not an illness and that the woman can have a normal have, taking certain cares.

Running in the different trimesters

  • The first trimester is the most varied. There are women that maintain their routines, since there is not an excessive increase in weight or the sensation of heaviness. For others however, running is a nightmare, due to the nausea and discomfort of these first months.
  • The second trimester is the most comfortable. The woman has total conscience of her pregnancy and running helps her release endorphins, controls her weight and feels all right. Nevertheless, it’s recommended that the exercise is controlled by an expert and doesn’t imply great efforts.
  • The third trimester is the most uncomfortable one due to the increase in weight. If you feel all right, keep on doing exercise but decrease intensity as soon as you feel tired. It’s recommended to substitute running for walks of moderate intensity that will help you keep fit and strengthen your joints, which are force to stand an extra weight.

Tips for running during pregnancy:

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Control your nutritional habits and the glucose levels.
  • Consult with a specialist the intensity of the exercise, since each woman and pregnancy is different.
  • Pay special attention to the first trimester, as it’s the stage when there’s a higher miscarriage risk.
  • Run if you used to do it, but don’t start running at the beginning of your pregnancy.

The main advice is that you listen to your body. It’s wise and will tell you if running does you good during pregnancy or if, on the contrary, you must opt for a more quiet sport.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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