Some helpful tips on running during pregnancy from a mom of three.
Gone are the days when pregnant women are expected to sit on the couch their whole pregnancy*. Being an exercise junkie and having just gone through my third pregnancy, I’ve paid attention to the research on how I can maintain my workout habits and still have a healthy pregnancy & baby. There’s many benefits to maintaining an exercise routine while pregnant, including but not limited to**:
- Increases mobility & reduces pain in the back, hips and legs.
(Exercising really helped me with this in my third trimester. I could feel a difference on the days I didn’t exercise.)
- Lowers symptoms of depression
(Let’s face it, this is a stressful time for anyone, all forms of stress relievers will help you cope.)
- Decreased weight gain
(I know from experience, it’s much easier to lose 20 pounds after having a baby than 45 pounds.)
- Lower risk of a c-section, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Those are all great benefits, but actually maintaining an exercise routine while pregnant is tough. Here’s some mindset tips I learned to help you actually get up and go:
Every day is different.
You’re going to have good feeling days and not-so-good feeling days. Have grace and patience with yourself. I would have 3-4 days in a row of feeling exhausted with a headache. Then on day 5, I would feel great and eager to get out and run! Point is…don’t throw out an entire exercise routine just because you have a few bad days. Be patient with your self and do what you can based on how you feel that day.
Develop a routine.
Like I mentioned in the last bullet, you’re not always going to feel motivated. Having a designated time to exercise helps you maintain a consistent fitness routine even on those low energy days. I personally set aside 30-60 minutes each day for getting in some sort of exercise. On my good-feeling days, I would jog/run or bike; on my low energy days I would do yoga or go for a walk. I was always glad I did it, even on the low energy days.
Avoid falling into the comparison trap.
Every pregnancy is different. Just because you were able to exercise at a certain intensity with your first child doesn’t mean that same routine will work for your second. Follow what your body tells you and don’t compare yourself to another mama or another pregnancy you’ve had.
Pregnancy is temporary, find joy in it, appreciate it while you can.
I know how hard this is when you’re exhausted and nauseous. However, this is a time in your life that will never happen again (even if you do have more children, every pregnancy is different). You’re carrying a new life! How amazing is that?! Find joy in it, embrace it. It is temporary and will be over before you know it.
Following these 4 tips, I was able to exercise up until my delivery date for all three of my pregnancies. Hopefully these are just as helpful for you as they were for me.
*Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. It’s important to note, majority of mothers will be able to have some level of an exercise program while pregnant. However, every pregnancy is different, so we recommend talking to your doctor/midwife before starting your own exercise program.
**Source: Hoeg, Tracy Beth, MD, PHD. “Running During Pregnancy”. Ultrarunning. May/June 2021. 22-23