Running While Pregnant? Plan Your Trimesters
by Guillaume Boitel
Is it safe to run during the first few months of pregnancy? This is a question that ultimately, all women must answer for themselves. Do your research, get recommendations, and listen to medical advice. Here we will provide some guidelines to help you get informed.
There is unanimous agreement within the medical community that no woman should start running during pregnancy. As an experienced runner, it’s safe to continue your normal routine through the first thirteen weeks of pregnancy. However, before you jump back into your normal running routine, have a talk with your doctor and gynecologist first. In addition, it’s important to be tuned in to your body, and how you’re feeling during runs.
Adapt your regimen
First and foremost, running during your pregnancy should be something you enjoy. This is not the time to be pushing your boundaries on speed or endurance. Listen to your body and adapt your routine as often as needed.
If you experience shortness of breath or stomach pains, stop training and call or text your doctor right away. Keeping an open line of communication with the medical professionals in your life is extremely important.
Essential pregnancy running gear
During pregnancy, women’s bodies undergo all kinds of changes. Routines need to be changed and an overhaul in workout gear is essential. It’s important to have adequate cushioning in running shoes, as joints and tendons need extra support from pregnancy related weight gain. It’s also important to find a sports bra especially designed for pregnant women, such as a nursing sports bra. These essentials will go a long way in providing the extra support and comfort you need.
Trimester Planning for Pregnancy Workouts
You can absolutely continue to run during this time, but use caution and run at a safe speed, with low intensity. You’ll want to gradually shorten the length of your runs as well as the frequency of your workouts. Thirty minutes to one hour is a safe time frame for an average, easy, low intensity workout on flat terrain.
- Stay hydrated: Drink before, during, and after the run
- Avoid running in hot temperatures
- Pay attention to how you feel
- If any pain occurs, stop immediately and see a doctor
Continuing your established pregnancy running routine and pregnancy workouts into your second trimester is totally acceptable. Though it’s important to be cautious as weight gain becomes more of an issue during this time. Regardless, it’s good to start thinking about replacing running sessions with pregnancy walks or swimming.
- 15 min low speed, low intensity run on flat terrain + 5 min walking (repeat the circuit up to three times)
- 1h active walking
- 45 min swimming
Time to hit the pause button. All sports activities should be replaced with preparations for birth. Yoga and/or relaxation exercises are wonderful alternatives. It is still fine to walk between 30 and 60 minutes a day on flat terrain.
Postpartum Exercise: Running After Pregnancy
Childbirth and pregnancy have major effects on a woman’s body. It takes time to get back to normal. Pay extra attention and use caution as you get back into a training routine.
After bleeding has subsided and you’re feeling good, start with walking and swimming exercises. If you rush back into running, you risk stretching your pelvic floor, which can lead to issues with incontinence.
When your gynecologist gives you the green light to begin postpartum exercise, ease back into your running routine with light endurance training. Don’t push it! Short strides, around 180 steps per minute is a great way to get your body back up to speed. If you’re ready, low impact doctor-approved pelvic exercise is another good option to add to the mix.
Wait for a full return to running until after your perineal rehab is complete. Meaning, at least 2-3 months after childbirth. Start gradually and slowly ramp up. One session a week is a good starting point, and add more as you feel up for it. You can also begin abdominal strengthening 3 to 4 months after childbirth. Strengthening exercises such as the plank or work with a gym ball will be most effective, always remember to tighten your stomach as much as possible. Design your own workouts with the Workout Creator in the adidas Training app to target specific muscle groups.
- 1h of active walking or light jogging
- Strengthening thighs, butt, back, chest, and arms
- 45 min of swimming
Follow these recommendations and give yourself the best chance to resume running after pregnancy without complications. Get back into shape quickly, keep post-pregnancy weight under control, and perhaps most importantly, have more energy during maternity.
Guillaume Boitel is a Doctor in Physiology, Biomechanics & Sports Sciences, specialized in nutrition, whose work focuses on preparing high-level athletes for competition.