Running while pregnant

By Lisbeth Hoyt PT, DPT, CSCS

Answering all the things you may (or may not) want to know. If reading about pregnancy is not your thing right now, I totally understand. Feel free to scroll by this one.

Here are some answers to the most common questions related to running while pregnant. 

Is it safe to run while pregnant? For you? For the baby?

In general the answer is yes to all! If you were consistently running prior to pregnancy, then it’s absolutely safe to continue for both you and the baby. In this case, consistently would mean running a few times a week for at least a few months, if not longer. It’s not recommended to begin a new running (or any type of exercise) routine during pregnancy, but of course there are exceptions to this. If your pregnancy is considered high risk for ANY reason or you have any complications during your pregnancy, running would require clearance from your doctor. 

Where are you in your pregnancy?

I’m due June 3rd, which would be 40 weeks. Fun fact, pregnancy is 10 months, not 9! It takes me a little while to write a blog these days (pregnancy brain is real), so I wrote this between 33-36 weeks.

Did you stop running at all? What was the journey like?

I very recently put a pause on running (as of Friday 5/6), which was 36 weeks. Mostly because the pressure on my pelvis has become increasingly uncomfortable and I also had some SI joint issues pre-pregnancy that have flared up more while pregnant and are exacerbated by running. I’m currently feeling a little lost without running as part of my weekly routine, but plan on replacing it with long walks and maybe the pool.

What changes have you noticed in your running (form, pace, mileage, recovery time, can others expect the same thing)?

At some point in your pregnancy running journey, all of the above will change. The most challenging part for me was that these changes didn’t occur all at once and I also had no warning signs! Recovery time was way longer during the first trimester, partly because I was so fatigued on any given day. The second trimester for the most part felt like normal running in terms of pace and mileage. I slowed down a little and kept all of my runs at an easy pace, but mostly just needed more bathroom breaks. My baby bump popped out fairly late, but once it did, my form changed immediately. I felt like I had to force myself to stand very upright to counter the weight of my belly pulling me forward. I used KT tape, which helped support my belly and made running feel a little less awkward. In general, it’s safe to say most pregnant runners will experience all of the above changes with running. Finding a PT to guide you through these transitions and help make modifications can be very helpful!

What advice do you have for pregnant runners?

Be prepared to modify and listen to your body! Some days running will feel great, others it won’t and that’s ok. You’re growing a human! Be kind to yourself and remember that this is only temporary – Pregnancy is at most 42 weeks! Let how you feel each day dictate your run because this is not the time to push through discomfort or things that don’t feel right.

Do you recommend running while pregnant for all?

Yes and no! If you’ve maintained a regular running routine prior to pregnancy, then go ahead and continue running throughout, as long as you don’t have a high risk pregnancy. If you’re a new runner or running just doesn’t feel right for your body at this time, take a break. If you need help figuring out what’s normal pregnancy discomfort or a reason to stop, ask your doctor or physical therapist! Pregnancy is not a time to ignore any signals your body is sending you.

What do you expect running will be like after birth (recovery, restarting, racing, training etc)?

I honestly have no idea! I plan to focus on strength first to make sure I have some core and pelvic stability before I start logging any miles and will gradually build up running using a run/walk. Just to give myself some motivation, I have my eye on fun running a late fall 5K with zero expectations! I also know not to be too set on any given schedule – Life is unpredictable with a baby (so I’ve heard)!

How can the public reach you?

Email me at lisbeth@nycustompt.com or via IG @lisbethh.jennings

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