Is it really okay for a pregnant woman to run? This top concern for women who have been actively running before conceiving and even beginner runners is now addressed by prenatal experts. The question as to whether running might cause harm to mother or baby now has some answers.
Maternal health expert Sheeva Talebian, M.D., who is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology, and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, sheds light on the issue. “Running is safe anytime—during the first, second and third trimester—if you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy.”
“You should not run if you have complications like elevated blood pressure or, in some cases, multiple gestation that would cause an obstetrician to advise no high-impact exercise,” explains Dr. Talebian in the article Baby Gate: Running During Pregnancy, published Jun. 11, 2013 in Women’s Running.
Lewis G. Maharam, MD, better known as Running Doc™, who is also a qualified sports health expert and author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running, confirms this. Research has shown that continued running up to the third trimester pregnancy is not harmful to the developing child, Dr. Maharam states this in the article Running Doc’s Tips For Women Who Want To Run While Pregnant, published July 14 in New York Daily News.
“Pregnant women who are currently runners should not be discouraged from running,” Dr. Maharam affirms. “More and more running women are being told to stop running while pregnant, which is NOT healthy for the woman, the unborn child or the labor experience.”
Running, in fact, offers many health benefits to the mother and baby during pregnancy. Dr. Sheeva Talebian enumerates these benefits in Women’s Running: “— heart health, stress reduction, weight maintenance, lower blood pressure, lower rates of diabetes and preeclampsia, less likely to gain an unhealthy (and potentially dangerous) amount of weight, and stronger cardiovascular systems.”
However, Dr. Maharam cautions that “If a prospective mother has not been involved in an exercise program prior to pregnancy, she should not be encouraged to begin one during her pregnancy!”
Dr. Francis Chang, an OBGYN at Good Samaritan Hospital, agrees with this. “If the body isn’t used to workouts at that level, then it is absolutely not advisable to start running while pregnant.” Dr. Chang further explains in an interview with CBS LA, “…whatever level of exercise they’re used to, they can continue exercising at that level.”
The doctors recommend taking some precautions, which include these suggestions:
- Run when the temperature is cooler, in the cool morning hours when there is light outside but the temperature has not yet peaked
- Hydrate properly by drinking lots of water before, during, and after running to avoid dehydration which can cause premature contractions
- Wear shoes that give plenty of support to the feet, especially around the ankles and arches
- Wear a good sports bra to support sensitivity in breasts
- Take it easy and do not over-exert which can lead to raised body temperature and heat stroke and other risks
- Prevent overheating by maintaining normal body temperature of about 98.6 degrees
- Stop running if there are symptoms of difficulty in breathing, dizziness, headache, chest pain, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, contractions, decreased fetal movement, fluid leaking from your vagina or vaginal bleeding
Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all expectant moms take prenatal vitamins women one a day to maximize the benefits of running during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins provide the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to support the pregnant woman’s health and that of the developing baby.
Thrive prenatal vitamins women one a day is a daily multivitamin which contains the recommended daily allowance for folic acid and iron, as well as 11 other vitamins and minerals needed for healthy pregnancy. Thrive is soy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and gentle on the stomach. Thrive is available at Amazon.come and comes with a 60-day money back guarantee if not fully satisfied.