Running + Pregnancy…

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I love running. It has always been an escape that is very meditative for me. It challenges me mentally and helps clear my mind. When I found out I was pregnant this time around I had just started training for a half marathon. I was super happy we were pregnant, but a little bummed at the thought of having to stop training. Then I thought, why do I have to stop anyways? I talked to my midwife about it and she said it was perfectly healthy for me to continue. I just needed to keep in mind these things…

1. You are eating enough to cover the calories burned from running. You want to make sure you aren’t taking away nutrition from your little one.

2. Your water intake. Even on short runs I would wear my running belt. I felt nerdy for wearing it on runs that were like 3 miles but I knew it was important. DRINK YOUR WATER!!!

3. Take breaks when you need them. I had to remind myself that if I walked for a minute that was ok.

4. Listen to your body. My midwife said that I couldn’t get in a competitive mind set. I had to remember I was running for exercise and because I loved it, not because I wanted to win or prove something to myself. If I wasn’t feeling good I shouldn’t push through just because.

I had a rough few months with this pregnancy. Starting around week 8 and continuing on till about week 18. I felt pretty terrible. The only thing (other than stuffing my face with food) that made me feel good was running. The days I went running were always the days I felt my best. Running really made those few months tolerable. I was able to keep training and ran my half marathon back in June. 13 miles, 13 weeks pregnant. I was pretty proud of that.

I ran for a few more weeks after that but because of the heat have moved into the gym. The elliptical has become my friend now. Exercise is always something that is important to me, but especially during pregnancy. Labor is harder than any marathon I have run, why would I not want to prepare my body for that? If you aren’t a runner exercise can take lots of forms during pregnancy. Even an evening walk around the block is good. I think all that matters is that you find something that works good for you and that you enjoy.

  1. I also heard that you should give support to the belly as it keeps growing, because is bouncing as you run and it could easily get saggy and with stretch marks, you know something like a sports bra por the boobs 🙂

  2. Amen! I ran/jogged/waddled/walked through my entire pregnancy with my daughter. I definitely got some strange looks and some unwelcome comments, but kept on. Even though I didn’t get to deliver naturally as I had planned (ended up being a c-section), I credit the running with helping me in my postpartum recovery. My doctor said that he had not seen such a quick recovery from a c-section and let us go home after only 1.5 days (woo hoo)! It was also easy to get back into shape after delivery – I didn’t run a half marathon while pregnant, but finished one when my daughter was about 4 months old. I’m pregnant again and have been continuing my running/biking/lifting routine. It certainly helps with the constant nausea and is doing good things for both me and the baby. Good luck and keep at it!

  3. I love running too! Just signed up for my next half marathon while watching the men’s marathon during the Olympics. I love the idea of doing 13 miles at 13 weeks pregnant. I’m going to make it my new goal to run a half marathon while pregnant someday down the road. Congrats!

  4. I wish that running was one of the things that made me feel better this pregnancy…but everytime I went I got a running cramp. It’s quite frusterating.
    Things were just starting to get better (I no long felt ill all day & the cramps weren’t as bad) and then we went on summer holidays, and were so busy that it was hard to fit in a run. Then we got home from holidays and I was just starting to ease my way back into running in a way that I (and baby) felt comfortable & our daughter ended up getting a horrible staph infection & we had to spend the next week in the hospital 3hrs from home. That was a couple weeks ago & since then we’ve had family visiting & hubby’s had to work lots of overtime thanks to summer storms, so I haven’t been for a run in almost a month. It scares me now that I’m over 20weeks, I won’t be able to get back into it comfortably (and safely for baby). But I’m glad that you posted this because it’s motivation! Plus I think half of the reason I didn’t get out running during the past month (aside from the week in the hospital) was because I’m pretty good at coming up with excuses 🙁 I just didn’t want to have to run with the stroller…but even if I have to go slower at least I’m still getting in some exercise! I’m totally going for a run tonight 🙂

  5. I’ve never been pregnant, but I am an avid runner and marathoner. I was really impressed a few years back when Runner’s World did a cover article on running through pregnancy featuring elite marathoner’s Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe. They mentioned several products that are now available for pregnant runners to help support their tummy and the baby inside. I’m not sure if you read the article or would be able to track it down now, but if you can, I highly recommend it. It’s super informative and inspiring. Keep on keeping on! I’m sure that you’re inspiring women too.

  6. Labor is harder than running a marathon? That makes me feel so accomplished! 🙂

  7. Emily M •

    I had to give up working out in early pregnancy because I just didn’t have the energy for it anymore. But I walked almost every day and it really did help when it came time to labor. Every little bit helps!

  8. I agree completely with the comment from “L”. I walked my entire pregnancy. This was my 3rd child and even though my OB wasn’t completely pro-excercise I continued to walk within moderation. You tend to know your own body. I also left the hospital after my c-section fairly early (2 days later). Not saying that I was in running shape when I left but I think staying fit during pregnancy gave me the determination to get well. I’m not an idol person. I had it in my mind to get well very quickly.

    So glad fitness is important to you. I know a lot of woman who didn’t stay fit during pregnancy and I think it can take a toll on your emotionally and physically.

  9. lovely post Jen. I agree. Exercising in general is so important, and though I haven’t had any children yet, I imagine that labour is indeed harder than any marathon we could run…so it makes 100% sense to me to keep exercising through pregnancy! best wishes for your pregnancy!

  10. You’re definitely an inspiration- running a half marathon whilst pregnant! Puts us non-pregnant ladies to shame! :p

  11. My midwife was pretty adamant that I exercise during my pregnancy. I was in really bad pain, so the only thing I could do was walk in the pool! The water took all the pressure off my joints and it was wonderful. Sure, I felt a little self conscious wearing my bathing suit at a public pool and walking (lame!) while other people swam, but I knew I was doing something good for me and the baby.

  12. keep up the running! you look great!!

  13. wow I’m pretty proud of you for running so much in the beginning of pregnancy, I know that I’m always too sick to run in the beginning! Way to go, keep up the exercise!!

  14. i love this post. thank you for writing it! i am new to running. i started back in may and have run some small 5km races and moving on to 10’s this month and next. i have a son who is almost two and we are thinking about trying again in the winter and I am looking to keep running through out the pregnancy. I would love to hear more about your half marathon while pregnant. i think you should write a post on it. thank you for sharing your experiences!

  15. I couldn’t agree more! I ran until I was 27 weeks pregnant (granted, those runs were walk 1 minute, run 1 minute), but 1 minute of running what better than no minutes of running! I did what I could and felt great about it! I had the same marathon philosophy and it served me well. I even went on a brisk 3 mile walk the day I went into labor (not yet realizing that those funny little cramps were contractions). I definitely credit staying fit and active during my pregnancy with my easy delivery and recovery. I say do as much as you can for as long as you can!

  16. You’re so inspiring! I really want to be able to continue my exercise routine when I’m pregnant (not anytime soon haha).

    xo Jennifer

  17. Love it! It take determination to get yourself out there even on a good day when you’re not pregnant and feeling ill. You rock. I was wondering. I don’t have any kids yet, but I’ve often taken my niece out in the jogging stroller on a run and man it’s about a million times harder. Do you find that to be true as well? Is it just a matter of having a good jogging stroller? I’ve run marathons and am training for one now and I took her out on a short run last week and felt like dying. Just wondering if I’m alone in this. I see mom’s with double stroller and feel like stopping to gawk at them I’m so in awe!

  18. Good for you! You look amazing and running is a part of that!

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I ran with my second and third pregnancy all the way to the end (at the end there was more walking then running, but still…). It made such a HUGE difference with the pregnancy, labor and delivery, and recovery compared to my first pregnancy, where I hadn’t discovered the joys of running yet. EVERYTHING was so much easier when I was in shape. Listen to your body and follow Jen’s rules! It is obviously working for her!

  19. I’ve been thinking lately about things I’d like to do differently during my second pregnancy from the first. While my first pregnancy and delivery were both wonderful and easy, I’d like to push myself more in my second pregnancy (whenever that might be) to be really healthy and fit – not for looks sake, but for the health of myself, my baby and my whole family! I worked for most of my first pregnancy, so I was always on my feet and running around the store, but more deliberate and enjoyable exercise like running/hiking/biking will definitely be more openly welcomed the next time around!

  20. I 100% agree! I ran until I was 37 weeks pregnant, and it was the only thing that kept me sane. Keep it up, you look amazing. oh, and have you seen these?
    They are amazing!

  21. My friend is a pilates instructor, and after having TWINS her body seemed to SNAP BACK INTO PLACE. She looked INCREDIBLE just weeks later, like she had never had kids (she has 3 total). She chalks it up to being so very fit DURING her pregnancy. The fitter you are, the easier time your body has after delivery. I like this idea, whether its true or not … being as fit as you can certainly can’t hurt!

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