Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm no Paula...

I'm no Paula Radcliffe but I do like to run. I have been getting a lot of comments (and/or horrified expressions) when I tell people that I am running while pregnant. I love to run and the thought of going a whole nine months without running is unfathomable. While Paula Radcliffe, elite marathoner, ran throughout her pregnancy and actually ran the morning that she gave birth, I have no delusions that I will make it to 40 weeks running. I just wanted to put some information out there that will hopefully educate people a bit about running (and exercising in general) while pregnant.

information pulled from

General Benefits:

  • Exercise reduces the risk of preterm delivery Source: HealthDay News
  • Running during pregnancy reduces fatigue, nausea, constipation and lower back pain Source: Act Now BC
  • Maternity exercise may help prevent gestational diabetes Source: Science Daily
  • Maternity fitness contributes to shorter labor & less delivery complications, including fewer C-sections Source: BabyZone
  • Moms to be who exercise also have less swelling of extremities Source:

Benefits to the Baby:

  • A regular pregnancy fitness regimen better prepares baby for transition from womb
  • Pregnancy running increases blood circulation & placental efficiency
  • Running while pregnant also increases newborn baby’s capacity to self calm & self quiet
  • Regular exercise decreases baby fat without decreasing normal growth
  • Cardio fitness leads to increased blood flow from placenta which supplies nutrition & oxygen to the fetus
  • Mommies who run have increased fetal movements, which studies have shown leads to quicker development of oral language skills
  • Source: *Clapp III, James F. Exercising Through your Pregnancy. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1998.

Some safety precautions I do follow:

  • I drink plenty of fluids - which can cause many bathroom breaks.
  • I monitor my heart rate and/or breathlessness. I make sure to maintain a conversational pace.
  • I have cut back on my running quite a bit. Before finding out I was pregnant, I was running 5 days a week and averaging about 30-40 miles a week. I am now running 3-4 times a week averaging 14-18 miles a week. I also now take plenty of walk breaks.
  • I have a support belt that I wear on about half of my runs now...I can see the need for it to increase as the belly grows. I am hoping that it will help stay away from muscle strains and/or hernias or other scary pregnancy related maladies. Bleah.

I am sure general discomfort and/or the inconvenience of having to go to the bathroom every mile might make me stop earlier than I would like but until then BabyGirl and I are going to keep plodding along.

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