Running while Pregnant
Miller, a 27-year-old marathon runner was nearly 39 weeks pregnant when she
completed the Chicago Marathon on
Sunday, but instead of putting her
and having a good rest, she went straight to hospital to give birth: her
contractions started within minutes of crossing the finishing line.
Just like Amber, there are number of women out there who would like to compete a
marathon or an event even while pregnant, but are afraid to do so out of fear of
some untoward harm.
As long as you get the green light from your OB, you should continue to
exercise (with modifications) right up until your delivery date. Not only
will it keep you in shape, but it can also make for an easier
labor and recovery.
There are certain body changes that take place while pregnant. For example,
ligaments and bones soften, to accommodate the baby, making you more
susceptible to injury. Your temperature regulation mechanisms are strained,
which means it is easier to overheat, which could damage the fetus, especially
in the early
stages of pregnancy. Therefore, you should avoid intensive exercise with
heart rates to avoid depriving your baby of oxygen.
Guidelines, to Follow:
stretch before you begin to run.
Allow the body to
down and stretch after you run to prevent
back pain, and to stay limber. Focus on hip openers like Wide Squat and
Don't run to exhaustion- cut short the duration or combine
and running to cover the distance.
- Slow down and avoid running at high levels of
intensity (e.g. sprinting) which may affect the baby's oxygen supply.
Take it easy on hills, stick to even terrain to prevent falling, take breaks
often, and decrease your distance. Use a heart rate monitor to ensure that
you don't elevate your heart rate too much. Maintaining the appropriate
heart rate for your age is important, and the
target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate. Maximum
heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. If you are able
to talk normally while exercising, you are likely at an appropriate heart
Be careful not to overheat, especially during the early weeks;
hydrated- you may need to drink more water than you are used to.
Maintain your blood sugar levels: you certainly need to eat more to cope
with physical changes
Don't try to stick to a training schedule: run as you feel inclined and
listen to your body and to your baby
When running no longer feels comfortable, consider other exercise, such
swimming or aqua-jogging, to keep fit. An exercise bike will help you to
keep fit, and may be useful later on if you are at home alone with the baby.
Alerts to STOP:
If you develop any of the following symptoms, you should stop running immediately and consult a doctor:
- bloody discharge or amniotic fluid leakage from the vagina
- sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face
- persistent, severe headaches or visual disturbance
- elevation of pulse race or blood pressure that persists after
- excessive fatigue or any palpitations or chest pains
- persistent contractions (they may suggest the onset of pre-mature labor)
unexplained abdominal pain
The usual medical advice to women who want to continue running long distance
while pregnant, is as long as you are fit and healthy and are already used to
running long distance, then it should be ok. But as with all exercise during
pregnancy, don't try anything new or anything your body is not used to.
NOTE: Women are at higher risk of injury while pregnant because they have
higher levels of relaxin, a hormone that relaxes joints and ligaments, so they
should ease gently into a run and stretch properly afterwards.
Dated 29 October 2011