I’m a big advocate of making fitness a priority during pregnancy. I have several reasons, the biggest probably being how it improves the way I feel while pregnant. It’s not just me who feels this way – doctors now encourage women to stay active and a lot of research shows that physical activity (in moderation of course) benefits both mama and baby. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I worked out quite frequently, running a bit in the beginning, but spending the majority of my pregnancy on the elliptical. This pregnancy my focus has been running around 2-4 times a week.
Because I’ve noticed a difference in my body and how I feel (especially during my recent running hiatus while I was sick), I wanted to share my journey running while pregnant. This post is merely me sharing my experience – I am by no means giving advice on how to stay active because I’m not a fitness expert and your experience staying active throughout pregnancy may be totally different. There are plenty of women who feel comfortable running more or less than I have. Everyone’s bodies and pregnancies are different and you should consult your doctor before starting a fitness routine. My doctor encouraged me to run because I ran before I became pregnant and I’m not sure if that would have been the case if I didn’t run before.
If you don’t have the energy to stay active, that’s totally fine, do not feel pressured by this post! Listening to your body is best and most important for your baby. Below is a breakdown of how running has been for me through all three trimesters.
Running during my first twelve weeks was a little sporadic. It was the middle of winter and I felt nauseous some of the time, so I didn’t really make an effort to get outside and run. I started up the last couple of weeks when I started to feel better and after I signed up for a race that would take place in my second trimester. Running was pretty much a breeze during this time, especially because I hadn’t gained a lot of weight and didn’t have a huge bump constricting me. My body didn’t tell me to slow down, but at this point I was only running 2 miles max. Looking back, I wish I would have started sooner and maybe ran longer distances to keep up my momentum, but at the time it’s what I was comfortable with, which again, is most important. I made sure to never push myself or overdo it throughout my experience.
Weeks 13-27 were by far my favorite weeks to run. I had a ton of energy, my bump wasn’t too big and while my pace was slower than normal, I felt totally fine running longer distances (I’d run 2-4 miles at a time). When I hit the 20-week mark, I ran a 10k (6.2 miles) and it was such a great race. I felt relaxed throughout, ran the entire time and following the race wasn’t as sore as I thought I was going to be. I definitely think the second trimester is prime-time for participating in a race because not only are you feeling pretty normal, the little babe doesn’t weigh very much at that point.
Ahhh, the dreaded third trimester! I’m in the midst of this wonderful homestretch and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. Hitting 29-30 weeks was a bit of game-changer for me. Welcome to the land of slower pace and less mileage.
Due to baby boy being low, I ended up having to buy a pregnancy belt for support. For those wondering, I bought mine from Amazon. The belt has helped a lot with the groin pain I was experiencing without it, and I’ve also noticed stretching before and after has been crucial for me too. My joints and muscles are super tight this trimester, so I’ve made an effort to dedicate time for stretching (something I despise).
In the beginning of this trimester I was able to run 1-2 miles with some breaks in between (if needed), but this week I’ve been maxing out at 1 mile per sitting. My pace has slowed down quite a bit too, but I’m keeping up with running for now because it’s helped with my energy levels. Judging by my current pace, I’m guessing I’ll be done running a few weeks, but we’ll see. Every day is different!
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead to run while pregnant, do it! I promise you won’t regret it. I hope you enjoy reaping the benefits of staying active as much as I have.
I’d also love to hear about your exercise routines, or what’s worked for you throughout pregnancy. Please feel free to comment below!