I have always said I’m going to be that woman who runs while she is pregnant. (And NO I’m NOT pregnant.)
I mean come on–at the 2014 USA Track & Field National Championships, five-time 800-meter champion Alysia Montano competed when she was 34 weeks pregnant. There are also many case studies of elite athletes tolerating high levels of endurance and interval training without compromising fetal growth or complicating their pregnancy.
I won’t be that intense. I don’t even have to run a marathon while I’m pregnant. I just want to keep running.
From what I’ve read, *for the most part*, running during pregnancy is safe and even beneficial, especially during the first two trimesters. Exercise during pregnancy has been associated with a reduced risk of developing certain obstetrical complications, including preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. It’s also associated with better tolerance of labor and a lower risk of C-section childbirth.
Furthermore, frequent complaints of nausea, heartburn, insomnia, varicose veins and leg cramps are reduced in women who remain active during their pregnancy. Other common discomforts of pregnancy, including fatigue, back pain, swelling of the extremities and shortness of breath are also lessened.
HOWEVER, there are certain medical conditions that can be pre-existing or develop during pregnancy that would prohibit you from running while pregnant, including heart and lung disease, persistent bleeding in the second and third trimesters and ruptured membranes. Several other conditions require careful evaluation of the risks and benefits before continuing with your running program, including severe anemia, being extremely underweight, uncontrolled thyroid disease and inappropriate fetal size and development.
Things to be aware of during the first trimester: Cardiovascular changes, including an increase in maternal blood volume and resting heart rate and stroke volume, occur early in the first trimester. This increase in maternal blood volume allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the fetus. Stroke volume begins to rise in the first 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy and increases as much as 10% by the end of the first trimester. Resting heart rate increases by 10 to 15 beats per minute. Base your intensity on effort rather than pace.
Things to be aware of during the second trimester: Cardiac output continues to rise during the second trimester. By 20 to 24 weeks of pregnancy, cardiac output is 30-50% greater than before pregnancy. By the middle of your second trimester, your stroke volume peaks by as much as 30% compared to pre-pregnancy levels. Total blood volume continues to rise. These two adaptations allow for adequate nutrients and oxygen to be supplied to the fetus both at rest and when running. During pregnancy, blood flow is distributed preferentially to the uterus, kidney and skin and increases with gestational age. Running results in a redistribution of this blood flow away from the uterus to skin and exercising muscles and is directly proportional to the workout intensity. These opposing effects could compromise blood flow to the fetus and affect fetal growth and development. However, thanks to the increases in cardiac output and blood volume and placental adaptations that result in greater extraction of oxygen and nutrients, these effects are minimized, particularly with running at moderate intensity. Studies have shown that placental adaptations are greater in women who maintain a regular exercise program through the second trimester of pregnancy. In most cases, you can keep your training the same in the second trimester as in the first, and you can even increase your total weekly running mileage by 5-10% if you tolerate the mileage without increased fatigue, shortness of breath or back or joint pain.
Things to be aware of during the third trimester: The enlarging uterus continues to push on the diaphragm, causing a decrease in vertical chest height. As a result, the volume of air that remains in the lungs after each exhalation falls considerably in late pregnancy. This causes a decrease in oxygen reserve. Higher intensity and prolonged running are more challenging. Only some women are able to run through the end of their pregnancy. Any running you do in the third trimester should be done in moderation. It’s important to stay hydrated and cool. Research indicates that continuing with some form of exercise throughout pregnancy is beneficial. The better shape you’re in before delivery, the easier it will be to get back in running shape after your baby is born. However, the third trimester is often a time to alter your running program. Recognize that every runner is different and alterations that you make to your running depend on how you feel. Many women runners cut down on the frequency and duration of their running. Others substitute non weight-bearing activities. If you’re able to run during the third trimester, limit your runs to 30 to 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.
Fun Fact: Lunges. Holding to a dumbbell on just one side of your body during moves like lunges means your lower back muscles and obliques have to help keep your body stable.
Food for Thought: Macadamia nuts. One ounce has 60% of your daily quota for manganese.
Quote of the Day:
“The runner does not know how or why he runs. He only knows that he must run, and in doing so he expresses himself as he can in no other way. He creates out of instability and conflict something that gives pleasure to himself and others, because it releases feelings of beauty and power latent within us all.” -Roger Bannister
Look how skinny these biscuits are! I was not impressed!
– 2 cups AP flour
– 3 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/3 cup shortening
– 2/3 cup milk
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– Preheat oven to 450*.
– In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk; stir until just moistened.
– Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8-10 times. Pat dough into a 1ox4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle lengthwise in half; cut crosswise to make 10 squares.
– Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet; brush tops with egg. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Courtesy of Taste of Home