The best tips for running while pregnant are to talk to a doctor, stay hydrated during runs, and know when to stop. A health professional can tell expecting mothers whether running while pregnant is a good idea for them. If a doctor approves of the plan, the pregnant woman needs to take special care to stay hydrated during her runs. Even more important is knowing when to stop; a woman who runs pregnant should listen to her body and stop if running becomes painful.
Running while pregnant is usually safe, especially when the expecting mother ran before the pregnancy. Doctors often stress the importance of maintaining regular exercise schedules rather than not exercising because of the pregnancy. In some cases, however, an expecting mother may be advised to keep exercise to a minimum or not exercise at all. A history of miscarriage or early labor, certain medical conditions, and carrying more than one baby are some special cases where doctors sometimes advise against running while pregnant.
Staying hydrated is important even when a woman is not pregnant, but it is especially important during pregnancy. Failing to drink enough fluids can negatively affect the fetus. The color of a person’s urine is an indicator of hydration: pale yellow urine means a person is well-hydrated, while dark yellow to brown urine means that the body lacks fluids. Dark urine may also have a strong smell because it is heavily concentrated. In addition, it is safer to run in an air-conditioned area rather than outdoors where an expecting mother might accidentally push past her limits or overheat.
Medical professionals usually recommend that pregnant women keep careful track of how they feel while running. Some pregnant women may have become accustomed to exercising through discomfort before becoming pregnant, but this can be dangerous. If a pregnant woman is uncomfortable and feeling pain, continuing to run can hurt both the woman and the fetus. In addition to avoiding exercise-related pain, it is important that pregnant women are conscious of the physical changes associated with pregnancy. For example, a woman’s ligaments become more flexible while she is pregnant and this can result in dangerous over-stretching.
After the pregnancy, a woman who had an uncomplicated vaginal birth can return to running in one to two weeks. Complications and Caesarean sections, also known as C-sections, usually extends the healing time by several weeks. A health professional should be consulted to determine the best exercise routine, since it largely depends on how well the birth went. Starting to run again too early can dislodge stitches or worsen some conditions.