woman running on a treadmill

Running during pregnancy: what you need to know

Lots of women worry that running during pregnancy could be harmful to their babies. If you’ve been on a regular running routine before pregnancy, you shouldn’t be concerned about potential problems for you or Baby. A general rule for any exercise when you’re pregnant is not to overexert yourself. This means that you probably shouldn’t be training for long-distance races or just starting an intense running routine once you get pregnant. If you are gasping for air during a sprint, you’re jeopardizing Baby’s oxygen supply, so when in doubt, keep it light. Always stay hydrated, wear supportive shoes and sports bras, and make sure you don’t overheat.

Can I start running during pregnancy if I never have?

First-time or rusty runners should probably stay away from this kind of workout until after delivery. A common pregnancy symptom is relaxed joints in preparation for labor, which can increase the chances of running-related injuries. Additionally, if you’re on unfamiliar terrain, you could lose your balance and might fall, which would lead to an immediate trip to the healthcare provider.

Running later on

As your body changes, you might not have the same speed or endurance you had before pregnancy, so listen to your instincts and feel free to replace running with a brisk walk. Your healthcare provider can advise you on an appropriate exercise regimen for your unique pregnancy. In your third trimester, you’ll probably find running much more challenging and opt for low-impact exercise. If you notice any warning signs while running, like chest pain, decreased fetal movement, or dizziness, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider. Even if you have to put your running routine on hold, there are lots of other great ways to stay fit and keep you and Baby safe!

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
  • JF Clapp III. “The course of labor after endurance exercise during pregnancy.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 163(6 Pt 1):1799-805. Web. Dec-90.
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  • Deirdre K. Tobias, SM, Cuilin Zhang, MD, PHD, Rob M. van Dam, MD, PHD, Katherine Bowers, PHD, Frank B. Hu, MD, PHD. “Physical Activity Before and During Pregnancy and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.” Diabetes Care. American Diabetes Association, 9/27/2010. Web.
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