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Should you, or shouldn’t you, run in pregnancy?
(For another blog entry on running in early pregnancy, go here)
You are probably already doing what you should be doing. Researchers have found that often pregnant women will modify their goals and decrease training on their own, by listening to their bodies (1)
Bottom line… if you have been running before you were pregnant, and your body feels good when you run, absolutely, keep running! Whoop, whoop! It is, however, not the time to increase your intensity, whether by increasing your speed or increasing your distance. The key to running in pregnancy is to listen to your body. And if you feel fine when you are running, but a day or two later you have an increase in pain ANYWHERE, but especially in your pelvic region, then this is called latent pain and is probably caused by your running. This pain, (to me, as a physical therapist), would be a reason to stop running and start looking for the huge range of alternative sporting options available to you.
Amber Miller after running a marathon!
What about the marathon? Many of you may have seen this video of Amber Miller, the woman who ran a marathon at 38 weeks pregnant and then delivered her baby. If you are mid marathon training, and discover you are pregnant, my advice would be to not continue with the marathon training. Stay at the longest distance you have run, and don’t go any longer than that. If you are already at 15 miles in your long runs, maybe switch the marathon plan to a half marathon.
What about… drip, drip… my leaking? There is always the question of running and leaking. If you notice that there is leaking while you are running and pregnant, then I would also advise you to switch to a lower impact sport, or run shorter distances. Your pelvic floor is under a great deal more stress with pregnancy, and adding the impact of running may exacerbate your pelvic floor weakness.
For an interesting, although not entirely accurate, discussion on running and pregnancy, go to this podcast series, and go to number 19, Lady Doc, from my favorite running bloggers Sarah and Dimity
1) Beilock SL, Feltz DL, Pivarnik JM. Training patterns of athletes during pregnancy and postpartum. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Mar 2001; 72(1):39-46.