Staying active when pregnant: Advice to expectant mothers

Mums-to-be often question whether they should continue running during their pregnancy. Many stop running through fear of harming their unborn child, or are unsure how far and how hard they can train. However, research shows that it can be beneficial to both mother and baby to continue exercise during a healthy pregnancy.

The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain, according to the NHS. Exercise will help mothers cope with labour and aid weight loss following the arrival of their baby.

The key to finding the right level of exercise is to maintain your usual level of activity. This means that if you ran three times a week prior to falling pregnant, then it is safe to continue following a similar plan, as long as you feel comfortable.

Exercise is not dangerous during pregnancy, but mums-to-be may find the following advice useful to continue enjoying keeping active while pregnant.

  • If you didn’t run before pregnancy now is not the best time to take up the hobby. Stick to your usual level of activity rather than choosing this time to take on new challenges.
  • Don’t exhaust yourself. You may need to kerb the miles or slow the pace if you feel yourself becoming overtired. Follow the advice of your doctor and midwife to ensure you don’t overdo it, especially as your pregnancy progresses. You should be to hold a conversation while running, so challenging splits and tough hill climbs may be best saved for another time. You can still reap the benefits of running without pushing yourself to the limits.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down after runs. Take care not to launch into a long run without allowing your body time to prepare.
  • Avoid running in hot weather. This may mean running early in the morning of at the end of the day in the summer. Also ensure you stay hydrated by topping up before you run and bringing water with you when you exercise.

Charity Tommy’s echoes the NHS advice surrounding running.

“If you were a runner or jogger before you got pregnant, it’s safe and healthy to continue during your pregnancy as long as you feel ok,” they say. “Your baby will not be harmed by the impact or the movement.”

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