Pregnant female athletes seem to be hitting the news lately. You have Serena Williams who wins the Australian Open while pregnant. Then poses nude on Vanity Fair. Hell yeah. Then you have Alysia Montano who races pregnant for the second time at USA Championships. The first time she was 8 months pregnant and this time she was 5 months pregnant. All this fetal talk got me thinking.. is it a good idea to workout while pregnant? So I decided to do some research. You can thank me later.
Exercising while pregnant is a good thing. Actually, it’s recommended, as long as you get the okay from your doctor. And there is no reason to stop running once you’re expecting. Many women have ran throughout their entire pregnancies, up until the day they delivered their baby. But how much is too much? How far is too far? The answer lies in how active you are prior to getting knocked up.
Women who are already running before they become pregnant can usually safely continue running throughout their pregnancy. But the amount of running you can do while pregnant depends on if you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced runner prior to pregnancy. Beginner runners are the runners who just started exercising. It’s recommended that they start slowly with a simple walking program (30 minutes of walking 2-3 times a week) in the 1st trimester, with working your way towards power walking gradually in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Intermediate runners were walking or running consistently for at least 3 months prior to the pregnancy for 10-15 miles total per week. For women in this category, you can continue your routine 3-4 times a week, with a day of rest in between. Take it a week at a time, and listen to your body! Decrease your mileage if running becomes difficult, walk or cross train to maintain your fitness level.
Advanced runners were running 15-20 miles a week consistently for 6 months or more prior to pregnancy and occasionally competed in races. You can continue this routine except for the racing. You can run as many as 5 days a week if you feel comfortable. You may find that you don’t feel comfortable running as long or for as many days a week as you did the first two trimesters. If you aren’t feeling comfortable, a great option is working out in the pool to help alleviate some of the added weight.
Please remember these are just generalized guidelines. Everyone is different. Some women have to keep their workouts simple: like pregnant yoga classes. Whatever works for you will do. Just keep moving! It’s good for both you and baby!
For the women out there, do you have experience working out while being pregnant? If so, comment below! I’ve never been pregnant but do plan on continuing my workout regime best I can if I ever get pregnant in the future. You know, in like ten years or so. 🙂
Also, another thought: once that baby is out, it’s good to tether it and continue running (after appropriate recovery time of course). That’s what jogging strollers are for: jogging with babies. Perhaps another good topic to cover is postpartum weight loss and how to get into a healthy workout routine with kid(s).