In my first blog post ever, I wrote an article entitled, Running Pregnant – Before, During, and After Baby – It’s A No Brainer for Runners, in 2008. It became one of my most popular posts and basically was the inspiration behind launching Runners Illustrated. In the article, I reminisced about how I ran the 2002 San Diego Marathon two months pregnant. Women from around the world commented on the post and I thought, gee I am onto something here.
As we move our way from Spring to Summer, and because I am surrounded by 3 pregnant women at work, I figured it was a good time to remind women, that running while pregnant is OK, but you still need to be careful and mind your body during training. I would like to suggest an article I wrote about Gretchen Lynch called, “Training Pregnant and Postpartum: Precautions, Prevention, and Marathons,” which covers what can happen when complications arise. I will always commend Gretchen for her bravery in talking with me. Gretchen was literally having issues as she and I were working on the article. Due to her complications, I originally had to remove the story from the internet, but was fortunate enough to be able to publish it after we learned that Gretchen was not going to lose her baby (which was so much more important than the article).
Getting pregnant while training was something I had not planned on, but as fate would have it, this was a great way to get through the first few months of my first pregnancy without sitting around and stewing about it. With a marathon on the horizon, I asked my doctor if it was alright that I keep training. He was an advocate of my training so I kept up my mileage and took care of myself. Fatigue was an issue but I dutifully met my training partner for long runs on Saturdays and got through them. Before I ran the San Diego marathon, I’d already completed several long runs up to 20 miles. That year, the temperature got up into the 80s and people were fainting so I ran slowly and make sure I took in plenty of fluids during the race. A week after the marathon I got a plane and took a trip to London with my husband and then continued to run when I got back from Europe. As time went on I decided to stop running because it became uncomfortable for me to run. This was at about five or six months and while I did not gain a lot of weight, I just decided to back off. I walked and did other exercise and was back in my jeans two or three weeks after giving birth. I have never regretted my decision not to run all the way through my pregnancy. In fact, which my second child I barely ran at all but did a lot of other types of exercise. I ended up giving birth to him at home, and that was a surprise for everyone involved. Now, I’m running stronger than ever. There is life in running after birth!
Women Want To Run and Train During Pregnancy
In 2007, a woman by the name of Kaitlin Garrett posted a query to Active.com about her upcoming pregnancy.
I have been training for my first marathon and have reached 22 miles in my long run. I was feeling a little slower and slowed down. I felt discouraged until I found out I am pregnant. I will be 12 weeks pregnant at marathon time! This is my fourth pregnancy. I ran until about 22 weeks with my previous pregnancies. If Dr. gives me the go ahead should I? Anyone experienced this? Thanks!
I see posts like this all around the internet and women are so supportive. First of all, there is no reason to quit training while running. For inspiration, look no further than UK marathon star, Paula Radcliffe, who WON the 2007 NYC marathon just 11 months post-partum. Radcliffe trained until the day before she went into labor and started training again less than two weeks after giving birth. While not all of us will be able to do this, Radcliffe proved that marathoners can train through and right after pregnancy.
Be Careful About Injury However
Esther Prins, a good friend of mine and great distance runner, ran pregnant with her daughter, Lily, until her water broke. Unfortuntately, while she was able to start running right after giving birth, Esther suffered terrible knee issues and had to stop training for a while. So there are some downsides to training all the way through pregnancy and starting up again right afterwards. Depending on how much weight you gain and how training with the weight affects your limbs, sometimes we have to be careful after giving birth because hormones, fatigue, emotions and many other factors can affect training.
And when there is pain and a potential complication, you need to be smart. I found this post on www.allexpert.com:
I am an experienced runner. I ran two marathons last year and maintained my running at a lower (15km long runs weekly) after the marathons. I have been keeping up my running during my pregnancy. I am 19 weeks pregnant now and am wondering about the safety of running a half marathon in a week from now. I have been feeling aches in my lower abdomen/pelvic bone after a long run, but the pain subsides after I rest. I have also felt a few jabbing pains on one side of my tummy (not during a run) and those came and went quickly. Is this normal pregnancy discomfort or is it a result of my running? Should I discontinue/back off my running for the remainder of the pregnancy? What are the risks to the baby and myself If any.
The OBGYN who responded to this noted that “achiness in the pelvic bone is a red flag for possible pelvic instability.” Please go to this link and read the whole response. http://en.allexperts.com/q/ObGyn-Pregnancy-issues-1007/2008/5/Running-Half-Marathon-20.htm#b. I believe that by reading and learning, women can make smart choices while running pregnant.
For many of us though, running (and racing) through pregnancy is totally OK.