Pre & Postnatal Running: What You Need to Know

Running is a different kind of sport. They have a mindset and determination that makes running a distance something desired that they can settle into and be able to conquer. They prepare their bodies for endurance and speed, it’s like an euphoric state. The runner tends to form an identity associated with their running, which “runs deep” within them.

The world is changing but when runners become mothers. If a woman is pregnant, she has to deal not just with physical issues as well with emotional and mental changes. The changes in structure and the shifts that happen every trimester result in an adjustment that is felt from day to day in stride-by-stride. The difficulties persist (and often increase) when you have your baby. Assisting clients through this phase of their lives is a wonderful reward.

There are myriad advantages of exercising during pregnancy for both the mother and child. It’s an incredible time to start training pregnant women because research suggests that exercising during pregnancy isn’t just O.K., it is strongly recommended.

Why Exercise During Pregnancy?

  • Reduce constipation, backaches Bloating, swelling, and back pain
  • Increase energy and mood
  • Improve your sleep
  • Reduce the risk of weight gain
  • Increase muscle tone, strength, and endurance
  • Potential to lower the risk of gestational diabetics ( Mayo Clinic)

As per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2002), “The guidelines advise that pregnant women who habitually engage in a vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., the equivalent of running or jogging) or who are highly active can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their health care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.”

During Pregnancy

There are some basic tips to keep in mind when working with women who want to run for longer or even start running, in every trimester.

Heart rate monitoring is now out. As far back as 2002, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists declared that monitoring the heart rate was not a requirement during pregnancy. The preferred method of measuring intensity is the rating of perceivable exercise (RPE) as well as the “Talk Test.” A pregnant woman should be able to speak in a few phrases during her runs.

This is the time to maintain. Women should not exceed their pre-pregnancy limits or speeds. When pregnant, runners must keep their focus on maintaining their normal distances and speed. This means that there are no changes in their running level. If you are a woman who would like to start running during pregnancy, your primary job is to start with a moderate pace and then progress gradually.

Pay attention to irregular areas. Because of shifts in weight distribution as well as hormonal fluctuations, a woman’s body can be more and more unstable during pregnancy. The most significant hormonal change that helps keep in mind balance problems is relaxation. Relaxin can cause ligamentous laxity in all joints, and levels begin to increase shortly after the conception. Relaxin, when combined with the shifts in weight distribution that happen as the baby expands, makes pregnant women susceptible to challenges with balance. Be sure to keep her on a level and stable surface to avoid fall-related injuries.

Keep at a cool temperature. One of the most effective feto-protective mechanisms in pregnancy is the ability to dissipate heat. When pregnant women are better in their ability to dissipate heat better as they did before becoming pregnant, which can help safeguard the infant. While this is a common occurrence, however, it is important to know how to maintain proper thermoregulation. Choose a location that is either indoors, or with a lot of shade, particularly during warmer weather.

Postpartum Things to Consider

Here are some general guidelines for six weeks postpartum and after approval from a physician:

The shape of her body changes. Once the baby is born, a woman will be moving in a new body, with potential gait adjustments. Hips have expanded throughout pregnancy, and they could stay as they were postpartum. This body can be a bit unstable and uncomfortable as she gets back into running in the same way, and her routine won’t work in the same method… And it’s acceptable. Make sure she is willing to look at her gait or even her speed, differently. It’s not a bad thing, but different.

The focus should be on pelvic floor rehabilitation. Whether the woman has been through a vaginal delivery the training regimen she follows should include strengthening the pelvic floor. It is the burden of the infant during the uterus that could cause her pelvic floor to fall by as much as one inch. A weak pelvic floor could impact the speed and the intensity of back pain, and even comfort after returning to running.

The running with the baby. The life of a woman changes drastically after the baby is born, and frequently, the infant becomes an integral part of her daily routine. One of the most effective methods to integrate her baby into her routine of running is to run in strollers. The stroller, although useful, could pose issues with stride length or arm swing. Encourage her to take an even shorter stride and swing her arm at times.

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