Project Mum: Five things to think about whilst running pregnant
By Emily Burmester on 13th April 2023 Advice
Running when pregnant, let us tell you some truths and myths about it.
It can be a bit bewildering especially because there are a lot of different opinions (and to be honest myths) when it comes to running whilst pregnant. That’s why we're going straight to a credible source, who’s extremely experienced in this department.
Cue, Emily Burmester from Project Mum.
Having been a Physio for 14 years, Emily has now specialised in pelvic health and has dedicated her most recent years to this area of physiotherapy. Emily now helps hundreds of mums in their fitness journey through physio, education and pregnancy, fitness, and running courses.
Of course, we could go real deep with this topic because everyone is so different that it’s not one rule for all. But just so that we can help you on your way and keep you doing what you love, we asked Emily what her top five things she thinks every mum should know about running whilst pregnant.
And here you have it, words and advice from Emily…
Running is safe.
If you were running before you fell pregnant and you haven’t been specifically told that you shouldn’t run, running is very safe in pregnancy and you can continue as long as it feels good — your baby will not fall out on the pavement. Things may become less comfortable as the pregnancy progresses and the point you need to modify or stop will vary for everyone, so learn to listen to your body, and dial it back if you need to (there’s no shame in it).
Use the right gear.
‘Over the bump’ shorts or tights are your best friend. Invest in a good pair as you will use them throughout pregnancy and postpartum and will make running (and all movement) feel better. You can buy special running belts but I would question if you are relying too much on these whether you should still be running. Your boobs will expand so make sure you have a good bra to keep you comfortable, or you can even double up on sports bras for extra support.
What to look out for.
Leaking urine, a pressure/heaviness feeling, or pain are a big no no. If you are experiencing any of these then you may need to modify or drop the running down. Switching to hill walking, swimming, biking, or using a cross trainer are good lower impact cardio alternatives. And you can’t beat strength training in pregnancy, just make sure you do this safely.
Keep your steps small and cadence high to reduce the load on joints and pelvic floor. Running uphill is less load on your pelvic floor, and downhill is the hardest. Run up the hills and walk down, it’s a great way to get a workout and keep the legs strong but taking the pressure off. If you have a treadmill, set it to an incline (but who has a treadmill honestly, haha).
Accept your own run journey.
Some women can run through pregnancy, others need to stop straight away. This is no reflection on you as a runner, it is what it is. If you need to ease off in pregnancy, this usually doesn’t impact your postpartum run journey so be reassured you will get back there.
And remember to…
- Avoid running in the heat as an increase in core temp can be distressing to bubs.
- Drink plenty and make sure you fuel yourself to ensure enough nutrition to run and grow a baby.
- Choose your terrain wisely as with an expanding bump your centre of gravity is off and you might not be able to see your feet.
- Strength training will keep you running longer and improve your postpartum running so make sure you have this in your plan.
- Work with a knowledgeable Physio, the internet is a confusing place so make sure you get your information and support from the right place. I’m here for ya!
The most important thing to remember with running and all things pregnancy/postpartum is to focus on what is right for you! Run as long as you feel good, don’t be afraid to modify if you need to but also don’t let your mother-in-law put you off (they’re usually the ones telling you all the myths out there).
Project Mum has a great resource of information, exercise tips, and a community of mums via social media, so head over to @projectmumnz and give Emily a follow.
Also, did we mention that Emily is a very experienced runner having taken on some pretty epic runs pre and post kids (many marathons and Tarawera 100), so she totally gets it!
Thanks Emily, you’re a bloody legend!