Women who live an active lifestyle often find themselves trying to decide if it’s worth it to continue running. Their bodies are going through some major adjustments and this can be an overwhelming decision to make. We want to help provide some much needed peace of mind, so we interview a local expert. Kristin Stovern is a mom, runner, and certified nurse midwife. Kristin answers some of the most common question expecting mothers have about pregnancy and exercise.
Q: Is it safe to continue a running routine during a pregnancy?
A: Every pregnancy is different and gestational age certainly may make a difference. If you were running before pregnancy and have a low risk pregnancy, then continuing to run or run/walk is considered safe. As with all exercise, please consult your healthcare provider before continuing or initiating an exercise program. It is also advisable to wear a heart rate monitor to ensure your heart rate stays within a safe range.
Q: What are the benefits?
A: In a healthy pregnancy and with clearance from a health care provider, exercise is very beneficial in pregnancy. Pregnancy is a healthful state of a woman’s body. The better condition her body is in, the less likely there will be complications such as hypertension or diabetes. In addition, aches and pains are a common part of pregnancy. Exercise can alleviate some of the common discomforts such as sciatica, low back pain, and nausea.
Q: What are some myths or fears that need dispelled?
A: Pregnancy brings many fears and anxiety producing concerns to the forefront of a woman’s mind. In the event that something should go wrong, it is difficult to filter what could have been done differently to change the outcome. This may lead a person to place the blame on exercise or activity when a clear cause could not be determined. Historically exercising during pregnancy was considered by the public to be potentially harmful to mother and baby. When family members push their beliefs upon their loved ones, it can be hard for them go against those they trust.
Q: Are there special dietary recommendations?
A: Pregnancy in the first trimester does not require an increase number of calories per day. Second and third trimesters require an approximate 250 calories increase. Proper hydration and nutritional intake are essential during any pregnancy. Women who exercise during pregnancy need to be aware of their caloric intake to be sure they are consuming sufficient calories.
Q: Do you suggest certain precautions women should take?
A: Throughout pregnancy, check in with your provider to ensure it is still safe to run/walk. Listen to your body!!! Your body will give you “clues” should you need to slow down, stop, or hydrate. Pregnant women should consider exercising with a partner. This assures assistance is readily available in case they begin to feel poorly. If at any time a pregnant woman experiences any spotting, pain or pressure she should discontinue activity immediately and consult her provider or the local labor and delivery unit. Remember during pregnancy our bodies require more fluids, so it is imperative to drink water in while exercising.
These are just a few of the commonly asked questioned providers hear during office visits. We have only scratched the surface when it comes to questions an expecting mother will. One thing to remember is to play it safe. If you feel anything out of the ordinary please consult your provider. Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy or at any other point in life is a good idea. Here is a free guide with some great tips for anyone. Click the download button to get yours.