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73 Running and Pregnancy.


This article is from the Running FAQ, by Ozzie Gontang with numerous contributions by others.

73 Running and Pregnancy.

Paula Vanzant-Hardick <exupaul@exu.ericsson.se>

I have been running for oh, about 11 or 12 years now and have run all the
way through all of my pregnancies. I feel like it has made them healthier
for both of us. I have never had any kind of a problem with low iron, high
blood pressure or any real pregnancy related maladies.

I also believe that had I not run, my recovery time after each baby was
born would have been significantly longer than they were. Even after my
second one (the C section, I could walk a couple of miles within about 10
days after delivery).

Running is a FABULOUS form of stress management.

Now to my diet, I just really maintained my normal diet, the only thing is
I may have been a little heavier on the fresh fruits (trying to avoid that
refined sugar you know) and I usually drink at least 10 8oz glasses of
water a day (you notice I say at least). The water I think also helps to
keep the yuckies away.

I am planning to continue my training regime as usual with this pregnancy
as I have with the others. I guess the only thing that I may do a bit
differently during pregnancy is if I really feel like I need to walk during
any of my runs, I will, it may only be a few feet or it may be 1/2 mile
but if I have a feeling that I don't think should be there I don't hesitate
to walk it off.

Any of these other women who have run while pregnant may have other
suggestions but I guess my biggest thing is to just really do what feels
best for the person.

And one last note, there were times during each of my pregnancies that I
would have rather had a nap, but instead would drag myself out for a run, I
would not only feel better after I had run, I would have TONS more energy
(and the second, third and now fourth time that is VERY important.)

Thanks for asking and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts!
Paula (and the thundering herd--Tom, Shaun, Alexa, Erin and #4)

excerpted by Paula from UK version of Runner's World May 1995

"Running for Two" (subtitle Good News- running during pregnancy can make
you and your baby healthier!) By Joe Dunbar

"There are two main issued: how will training affect the baby, and how will
pregnancy affect running performance?....In General, the running you do
when pregnant should be aimed at maintaining rather than developing

The main danger to the fetus (that British spelling), according to Dr.
Richard Budgett 0f the British Olympic Medical Centre, is from an increase
in body temperature. The main effect of too great an increase in body
temperature is damage to the fetus's central nervous system. The danger is
especially great in the first three months, but you should be careful
throughout the pregnancy. Budgett recommends that you limit the increase
in body temperature to 38.9 Degree C (102 F).

You are also generally recommended not to exceed a rate of 140-150bpm, but
individuals vary enormously in their resting , maximum and training heart
rates. Remember too that one effect of endurance training is that your body
can control temperature rises more effectively ,so a runner who is highly
trained before pregnancy should be in a slightly better position. Drinking
plenty of fluids is essential to avoid dehydration and hyperthermia. This
will also help to limit the temperature increase, so get into the habit of
drinking regularly during training it's equally important to avoid
hypoglycemia during and after exercise carbo drinks will help to replace
[carbohydrates] both during and after exercise, provided that they aren't
too concentrated. One recent project that followed two groups of 462
suburban women through their pregnancies found that women who had burned
more calories per week (as a result of greater exercise levels) tend to
give birth to slightly heavier babies than women who had exercised less.

...the bottom line? Although each individual will differ, you should bear
in mind the following guidelines on pregnancy and running:

o It is safe to continue moderate training throughout your pregnancy,
although individual complications may cause limitations.
o Listen to your body and run as you feel.
o There is no need to switch to other forms of exercise unless you
have specific problems.
o Use your heart rate and check your temperature during training.
Stick to sensible levels to avoid hyperthermia.
o Take plenty of fluids to limit the risk of dehydration and assist
o You can reduce lower back pain by strengthening the abdominal & hip
flexor muscles, & stretching the muscles around the pelvis and spine.
o Try to avoid explosive exercise during pregnancy.
o Try water-running sessions: they are specific to running but have
far less impact, and water helps to avert hyperthermia."

As I said, I found this article very interesting, and the parts that I have
included are verbatim, unless in parentheses. Hope you find this
interesting and of some use to all those expectant mom's who don't want to
give up their running.


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