If you've decided to carry on running during your pregnancy, you'll need to be aware of potential health issues - and how to minimise the risks.
We're here to support you wholeheartedly if you want to run throughout your pregnancy. We're not called running4women for nothing, all! But we want you, and your baby, to be as safe and happy as possible. Here's our best health advice for pregnant runners.
Keep It Low-Key
Pregnancy is not the time to ramp up your running mileage, chase race PBs or try new training techniques. Stick with whatever you're used to, whether that's short one-paced runs or weekly speedwork, but remain flexible and be ready to scale it back if and when the time comes.
It's very important that you don't let your body overheat as a pregnant runner. Hot days and humid conditions will obviously put you at risk of overheating, but the risk is there even on cooler days. Make sure your running kit is light and breathable, and stay well hydrated before, during and after your training runs.
Leave Your Ego At Home
If you need to stop, walk, turn back or simply accept that today is not the day for running, it's important that you feel able to do so. If you're able to run whilst pregnant then that's wonderful, but if you're not, that's OK too. You're still a runner. Just a pregnant runner who happens to be on hiatus for a while. The running4women community, forums and Facebook page are still here for you.
Look Out For Aches and Pains
With so many changes occurring in your body, you'll need to stay aware of any aches, pains or niggles. These could be ligament or joint pain, discomfort from kit fitting differently, unusual pressure or indeed anything which causes you concern. If in doubt, stop, consult a medical practitioner and see what changes you need to make before deciding whether or not to carry on running.
Sportsbras And Running Shoes For Pregnant Runners
Quite obviously, you'll need to change your sportsbra during your pregnancy to accommodate your changing breast size, shape and weight. You'll also need at least one new pair of running shoes, as your feet are likely to expand (and the pressure on your feet and ankles will increase).
Don't Over Stretch Yourself
We mean literally! Remember that your ligaments become looser and more pliable during pregnancy, and it's easy to over stretch and cause minor injury. So tailor your regular running stretches to take into account the increase in hormones. This particularly applies to stretches focusing on your hips, buttocks, hamstrings and pelvic girdle.
Have you run through any stages of a pregnancy? We'd love to hear your experiences (good or bad) and your best advice for other pregnant runners.