10 Dos & Don’ts of Running while Pregnant


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Well, I did it!

I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant, and I made it an entire 10 miles without running to the port-a-potty. That was just one of the fears I had this past weekend while running the Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler Race.

Even though I always get a little anxious before races, I was particularly nervous to run this race as a pregnant mama. It’s not like I’m a runner runner. It wasn’t too long ago that I absolutely hated running. As I waited in the dreaded port-a-potty line with all the other anxious runners, I couldn’t help but think of all the bad scenarios that could happen…

What if I couldn’t find a port-a-potty in time? What if I started having braxton hicks contractions? What if I started randomly   crying for no reason? What if I went so slow that I ended up getting swept up with the discarded water cups after everyone else  finished? 

Fortunately, none of my fears came true. Instead, I enjoyed a fantastic run on an absolutely beautiful, spring day. If you ever want to make the leap from 5K’s to longer distances, the Broad Street Run is the perfect race.

It’s one of the biggest races in the country for good reason- it’s flat, it’s straight and offers a wonderful snapshot of the city of Philadelphia. I couldn’t get my music to work during the race, and I’m really glad. I loved taking in all the sights and cheers from the crowds that lined Broad Street.

For other pregnant mommas that are thinking about running while pregnant, check out my list of Dos and Don’ts of Running while Pregnant. 

10 Dos & Don'ts of Running while Pregnant

10 Dos & Don’ts of Running while Pregnant

1. Do consult with your doctor

Exercise in most cases is safe during pregnancy. It’s often recommended! Yet, it’s still important to talk with your doctor, especially if you are trying to do something different than you normally do.

2. Don’t stress about pace or time

For those who have run races in the past, it can be difficult not to want to keep up with your normal pace or go for that PR. Don’t forget there’s also a baby along for the ride who doesn’t mind if you are 1:00, 5:00 or 10:00 minutes slower than your normal pace. I ended up with about 11:00 minute pace, and I was quite happy.

3. Do try to plan a race for your 2nd trimester

This isn’t always possible if you have a particular race in mind, and there are plenty of women who are able to run up until the end (like this amazing mama who ran a marathon at 34 weeks). Yet, if you have the option, the 2nd trimester is the way to go. Most women are feeling more energetic, don’t have to take as many bathroom trips and haven’t gotten too big yet.

4. Don’t forget to study the course map for drink stations and port-a-potties

It was very important to me to make sure I knew when to anticipate a bathroom and water break. I ended up not even needing to use the bathroom, but I did make sure to stop (and walk) through every water break.

5. Do dress comfortably

It’s nice to dress comfortably while running whether pregnant or not, but I made sure to keep things light so I wouldn’t get overheated.  I often use this amazing tool from Runner’s World to help determine what to wear on race day. You don’t want to forget a good, supportive bra to keep growing, sore breasts contained.

I didn’t use one because I’m still early, but I know lots of pregnant ladies who swear by belly bands. You can find one here. Oh, one more thing… don’t be surprised if you need to bump up a shoe size. About two weeks before the race I had to purchase a new pair of sneakers because my old ones were too small (#pregnancy problems). 

6. Don’t forget to fuel up

I always make sure to eat and drink something before any race. I stuck to my usual banana and slice of peanut butter toast about two hours before the race started. The best part of running in a race in Philly? The Philly pretzel at the end.

7. Do listen to your body

I started running the race with some friends and we were going a pretty good pace until about 6 miles. I started feeling some pressure, so I urged my friends to keep up with their pace as I slowed down. I’m so glad I did. Although Mile 8 was a rough one, I felt really great through the end.

8. Don’t overtrain or over do it

I think this is crucial for any race. Overtraining can most certainly lead to injury. In the weeks leading up to the race, I took it easy and slowly built up the miles.

9. Do mix up your training with weights

Since you are going to be carrying around a lot more weight during pregnancy, it’s important to have nice, strong muscles. I spent a lot of time focusing on squats to built my leg muscles and avoid any injuries. Squats are good preparation for labor too! Try these easy leg exercises

10. Don’t forget to have fun!

This is the most important part. I ran the Broad Street Run because it’s fun. Being pregnant did not take away any of the excitement and sense of accomplishment I felt crossing that finish line. In fact, it probably only added to it.

*PLUS, Bonus Dos & Don’ts for Running while Pregnant from Real Pregnant Ladies

  • Teela-  Learn how to hold your pelvic floor while running (find some exercises for your pelvic floor) 
  • Andrea- Do choose a flatter, more stable course once you’re in your 3rd trimester- your center of gravity can be ‘off’
  • Sandra- Do only what feels good, and don’t be afraid to stop if something doesn’t feel right.

10 Dos & Don'ts of Running While Pregnant

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  • This is a great list! As an avid runner and someone who ran through her second pregnancy I think this is such an on pint list!
    I ran until I was 40 + 1 days prego with Wesley. I felt great. I did get the OK from my Dr and the biggest piece was listening to my body.
    I remember being bummed about my pace sowing down but the first run after I had him there was such a difference.
    Great read! Tweeted!
    Hope you get to run throughout your whole pregnancy!!
    Crystal Bissonnette recently posted…His Magic BlanketMy Profile

  • Eva Simborg says:

    That’s a great list! I started running years after I was pregnant but I would’ve loved to see this list before. I did yoga though 🙂

  • Anna White says:

    Terrific list! I’m hoping to be more active next pregnancy. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

  • Great tips… I’m not a rubber, pregnant or not, but if I was, this would be useful haha! congrats on the pregnancy…so exciting!!!
    Rachael Boley recently posted…Thanks For The Memories, Time Hop AbeMy Profile

  • Oh, wow! You are amazing! I can’t believe you ran 10 miles while pregnant! Wow! This is a fantastic list!
    Tarynn Playle recently posted…A Mother’s Day Guide Just For MeMy Profile

  • I mostly walked when I was pregnant. That is so awesome you ran a race!
    Melissa Matters recently posted…Falling into the Busy TrapMy Profile

  • Amanda says:

    Great post! I took up running after both my babies were born, but these are excellent tips I’ll be sharing with some expectant mommas I know. Thanks!!

  • This is a great list! I am a runner, mom of 2 and a physiotherapist so this list speaks to me! I treat a lot of active pregnant women and I will definitely be sharing your list with some of my patients.

    It’s very important to note that if you were not a runner before you became pregnant then you should not start to become a runner during your first trimester. However, if you regularly run, then it is very safe and helpful to continue to stay active and run during your first trimester. The recommendations for running in your second trimester are a bit different. You can start a new activity such as running in your second trimester (as long as your physician has approved this) but you must start slow and progression should be very gradual so that your growing body can adapt.

    Another tip I might add to your list that I found particularly helpful for when I was pregnant was wearing a SIJ belt or baby belly belt. I recommend “the baby belly belt” by diane lee (you can find it if you google it). It is definitely the best belt on the market. With pregnancy comes hormonal changes that make your pelvis more lax. This means that the bones in your pelvis and low back are more mobile and unless you are super strong in your core, you may need some additional support during activities. Without the belt, I would feel pain in my low back while I ran, but the belt completely eliminated that.

    Thanks again for sharing your post and tips!
    Physiotherapy Toronto recently posted…How to Choose a Supportive Running ShoeMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I really appreciate all the great information. I mentioned running with a belly band because I know people that have used it. I tried it yet, but I’m thinking it might be a great idea to do as I get bigger. I’m definitely going to look into the baby belly belt. Thanks for your suggestion. I also agree with you that it’s important to not to take up something like running in the first trimester. It’s always best to talk with your doctor! I’ll be sure to check out your site.

  • bryan flake says:

    My wife and I are expecting our first baby. She is super worried she will gain a lot of weight. I’ve told her she’ll be fine. This article is really helpful to illustrate just how much exercise she can and cannot do while pregnant.

  • Veronika says:

    I love that you’ve kept running so far into your pregnancy! I remember being pregnant and struggling to peel myself off the couch. I just barely got into running, and I hope I’ll be able to continue running when I’m pregnant with our next child.

  • Tricia, tips 1 and 4 sure sound like some great tips for me to maybe share to my wife.For a runner like her she’s been wanting to run almost every day even while pregnant. Her intentions are good but with her being pregnant sure gets me worried that it had me thinking about maybe getting her into a physiotherapy session to consult with the doctor.

  • Mindy Holmes says:

    During my pregnancy, I never encourage myself to run. Well, walking but not running. I think my baby will fall haha, but I made sure in everything I do I’m enjoying it. Of course, my husband is always on my side. He’s my guide when I do stretching and he carried me back home when I feel so tired.
    Mindy Holmes recently posted…10 Pregnancy Symptoms Asking for Medical HelpMy Profile

  • My wife is pregnant, but she is huge into staying fit and in shape. She loves to run, but the problem is is that she isn’t sure how to properly do this while carrying the baby. That being said, I really appreciate you letting me know the do’s and don’ts of running while pregnant. I’ll be sure to show this to her right away so she can begin working on it all. Thanks a ton for sharing this with me.

  • Monica Wood says:

    Hey, great share…..

    I am 22 weeks pregnant and really worried about my health. I haven’t been exercising much lately. I only walked once in the last week aside from all the errands and general activity but I’m planning and thinking about starting T-tapp as soon as I can get my hands on a workout DVD.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I am feeling motivated.
    Keep sharing more…

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Tricia, thanks for sharing this.

    I think it is a shame for me that I only found your blog yesterday. It is a great blog!
    Melissa recently posted…5 Tips for a Fit and Healthy PregnancyMy Profile

  • Hi Tricia,,

    Nice and very useful article for the ladies willing to run while on pregnancy. Nice to hear you ran for 10 miles without facing any of your fears.

    It is good but not for all, it is best to have a discussion with your doctor before you plan for any of these activities. If its not going bad for you then only try for doing it.

    For those who didn’t have any problem, this is the article very useful. All of the basics and peaks are well described by your post. Number One, Eighth and Tenth is the most important according to me.

    Thanks for the nice article. Hope will definitely help many of Upcoming Mom’s willing to have a race.

    ~ Harshwardhan
    Harshwardhan Singh recently posted…7 Essential Pregnancy Tips for the First Time MothersMy Profile

  • Melissa says:

    You are fierce – awesome! Walking was enough work for me as the weeks started to add up; but I love the thought of running a race. Congrats!
    Melissa recently posted…Umbilical Cord Blood and Why it is ImportantMy Profile

  • Christine says:

    You are awesome! I’m a runner myself and I did not know I was on my way to being 2 months pregnant when I ran my last 21K race. But I decided to go on a sabbatical for the time being, as I already feel too heavy in my 6 month of pregnancy. I really miss running though and look forward to having a comeback once my beautiful baby comes out! Cheers!!! 😀
    Christine recently posted…Do’s and Don’ts When Going for A Long RunMy Profile

  • Wohlphysio says:

    this is a great post and well written and very helpful resource

  • Hi Tricia! Great article and thanks for sharing – so good to read how much excercise you can do whilst pregnant. I’m going to stick with my power walking though 🙂 Katie x

  • I just had my first child (son!) four months ago, and I’m doing my best to get back into my running routine. It’s so inspiring to see an awesome mom like you out there kicking butt! I struggled with staying fit during my pregnancy, and I certainly wish I had seen this list back then! But your tips are going to make it a whole lot easier this next time around! Thank you! 🙂

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