Friday, January 14, 2011

Running While Pregnant

So...I am just barely 6 weeks pregnant and have been running. Usually I run about 18 miles a week, with 6 miles being my longest run. My heart rate is usually in the 170's. I have never run before while pregnant, though I was in good running shape before I got pregnant this time.... I have heard that your heart rate cannot be above a certain number, is this correct? If so, what is this "magic" number? If you have run while pregnant, did you find that you needed to decrease your speed a lot to maintain this lower heart rate? I feel great and I've been careful to not overexert myself by listening to my body, but any advice or knowledge on this subject would be greatly appreciated! Thank you SO much for your help!!!


erinmalia said...

First, congrats on the pregnancy.

Second, the "magical number" you'll find while searching online or the "What to expect" books is 140 (I think). But it's just so hard. I really think you need to listen to your body.

Also, listen to your doctor! Ask him/her what they think at your next appointment. Each doctor/midwife/nurse will have a different opinion, which is why I think it's just so important to listen to you.

Amber said...

yes, congratulations on the pregnancy!!

my midwife said I had to keep my heart rate at 140. this was a brisk walk for me, and since I was training for a half, this was impossible for me to keep it that low. I tried to keep it under 170, but really just didn't push myself during my training. I researched online and found that the number 140 is arbitrary: no evidence supports this number.

I agree with erinmalia, just listen to your body and your doctor. I was nervous about all my running while I was pregnant (I ran my race at 16 weeks pregnant), and delivered a happy, healthy and perfectly normal baby, even with my heart rate being so high at the beginning.

good luck!

Giggles said...

The 140 idea is so old and out of date. A doctor up on the research wouldn't say that.

What you need to do is get the book "Exercising Through Your Pregnancy" by Dr. Clapp. Did you know that most of the recommendations for pregnant women came from studies on cows (which are one of the more sedentary creatures) and men (who, last I checked, don't have a uterus)? The book is full of research and suggestions before, during, and after pregnancy.

After reading that book I can't imagine not running while pregnant unless I was high risk for some reason.

Listen to your body. You'll slow down the first trimester, have more energy the second, and will have to modify the third when your body shape and center of balance changes.

The important things to watch out for (much more than heart rate) is hydration and over heating. So keep cool and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Amateur Steph said...

Congrats on the pregnancy and congrats on being in shape for the pregnancy!
I ran for about 5 months of my second pregnancy about 20-25 miles per week and I didn't pay particular attention to my heart rate.
My midwife said that if you are doing it before your pregnancy it's safe to keep doing it during your pregnancy. I just relaxed and listened to my body. As I got bigger my speed naturally dropped as well as my mileage. Good luck! I found that my body recovered much better after the pregnancy since I was in shape.

kate said...

thank you so much for all your help!!

Erin said...

Congratulations!! I ran during the first tri of my pregnancy and switched over to walking and the elliptical for the rest. My midwife said that it is not so much a magic number for your heart rate as it is that you don't want to over exert yourself or push too hard. They were very supportive of me running and staying active. There are so many moms out there who run while pregnant. Check out Kara Goucher's blog The best advice I have is just listen to your body.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I agree with Giggles-the 140 rule is very outdated and "Exercising through your pregnancy" is an awesome and informative book.

I ran steadily throughout my entire first pregnancy - including 3 miles on my due date. And I have run steadily throughout my current pregnancy, including a half marathon at 5 months along.

Of course, everyone is different and you should talk to your doctor - but if you want to run while pregnant - I encourage it whole-heartedly. It's a really incredible experience and qiute amazing to see what your body can do. Some of the best memories I have during my pregnancies are while I was out running.

Melissa McCloud said...

great blog... i'm 22 weeks, and i run and teach spin at the gym too. my doc said as long as i was exercising pre-conception, it is ok to keep doing the same activities (as my body is used to it) until i experience discomfort. basically, listen to your body in my opinion...
it's my first pregnancy, but giving birth is very physical from what i understand! it's important to be "in training" for it!

Anonymous said...

I would read "Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth" by Barbara Luke. She has a doctorate, a masters, is a registered nurse and a registered dietitian and researches the factors that lead to premature birth, including the effects of exercise--what's okay, and what's not. With pregnancy, the stakes are high and you want to do all you can for the best possible outcome for your sweet baby!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy I found this blog. I am TTC and also just signed up for a half at the end of March. I was wondering if I was crazy, stupid, selfish, etc. by trying to do both things. Now I realize that as long as I listen to my body and accept the fact that I might walk during the race, I feel much better. :)

Anonymous said...

The old consensus was 140 but they have since come to the knowledge that pregnant women are not fragile. Remaining active actually decreases stress on you and your baby, helps keep weight gain in normal range AND allows for an easier delivery. Only you and your doctor know for sure what your "magic number" is. As long as you listen to your body and don't strive for a PR, I see no reason you can't keep running through your pregnancy.

Polliwog said...

Basically, I'm repeating some of what's been said. My father is an OB/GYN (a damn fine one, too, lol) and here's what I know from him: 1. ACOG (American College of OB/GYN) has taken the number of 140 off of their previous recommendations. They now state to be careful not to overexert. 2. Dad's advice--you should be able to carry on a conversation when exercising ... not so out of breath that you can't talk. I find this a good rule of thumb. I am currently 14 weeks pregnant and bought a heartrate monitor. I was at 140 within moments of starting a run! After watching it, I decided that staying under 170 seems more reasonable. It's still frustratingly slow, but I want my baby oxygenated. :)

Pregnancy Miracle said...

Exercise helps women during the pregnancy we should keep on doing little exercise to keep our body more fit and healthy. And hence we should keep on doing that.

Jill said...

Hi. I stumbled upon your blog because I just got back from my 1st prenatal appointment. I am 6 1/2 weeks pregnant with our first child. So far there are no "high risk" issues or anything. YAY!

Here is the problem. I told my OB I run 12-15 miles a week at a conversation pace. She firmly told me that I HAVE TO STOP RUNNING. I am currently training for a half marathon that takes place on May 7, 2011. She told me I should not participate.

She said I can swim, ride a stationary bike, and do the elliptical...BUT NO RUNNING.

I left the appointment in tears. I don't know what to do. Do I completely stop or find another OB?

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.


Meredith said...

I found your blog because we are TTC and my OB/GYN told me to stop running and I'm researching like crazy because I feel like this just isn't right - before I'm even pregnant! I have been running for the past 8 years and have done several marathons and half-marathons and a bunch of other races. I love running and it's a major stress reliever for me. I typically run 20-25 miles a week right now. I'm assuming (based on other things I've read) that I should probably just reduce the intensity of my workouts - as in I'm forgoing hill repeats and speed work and having them as just regular runs. Does anyone have any advice?

Tanya said...

I found this blog when i was researching running and pregancies. I am about to step into my 6th week and my OB/GY is being very firm about not running!
I was running till four weeks because i obviously did not know. I averaged about 20 miles per week.
I have absolutely no complications, and running is one of the things that actually got me back to fitness levels i had forgotten.
I am not sure i agree with my Doctor and i would like to continue with my running as long as i can!!
Id love some view points!

DDT said...

My Dr told me to stay under 140 also--however, the more I read the more I understand that this is a ridiculous number pulled out of someone (who is NOT a runner) toosh. My dr. ALSO told me (in no uncertain terms) that he's basically not going to "OK" anything b/c then if I get hurt or something happens, HE'S not responsible. This leads me to believe the rule is more about covering the asses of these dr/midwives than of looking out for the mom/baby.

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