As soon as you find out you’re expecting, you may start wondering which activities are safe for you and your baby. One of the most common concerns has to do with exercising. Many expectant moms wonder if it’s safe for them to exercise while pregnant and if doing so will harm the baby in any way. Runners and joggers, in particular, may worry if it’s safe to continue these forms of exercise even while pregnant since these are not low-impact activities. So let’s find out more about the role of exercise in pregnancy and explore if it’s safe for you to go jogging.
Moderate Levels Of Exercise Is Safe During Pregnancy
In general, moderate levels of exercise and activity are safe – and recommended – during pregnancy. In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association, exercise that promotes physical fitness and overall wellbeing can help alleviate some of the common discomforts associated with pregnancy and also prepare your body for labor and birth.
If you worked out regularly before you got pregnant, your OB/GYN is likely to recommend that you stay active during your pregnancy as well – as long as there are no health conditions that restrict activity or exercise.
It is important to note, though, that your pregnancy is definitely not the time to exercise with the aim of losing weight. That said, optimal amounts of exercise will help you lose the baby weight more quickly post-delivery.
About 30 minutes of activity every day can
- reduce back pain, swelling, constipation
- increase energy and alertness levels
- improve your mood, psychological well-being, endurance, posture, muscle tone, and blood circulation
- enable you to sleep better1
Prior Fitness Determines The Safety Of Jogging During Pregnancy
If You Were A Jogger Before Pregnancy
Jogging is generally considered a moderate-impact activity, unlike walking which is considered low-impact. For this reason, many pregnant moms hesitate to go jogging for fear of discomfort, knee pain, or hurting the baby. However, physicians widely concur that if you ran or jogged regularly pre-pregnancy, continuing to do so while pregnant is a good thing.2 3
- Jogging during your pregnancy helps with better weight management and makes you more likely to have a leaner baby and experience shorter labor.
- Exercising and staying generally active can also help lift your spirits during pregnancy and post-partum.
- After childbirth, exercises such as brisk walking or jogging (in combination with a nutritious diet) can help shed those pregnancy pounds in a healthy way.4 5
If You Didn’t Jog Before Pregnancy
If you got little to no exercise before you got pregnant, walking instead of jogging might be a better and safer bet for you because your body has not been conditioned for the impact of jogging. Starting a moderate-impact exercise such as jogging or exercising too much when your body is not accustomed to it can make you feel stressed, fatigued, and can even cause injury. Experts concur that pregnancy is not the time to start high- or moderate-intensity exercises for the very first time.6 7 8
How To Jog While Pregnant
- Step 1: Get the all-clear from your OB/GYN to make sure it’s safe for you to go jogging.
- Step 2: Wear comfortable clothes and an extra-supportive sports bra.
- Step 3: Choose a pair of sneakers specifically designed for running and jogging. Features to look for include a rubber outsole with great traction, lightweight support, good lock-down, and extra cushioning.
- Step 4: Make sure to warm up and stretch for about 5–10 minutes before starting your jog. Then aim to jog for about 30 minutes – again, assuming you used to jog regularly pre-pregnancy. If this means shortening your usual route or picking an easier one, that’s fine. Keep in mind that your joints become looser during pregnancy and that you’re carrying extra weight than usual, so a less intense jogging routine is always advisable. As your pregnancy advances, listen to your body and only jog as long as you feel comfortable, even if it means only 10–15 minutes.
- Step 5: Your body’s weight distribution changes during pregnancy so it’s even more important now to maintain good posture while jogging. This means keeping your back and shoulders relaxed, bending your arms at the elbows, and not clenching your fists.
- Step 6: It is crucial to focus on your breathing to enjoy the full benefits of jogging. Breathe through your mouth and from deep within your diaphragm to increase your endurance and strengthen your core.
- Step 7: Cool down properly. If your total jog time is around 30 minutes, make sure to cool down in the last 5 minutes. Slow your pace until you are walking briskly and gradually slow down even more until you’re basically walking home in the last minute or so. This allows your heartbeat to slow down gradually and conditions your muscles better, thereby minimizing soreness.9
Modify Your Jogging Routine With Each Trimester
Jogging is safe throughout your pregnancy, and yes, even in your third trimester for normal pregnancies. Just remember that your body is changing constantly so you need to listen to it and fine-tune your jog every time.10
- First trimester: Your body may not change much outwardly, but it’s adjusting to the baby on board. An outdoor jog should give you some fresh air and reduce the morning sickness and tiredness. Try to jog when you are least tired and remember to stay hydrated. Stay close to home – you will be urinating more frequently now and may need a bathroom break.
- Second trimester: As your baby bump grows, your center of gravity will shift. Jog on flat surfaces to avoid falls and be careful.
- Third trimester: You may tire more easily now. The focus should be on a light and short routine. Stop the minute you feel uncomfortable.
Jogging While Pregnant: Dos And Don’ts For All Trimesters
- Dress right in comfortable clothes and wear the right shoes.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your jog.
- Take deep breaths.
- Carry your cell phone with you and always let someone know you’re going out to jog.
- Overdo it. You should only exert yourself enough to hold a conversation as you jog without sounding out-of-breath.
- Jog on an empty stomach as it can cause your sugar levels to dip. Have a light snack or drink 15–30 minutes before your run.
- Get overheated or dehydrated.
- Continue to jog if you feel nauseated, dizzy, out of breath, or experience cramps or vaginal spotting/bleeding.
- Jog in extreme temperatures or if it’s rainy, icy, or snowy out. Do the safe thing and hit the treadmill instead.11
Jogging is a great way to build stamina, stay healthy, and improve your overall mood and well-being. What’s more, your 30-minute daily jog during your pregnancy is a great way to get some alone time and bond with your unborn child. Reflect on this special phase in your life, prepare for life with your baby, and collect your thoughts before you head home!
|↑1||Exercise During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|
|↑2||Exercise. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3, ↑6||Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.|
|↑4||Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑5||Recreation And Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|
|↑7||Nutrition and Exercise. University of Rochester Medical Center.|
|↑8||Exercise in Pregnancy. University of Cincinnati.|
|↑9, ↑11||Pregnancy and physical activity. University of Michigan.|
|↑10||Karp, Jason, Carolyn Smith, and Carolyn S. Smith. Running for women. Human Kinetics, 2012.|