Running whilst Pregnant
Exercising whilst pregnant still seems to divide peoples opinions. You get the head shakers who will see a pregnant lady running or exercising and comment that its not good for the baby or the pelvic floor; these people are possibly those who don’t enjoy the benefits of regular exercise. Then you get those who understand the joys of being fit and active and offer words of support and will often ask the mum to be probing questions. Research has now shown that moderate exercise during pregnancy is beneficial and can help avoid conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170904093621.htm
The general advice is to keep doing what you usually do but scale things back. Its ok to continue to lift weights but drop the weight, its ok to run but drop the distance and activities such as yoga and pilates have a positive effect on mental health, well being and pain control.
If you are unsure about exercising during your pregnancy visit your GP, speak to your midwife or seek advice check your local area or gyms to see if there is someone who is qualified or experienced in working with pregnant ladies. Physiotherapists can also help with exercises you can perform whilst pregnant. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/22/how-much-can-you-exercise-while-pregnant
Michelle is a local primary school teacher who runs for Kimberley & District Striders. I asked her about her experience of being pregnant and continuing to run. She’s a real inspiration for pregnant ladies and hopefully her story so far will inspire others to continue to be physically active during their pregnancy. I look forward to following her progress through her pregnancy and beyond
Michelle Tilbury – Kimberley & District Striders
Running Whilst Pregnant
I was super keen at school and took part in any sport, especially cross country and athletics but my main sport was gymnastics. I was part of the regional squad up until I was 24 (very old for a gymnast) and competed nationally as part of Notts Gymnastics Club. At my peak I was training over 20 hours a week.
I dabbled in running when I retired from gymnastics as I was trying to find a replacement for gymnastics but I basically did too much too soon and became injured. I continued with Zumba and the gym but I found I needed something a bit more. I started to take running more seriously when I moved to Singapore. Everyone runs there and there are races almost every weekend. I gradually moved up from 5k to 10k and started take part in parkrun and joined a local club.
When I moved back to Nottingham, I joined Kimberley & District Striders to try and improve my running and also to make new friends. I was instantly hooked and gradually starting building up my distance and the rest is history. I am an active member of KADS as the Club Secretary, attending social events and taking part in races. I completed the Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon last year which is my longest distance to date. My fiancé Sandeep often runs with me and is also a member of KADS. I have also organised 3 Couch to 5k courses as a run leader and love teaching my children at school how to run too. Running is a huge part of my life.
Prior to becoming pregnant I regularly ran 4 times a week with mileage coming up to 20 plus and more when training for longer distances.
I currently run every week with KADS, take part in local leagues races and have completed the Awsworth 5k, Liverpool Rock n Roll Mile whilst pregnant. I took part in the Notts County Cross Country whilst 10 weeks pregnant and everyone wondered why I was running so slowly! I complete a weekly Interval Training session with Broxtowe Triathlon Club. I also try to strength train at least twice a week and am currently following a pregnancy programme designed for me by Sarah at Bramcote Leisure Centre who is experienced with working with pregnant ladies wanting to stay fit.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I researched what I should and shouldn’t be doing in terms of running. The truth is, there is not much information out there but I did find out the following: To try and keep cool and hydrated whilst running, to keep my heart rate around 145bpm and to limit my distance. I currently run no more than 10k and my weekly mileage is around 12 miles.
At first it was difficult running by heart rate as it seemed really slow. Now it is easier but its trickier going up hills and it’s easy to get carried away when I’m racing! My running club pals can’t believe I am still racing and a fast pace. Some people have asked: Should I be running or is it safe? My midwife says I am doing the right thing and that staying fit will help with the birth and recovery after. I think my body would have more to say if I suddenly stopped exercising! I try to have more ‘rest’ days after running days as I can sometimes be tired the day after. The only effects I feel at the moment whilst running is needing the toilet! I haven’t put on much weight so running still feels natural. Some have said you can start to feel pressure pushing down but I will keep running until I feel I can’t – hopefully 30 weeks or more.
I have already booked in my ‘come back’ race which will hopefully be the 10K Pud run in December, with baby due in September. I have ordered my Thuile running buggy and plan to go walking as soon as I am allowed. When baby is 6 months old, I will start buggy running locally and at parkrun. There are also some buggy running events planned at Sherwood Pines. I am entered into the Manchester Marathon in April 2019 as I have to defer this year when I found out I was pregnant.
(above image)Taking part in the Notts Country Cross Country Championships for KADS (10 weeks pregnant)
(above image) BDL Race at Ilkeston for KADS (23 week pregnant)
(above image) Interval Training with my fiancé Sandeep and Broxtowe Triathlon Club. (22 weeks pregnant)