Exercising while pregnant was once something that wasn’t widely adopted but these days you see more and more women in the gym and on the road proudly displaying their baby bump. In fact, the current recommendation for exercise from the CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine is that both nonpregnant and pregnant individuals get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most (if not all) days of the week. Pregnant women should have an absence of medical or obstetric complications and clear exercise with their doctors first.
As a personal trainer and a yoga teacher, I work with many women on staying active and healthy throughout their pregnancies. The general feedback I receive is that exercise helps with their energy levels, nausea, self-confidence, labor and delivery and postpartum recovery. Everyone is different in what form of exercise feels good and right for their body. Some can run through their entire pregnancy, some quit in the first trimester and switch to alternative workouts.
Today I’m profiling three local runners who have experience running with a baby on board. They have different experiences and viewpoints to share, and they come from varied life stages, but they’ve all found a way to run in some capacity during pregnancy.
Winifred Stieglitz, Vice President Credit Strategy at Wells Fargo Securities and BodyPump Instructor
Considering that I was the girl who despised the weekly mile run in middle school, I sometimes cannot believe that I set my alarm early most days to get in a run before I start work at 7a.m. Given how much the sport means to me (I even met my husband through a running group), it is only fitting that I first realized I might be pregnant while I was running. I had set out to do an easy 7-miler while visiting my family in Phoenix. Usually views of the mountains, blue skies and low humidity propel me farther and faster than usual, but I was struggling to maintain my usual pace and gasping for breath. I knew something was different, and I went home to face the initial jolt of shock and excitement that came with a positive pregnancy test. I was determined to stay healthy for the next nine months and decided that my baby would be my new running buddy, and that she would set the pace.
I quickly realized that running alleviated exhaustion and queasiness, gave me a chance to work through my apprehension and helped me maintain a semblance of normalcy as my body changed. I have already made great running memories with my daughter and I cannot wait to tell her about running in London and Paris while I was six months pregnant and showing her where I grew up on a five-miler at seven months. At four weeks from my due date, I treat every run like it could be my last before baby girl makes her debut, and I am happy every time I finish a run, no matter how short the distance or slow the pace. Pregnancy has retaught me to love running for how it makes me feel; I’m sure just one of many lessons that will come with being a mom.
Stephanie Smith, Co-Owner of Four Fit, LLC and ACE Fitness Certified Personal Trainer
I had just completed an international distance triathlon when I found out that I was pregnant with my first baby so I was in pretty good shape and had done a good bit of running while training! It was a no brainer for me to continue working out during my pregnancy. I kept on running along with doing some swimming and strength (thanks Body Pump!). It was definitely harder for me to run while pregnant and I fatigued much faster than usual. This is really hard for someone who is competitive like me! I hated having to slow down and even walk! Gasp! But when my body talks, I listen.
I continued to run until I was 29 weeks pregnant. We were on our babymoon and I did a 3 miler on the hotel treadmill. The next day, my lower ab muscles were so incredibly sore! It just didn’t feel good anymore. That was the end of running for me with baby #1. Now, I’m 23 weeks pregnant with baby#2 and I’m continuing to work runs into my fitness schedule along with strength workouts. I’m just a little slower and can’t run as far! My best friend, Kathryn Martin, and I run a bootcamp (www.four-fit.com) and we do a good bit of running. I try to keep up with our participants and I think I’m doing a pretty good job! Again, I’ll keep running until my body tells me it’s time to temporarily hang up the sneakers.