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pregnancy, Training

Running Pregnant – Before, During, and After Baby – It’s A No Brainer for Runners

I ran the San Diego marathon two months pregnant with my son Matthew, in 2002.  A month later I hopped on a plane and flew to England for a visit.  My doctor was completely confident with my ability to run the marathon pregnant – I mean, I had been training for six months and was in good shape. My OBGYN had no problems with my running a marathon – even one I had to fly to, and one that would be in significantly warmer weather.

The March 2008 issue of Runner’s World shows marathon maven, Paula Radcliffe, who, when she was six months pregnant or so, ran an easy 10K in 45 minutes in London’s Hyde Park.  Radcliffe, who is has won six out of the seven last marathons she’s raced in, ran all the way through her pregnancy. What’s sick, is that 10 months postpartum, she won the New York City Marathon last November.  Now that’s a runner – hell, I was lucky I choked out a 5k nine months after Matthew’s birth!

Other women have trained and raced during their pregnancies – others like Catherine Ndereba, a Kenyan marathon sensation, 2004 Olympic Trials 5000-meter winner Shayne Culpepper, and Ingrid Kristiansen who put Radcliffe to shame. She won the 1984 Hourston Marathon five months post partum. 

So for those of us who wonder when it’s right to get back on the track, road, trail, or treadmill after having a baby, you have to know your body.  Whether you had a C-section or natural birth, or have post partum issues such as depression, exhaustion, or other issues, running can help because we cannot be depressed if we are trying to run a few miles.   You spend more time thinking about how wierd it feels and that can take our mind off of any stresses having to do with raising a new baby or nursing our birthing scars.  It’s amazing how much exercize can heal us after giving birth.  I wish I had tried a little harder after giving birth to Matthew, but then again, five years and another baby later, I am running faster than ever and training with much more intensity. Today, for example, I ran 12 miles.

For those of you out there planning on training through your pregnancy – know that your blood volume goes up by as much as 40 percent, your resting heatbeat rises by as much as 15 beats, and your blood will have more oxygen in it, so it will circulate faster – a major benefit while training*.  Remember the extra weight will put pressure on your body, and mind your hips, knees, and feet. You’ll be able to stretch well – because our ligaments loosen up during pregnancy, but be mindful afterward – you might be tight and have some aches and pains.  For example, my feet were killing me. I went to the doctor only to have the podiatrist tell me to buy wide shoes as my feet had widened during pregnancy. And now with the ligaments in my body tightening up, my feet suffered – it was wierd, but hey, if that’s all I have to worry about after giving birth, I’ll take it.

I took the opportunity to be outfitted with new orthotics. I went right to Metro Run & Walk -my local running store, and bought my Asics in a 9W. I was a little skeptical about the wide size at first because my feet were swimming around in the shoe, but now that I’m used to the extra room, I’d never run in anything other than a wide. I have enough room to let my toes splay and my feet have not hurt since. I am also mindfull of the shoes I wear – no heels over three inches, and even then, I won’t wear anything higher than a 2 1/2 heel to work. It’s not worth beating up my feet over fashion. Pointy toes? No way, they are bad for the feet. I look not for the completely rounded toes, but for shoes that don’t go down to a point.

Paula Radcliffe and other running mothers are an inspiration. As for her running stamina after having her baby, she quipped “Why do people think you couldn’t be the same athlete?” And she’s absolutely right. Here’s a woman who is a professional runner, who go right back to work and showed us that we can indeed do great things right after having our children. Sure, most of us aren’t training at a 5:30 pace (make that 6:30 when she was pregnant), but then again, most of us aren’t training in Monaco 4 months out of the year just because we like it there.

Despite Paula’s advantages, she is a woman who had a baby just like many of us – and if she and other athletes can get back to her running days before baby, so can we.

*Source: Nadya Swedan, M.D., The Active Woman’s Health and Fitness Handbook.



55 thoughts on “Running Pregnant – Before, During, and After Baby – It’s A No Brainer for Runners

  1. This is really inspirational. Makes me want to get out and get moving. I often find “taking it easy” is the general attitude when it comes to pregnancy, but it hasn’t worked for me in the past, so maybe I need a change. Nice post!

    Posted by JeDeeLenae | February 11, 2008, 5:13 am
    • Well please send photos of you pregnant! I’d love to write more on this topic as women seem to really need to hear about how safe it is. What are your running plans like until you go to term? (You may not know what they are but I’d love to talk to you more off line about it. My email is listed in the editor’s tab.

      Posted by tighthams | January 5, 2009, 8:40 pm
  2. Thank you for your nice reply. I feel that it’s important to at least try to get moving. Having a baby is such a monumental task – and the more babies we have the more potential work there is to do to get back to where we started. Good diet is key – but the exercize is good not only for the body – it’s good for the brain. We all know as parents, we will be put to the test. When you are little tired from a nice workout, and your endorphins have boosted your mood – I find it’s more difficult for me to get mad at my boys for spilling milk.

    Have a great day!

    Posted by tighthams | February 11, 2008, 5:44 pm
  3. Alix, loved your post!
    Your post was submitted to appear in the Running Blog Carnival. Issue #2008-03 came out today.

    Posted by kdays | February 14, 2008, 8:26 am
  4. Hello! I can relate to everything you wrote. I have been running for 5 years now. I was pregnant last years and delivered at the end of october. I can run faster and breathe easier than I ever could before. I am training for my first marathon and trying to qualify for boston at the same time. Thanks for sharing your amazing story!

    Posted by donyastic | June 29, 2008, 8:59 pm
  5. This is so motivational! Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Lauren | August 29, 2008, 7:21 pm
  6. Thanks SO much for this post! I am pregnant (just 9 weeks) and have continued with teh running, and as your title suggests, the decision was a no brainer for me. I liked the advice and comentary you provided here though, so thanks again!

    Posted by Jess | January 5, 2009, 5:32 pm
  7. This is great! I am about six months pregnant with my second child and continued to run and swim during my first, who is nearly five now (and doing even more so during this second pregnancy). I get so many strange looks, though, I found myself searching for reassurement again and happened upon this article. I am still running 35-45 miles per week with a long run of about 13-15 miles. At 24 weeks, I know with time it will slow but it is human women, great runners, new runners, those who care about their health as well as that of their babies, that continue to inspire. Thanks for the article!

    Posted by Jennifer | January 16, 2009, 10:14 pm
  8. Thanks so much for this article…I just delivered my fifth precious baby and ran up until four days before her delivery. I had her nine days ago and am know back to my prepregancy weight and look like I was never pregnant. Is a matter of fact my abs are more defined know then before. I highly recommend running, because it makes you feel great and energized! I have an incrediably strong little girl who was trying to hold her head up from day one. She was also out in one push…this was by far my easiest pregnancy.


    Posted by marguerite chastain | March 28, 2009, 7:43 pm
  9. Thank you so much for this article. Im 15 weeks pregnant and have ran till I found out, but because of all the mixed reviews and weird looks I get I stopped, and now Im going to start. I wish there was a website dedicated to pregnant running moms. Something that offered the last tips and “equipment”. I wish I had the time to really make one that was worth looking at, but I dont have the time or I feel the expertise to make one. Thank you so much again!

    Posted by Rosalyn | June 23, 2009, 10:04 pm
  10. Oh that’s wonderful, thanks ladies for motivation. Iam 29 years old and today I am exactly 31 weeks pregnant with my first child and ran, spinned and did weights until I was 4 months pregnant. I have stopped since but walk around a lot because of a hectic new job I found. My doctor told me that I had 3 uterus fibroids growing ALONG with the baby and therefore might give pre-mature birth OR will have only a C-section option because natural birth would in no way be possible for me. I kept my head up and prayed to God because I knew he can do the impossible. I want to share this with you ladies, Last Saturday (18 June 2009)amazingly the baby had turned at no pain and she managed to push aside the fibroid that was standing on her way. MY DOCTOR WAS THRILLED AND HE THINKS THAT I STAND A GOOD CHANCE OF HAVING A NATURAL BIRTH… Nothing is impossible with GOD, if you believe!

    Posted by Hazel | July 23, 2009, 10:35 am
  11. I’m glad to see so many women ignoring the nonsensical fear many non-runners perpetuate that exercise while pregnant is somehow bad for you. I ran a 1/2 marathon at 2 months and a full marathon at 4 months while pregnant with my first son back in ’06 (at age 34), and I ran regularly up ’til a month before delivery. Sure, I ran it 2 hours slower than my PB, but of course, I wasn’t racing it. I think I must’ve spent a half hour waiting at port-a-potties, thanks to my squished bladder. Point is, my son is a perfectly happy & healthy 2 1/2 year old. As long as you monitor your heartrate, as well as food & fluid intake, anything is possible. I hear there’s even a women who ran Boston 8 months pregnant! Yay prego runners!

    Posted by Sharon | September 17, 2009, 6:23 am
  12. Thanks so much for the info. I see it is quite an old post but as I am now 18 weeks pregnant and still running 10-15 miles per week (I am slow – and don’t compete but rather run for fun) it is good to see that other think it is okay as well. I have decided to run as long as it is still fun – I’d love to run on my due date if I can still manage it. This is my 3rd pregnancy and the first truly active one and I feel great!

    Posted by FB | October 28, 2009, 2:09 pm
  13. I’m thrilled to have found this string! Similar to you, FB, I am 14 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child–My first pregnancy as a “runner” and my first “truly active one”. I started running just under a year ago and quickly became addicted, quickly progessing to 5, then 10Ks. I suffered from lots of nausea with this pregnancy but though I tapered my weekly runs, hoped to run till my belly made it impossible. I found out three weeks ago, however, that I had a hematoma (blood clot) in my uterus, which forced me to hang up my running shoes and cease any form of exercise (I’d also been participating in Prenatal Pilates). I’ve gone for walks but feel a sense of envy when I see others running. I’m still waiting for the green light from my OB, but I’m afraid that by the time I’m free to run again, it’ll be too difficult because of all the time that has elapsed. Any advice on running while pregnant after a month or so without?

    Posted by JAC | October 29, 2009, 6:26 pm
  14. I enjoyed your post, as it always makes me feel better to know that it is okay to be 24 weeks pregnant and have the fitness level of a sloth. Okay, so maybe not a sloth, but I feel like it. I only jog once or twice a week and take my dog on a few walks a week. I did a half ironman when I was 6 weeks pregnant (I was already out of state at the triathlon site when I found out I was pregnant). I had severe pelvic pain after that race, even though I had trained hard and completed it in my best 70.3 time in 3 years (5 Hours 36 minutes). However, my husband and nephew had to help me stand up after the race because of the pain. I did a few tiny sprint triathlons after that (one at 3 months/one at 4 months). I finished in the top percent of each race, but I was very depressed at the thought of how I would have finished had I not been pregnant. Luckily my husband is around to remind me of what’s really important 🙂 Anyway, this Saturday, I’m jogging a 5K while my husband runs a half marathon…I now have a goal of 30 minutes for this little trot…sad in consideration that I was running 21-22 minute 5ks just a mere 5 months prior and 20 pounds lighter!! I cannot wait to start training again next year, though…and doing those mother/daughter triathlons will make it all worth it 🙂

    Posted by Angie | November 19, 2009, 2:31 pm
    • Well, I miss the day I can do a 22 5K like I did while I was 20. I pray now for a 24. Anyway…yes, just enjoy running at a pace that is comfortable. Don’t push it, have fun and remember – pregnancy and your weight gain is a temporary condition.


      Posted by tighthams | November 23, 2009, 8:25 pm
  15. I am training for my third marathon this year, in a few weeks. I will be about 12 weeks pregnant come race day. I have been struggling though as for the past few weeks I’ve had horrible side stitches (basically breathing cramps)… this happened during my first pregnancy so I didn’t run very much. I’m hoping that the pains go away in the next couple of weeks because I need to do another couple long runs in order to be able to get through the full 26! Also hoping that the occasional nausea is better by then because that makes morning runs pretty miserable!
    Also, what would you guess would be the time difference between a full fitness marathon and a pregnant one! I’m trying to level set my expectations! I ran a half marathon a couple of weeks back that was about 10 minutes slower than what I would have expected prior to getting pregnant (mostly because of those cramps though).

    Posted by Alicia | November 23, 2009, 6:51 pm
    • Angie:

      When I was pregnant I did a run/walk for that marathon just to choke it out. It was like, 85 degrees on that day and I was very pissy toward the end. While my time stank I finished the race and had no problems what so ever.

      Best of luck; remember your health and the baby’s health are the most important. Obviously, this is not a race for a PR! I’d suspect you’d run about 1-3 minutes slower per mile depending on how you feel. But really, expect nothing on race day. If you normally run say a 4 hour marathon, be happy with a 4:30 or slower. Be ecstatic about a 4:15.

      And do yourself a favor and let people know you are pregnant! I ran with a partner so if God forbid something happened, she’d be right there.



      Posted by tighthams | November 23, 2009, 8:23 pm
  16. Hi! I just did a search on “pregnant marathon running” and your blog came up.

    Apparently we ran the 2002 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon together! That was my first and last one (so far). I’m thinking of running one in late May this year but I might be pregnant by that time.

    I’m going to check out more of your blog now …

    Posted by finnyfinds | March 3, 2010, 4:27 am
  17. Hey ladies. me again. I had a an amazing pregnacny and easy birth of a healthy 3.21 kg baby girl. I started training and running six weeks pospartum and ran my first Marathon when my baby was five months (14 FEBRUARY 2010). And gues what, managed to run my second Marathon (very hilly challenging route) at 4:03 two weeks later – still breastfeeding and back to work. Just listen to your body and if it says go just go. NO LIMITS! Thanks – your in running.

    Posted by Hazel | March 8, 2010, 7:48 am
  18. Hi,

    I truly enjoyed reading all about women running. YAY YAY YAY
    This is my second pregnancy and I’m planning on running this sunday in the Shamrock Half Marathon. I believe I might be at least 7 weeks pregnant. I do plan to however run though out this pregnancy. I am a bit scared as I get bigger b.c the baby will be jumping up and down. LOL

    Thanks so much for all the input. I sure enjoyed it!!!


    Posted by Shanna | March 18, 2010, 12:13 am
  19. It is great to know that so many women run while pregnant. I have recently been training for my first marathon, which I hope to do in July. I just found out that I am pregnant (yay!) with our second, but I still want to run the marathon. I will be 19 weeks along, and after reading everyone’s stories I am confident I can keep running and accomplish my goal. Thanks!

    Posted by Rita | March 22, 2010, 11:53 pm
  20. So glad to have found your site. Found out I was pregnant a month ago. Since then, I’ve raced 2 sprint distance off-road triathlons, will be running a 12 person, 200 mile relay race this coming weekend and have a marathon planned for June 7th (the San Diego Rock n Roll actually). I will be 15 weeks along. This is my fourth pregnancy and it was a bit of a surprise. I had signed up for all these races before I knew this was my future. I’m afraid to make the pregnancy completely public until after the marathon for fear of people thinking I’m making a terrible decision. But, I have let go of trying to make a PB and just want to run a good race. It’s been hard to keep up the training that I would like with the morning (I mean all-day) sickness and fatigue. But it’s nice to hear about other women who have continued to run during their pregnancy. I hope to keep it up for as long as my body will let me.

    Posted by Carrie | April 26, 2010, 4:44 am
    • Carrie! So happy to have read your post. I know this post has been popular and I appreciate your taking the time to read it!

      All the best!


      Posted by tighthams | April 27, 2010, 12:28 pm
    • Question for you? Was your 200 mile run in the mountains? Were you used to running in the mountains? I am signed up for a 200 mile relay and will be 14 weeks along. Nervous about the altitude and lack of sleep. Would you recommend dripping out?

      Posted by Andrea | July 6, 2010, 3:21 pm
      • Andrea: No I was not in the mountains and I ran a marathon, not an ultra distance race. If you are signed up for a 200 mile relay and will be 14 weeks along …. I don’ know. You baby comes first and you may want to consult your OB/GYN. I think I personally would drop out.

        Posted by tighthams | July 8, 2010, 4:03 pm
  21. Another reader appreciating your words more than 2 years later! It’s amazing how hard it is to find blogs devoted to running while pregnant! I am 22 weeks pregnant today and have been running throughout this pregnancy and hope to continue until this baby’s born sometime in September. (I was sidelined at 6 months pregnant with my 1st baby due to pelvic pain. Hoping to avoid that this time around!)

    I ran a 10k at 12 weeks pregnant and my very first half marathon at 15 weeks. I ran it in 1:53 and have to say it was one of the top 3 accomplishments of my life. I’m running a Mother’s Day 3.5-miler this weekend which will likely be my last official race of this pregnancy, though I will keep on running, pushing my toddler through the miles!

    Thanks again for this post and for encouraging other pregnant runners to keep it up. Good luck to all those pregnant ladies with races coming up! Try not to worry about other people thinking you’re crazy. Trust yourself and listen to your body – you’ll know if you have to slow down. Enjoy!

    Posted by Meg | May 6, 2010, 1:22 am
  22. Thank you so much for this website – it has really inspired me!

    I started running a 10K clinic just after Christmas when I was just a few weeks pregnant and within a month I had a miscarriage. But I knew (and my doctor agreed) that the running was not the cause so I kept training all winter and set my sights on a Half-Marathon for the May long weekend and an October Marathon.

    I was doing great with my training until early April when I found out I was pregnant again. I was overcome with severe fatigue and found I could not keep up my training – especially the weekly base runs. I did manage to keep up my LSD runs up to 18k a few weeks ago.

    I am a bit nervous about the Half marathon this weekend because I have not done as many training runs as I would have liked. My energy has almost come back to normal this week and I am determined to FINISH my first Half even if slower than I had initially hoped for. I’ll be 11weeks!!

    Posted by Roxanne | May 18, 2010, 4:18 am
    • Roxanne: You have certainly endured a lot. I am so sorry for your loss and your quick second pregnancy is great. However, that said, you need to take care of that baby. Running at least gives you something else to think about and training at this early stage in your pregnancy for me at least, kept me sane. Is this your first baby?

      I think that if your race is in optimal conditions, go out and try to run your best race. If your race is blazing hot, do what I did when I ran my marathon pregnant, do your best, keep your body temperature down and remember that it is OK to walk if you get too hot. To this day I wish that I ran my marathon faster when I was pregnant but then again I look at my healthy 7 year old and tell myself that there are always other marathons!

      Good luck and let us know how you do!

      Posted by tighthams | May 18, 2010, 12:08 pm
      • I DID IT!!!

        My first Half-marathon, 11 weeks pregnant, and 2:42!

        Thanks so much for the support. I actually had two miscarriages this year so I am being extra cautious this time. The weather was 10 degress (celcius) warmer than what I have been training in – quite hot for me – and so I had to walk a lot and my pace was much slower than usual. I really listened to my body, through the race and cast placement and timing out the window and with just goal to finish the race. I can honestly say I ran as well as my body wanted me to, and when I finished, there was nothing left to give – except me smiling with a nice baby still in my belly. What a great feeling!!

        No more races for a while, but for sure a few 5-10k runs until I can’t run anymore. Thanks for the inspiration!!

        Posted by Roxanne | May 23, 2010, 6:54 pm
      • I am so proud of you Roxanne. You took care of yourself and stayed in tune with how your body felt. Now go and enjoy that pregnancy and stay in touch please! Others are going to want to know when you have your baby and when you are going to start up again.

        Posted by tighthams | May 26, 2010, 3:30 am
      • Well, it’s months later and I have a beautiful baby boy in my arms! Praise God, yay!!

        I am 7 weeks post-partum and had hoped to be back in a great running routine by now, but I am troubled by huge, heavy milky breasts! I have always had very large breasts but with all the extra milk, I have too much pain even for a slow jog while wearing two extra supportive bras and holding my breasts in my hands. I have tried running right after I nurse, but even then I am very sore. The good news is that I have a breast reduction scheduled for late this year so that will help me for the future, but I feel like I can’t resume running in the milky interim!! Do you have any advice for me?

        Posted by Roxanne | January 30, 2011, 1:45 am
      • Roxanne: Congratulations on the baby and for getting out there again. Boobs – well they DO get in the way and the best advice I can give you which I know does not help you, is to nurse, then run right afterwards. You are doing the right thing even though it still hurts…and so given all the discomfort you are having, I’d suggest not running. Focus on other cardiovascular activities like biking, low impact aerobics, and light weight training to get back in shape. There is no reason to suffer. I know you want to get back into running, but you also risk hurting yourself if you are running even with boob pain because the annoyance of the pain and 50 bras you have to wear takes away from your concentrating on running form and you could actually hurt yourself elsewhere. Also if you are naturally larger breasted (never had that problem but I was very Dolly Parton-esque when I was breast feeding), a reduction will definitely help. First of all, you’ll lose a few pounds from your breasts and you will be more nimble as a runner. Breasts, as wonderful as they are, can get in the way. I didn’t know what to do with mine when I was breast feeding. I felt as if I had two punching bags on my chest that I couldn’t see around. ; ) Trust me, if you build your cardiovascular and muscular strength you WILL be able to hop back into running much better than now. I actually recommend that for all of us because the body changes so much during pregnancy and that combined with hormonal changes in our bodies affects our running before and after baby. So, while some of us can get back into rnning right away, I certainly didn’t. I needed a full nine months to recover before I ran my first 5K. Keep us posted and I am so proud of you. Alix

        Alix Shutello Editor-in-Chief Runners Illustrated

        Posted by Alix Shutello | January 30, 2011, 3:10 pm
  23. I just registered for my first 1/2 Ironman on Sunday (2 days ago) and was VERY surprised to find out yesterday that I am 7 1/2 weeks pregnant. I will be about 3 months along when the race comes. I’m not in ideal shape but I’m fine to do the race- especially with 5 more weeks of training. Any suggestions? Its $200 that is non-refundable and I really feel like I’ll be ok. Please help!

    Posted by surprise#3 | July 13, 2010, 1:53 pm
    • First of all, congratulations. I have never competed in a triathalon (except on a team as the runner) so my best advice is to talk to your doctor. The baby and your health is more important than the money you spent on the race. Keep in mind the weather and other factors that could make life challenging.

      The good news is that it appears that you have been training through the first few weeks of your pregnancy; a time that usually trying for new moms because of things like nausea and fatigue. If you are not an athlete this may not be the time to be embarking in a triathalon; especially since I have no idea how cycling affects pregnancy. This is something you should discuss with your doctor too.

      I’ve done some research today on training for a tri while pregnant and I am seeing good things; I’ll have an article posted for you asap.

      But bear in mind that if you feel good, being 3 months pregnant is not that pregnant. You should, in theory, do just fine; but do some research, talk to your OBGYN, and most importantly be smart. The race is temporary. Your child is forever.

      Posted by tighthams | July 14, 2010, 1:30 pm
  24. I loved reading this article, I am trying to figure out when I will be able to run a marathon this year. I have ran 4 half marathons this year, and all of them while pregnant. I am now 6 weeks away from delivery and can’t wait! I am really happy to see other women whom run while pregnant. I get a lot of weird looks while running down the road this far along, but I am glad to know that there are others out there who are in the same boat as me!

    Posted by Xcrunner2002 | July 28, 2010, 9:37 pm
    • Yes! And I admire the fact that you’ve done all these races during your pregnancy – I think you win the award for that. I’d love to interview you for an article. Look for an email from me.


      Posted by tighthams | July 29, 2010, 2:11 pm
      • Hi Alix,

        I, as many others, did a google search on running a marathon pregnant and this site came up and I have been reading through everyone’s comments. I am SO happy to hear that running a marathon pregnant is okay, especially if I am a seasoned runner!

        I just turned 32 and have no children yet but my husband and I are very passionate about the idea of getting pregnant now that we are both ready. I have been a runner for longer than I can remember and have run several, several half marathons, etc but I am currently training for my first ever full marathon ( Nike Women”s Marathon in October).

        Being that my cycle has become a bit irregular due to my longer runs during training ( currently up to 16miles) I don’t want to wait until after the race to try to conceive. However being that this will be my first pregnancy if I do get pregnant by the race, and also my first marathon, I want to be sure I am not jeopardizing the health of my baby.

        This race means A LOT to me as I will be accomplishing one of my biggest personal goals!
        But the health of my baby means a lot to me too of course.

        I’d love to keep in touch with you!!!!


        Posted by Sallumeh | August 3, 2010, 7:47 pm
      • Sallumeh:

        It’s people like you who make this job a joy. I got pregnant when I was in the midst of doing my long 16-mile runs so while that I cannot guarantee that you will or won’t so just be careful and don’t “wing it” if you want to wait until after your marathon has concluded. One thing I might add is that I ran a June marathon so that means I started training during the winter months and it was cold/cool up until I ran on race day, which was 80 degrees. Since you are training during the summer to fall; remember it’s still very hot and that you might want to consider that if you get pregnant now (how wonderful, right?) you may be nauseous AND really hot so that may not go over so well with you. I’d say however, that if you want to take the pressure off of getting pregnant, you go off any birth control you may be on now and be very careful until race day. This way, after the race you can go nuts and get pregnant, knowing that your race if over, and that if you were on birth control pills, they are out of your system. You greatly increase the chance of a miscarriage if you go off the pill and try right away….just based on the experience of some of my friends.

        Best of luck and send me photos of you at your race!

        All the best to you!


        Posted by tighthams | August 3, 2010, 8:13 pm
  25. I too just found out I’m pregnant, 7 or 8 weeks (my cycle is crazy long so we aren’t sure yet) and have already begun training for the a half iron in October. It’s the USAT xahampionsips and I qualified last year, and ran a half iron at likely 2 weeks pregnant in a PB. My current plan is to continue training, and play race day by ear. I’d like to qualify for worlds but won’t do anything stupid either. I hoping for cool weather and a weak field!! I just need top 20 in my age group, so I’m shooting for 20th.

    All training has been slow, buts it’s been extra hot too, so I’m not sure what to expect. This is the first and a complete surprise. I spent two weeks on vacation after the last race, eating everything and gaining some weight. Looks like it’s staying on…

    Posted by Kim | August 16, 2010, 3:33 pm
  26. I am 33 yrs old, and have 9 children (yes, really, and they’re all mine the old-fashioned way!). I got a membership to the Y about a year ago, just a few weeks after giving birth. I started with a couch-to-5k program on when my baby was about 3 or 4 weeks old. In the last year, I completed my first two Sprint Triathlons, and just after the last one, discovered that I’m pregnant again (about 4.5 weeks now). YAY! We are so happy and excited. I have a definite love of running, and triathlons and don’t want to quit. I have a 5K coming up in a month, and another Sprint Tri in two months. I felt pretty impressive to have completed a couple Tri’s after having had so many kids, and now, I’m going to be doing it while pregnant. I have a few questions for those who have run while pregnant:

    Has your pelvic floor muscle (kegel) been damaged or weakened at all due to the running?
    When you run/jog in later pregnancy, does the baby bounce a lot inside? Do you have to keep your abs flexed hard the whole time to keep from feeling like baby is moving around too much?

    It’s so totally great to see that other prego moms are out there running. I just know I’m going to feel really powerful as I get bigger and bigger while running. I think I’m addicted to running / triathlon (and maybe I’m addicted to babies, too, seeing as how I’ve had so many).

    Posted by Laura | August 19, 2010, 9:30 pm
    • Dear Laura:

      You are indeed amazing. All those kids! How do you find the time to train? When do you train! As for your comment, on the kegel thing you bring up a good question…..I did kegel exercises during my pregnancies but I only gave birth twice and my kegel muscles – I don’t think- were affected in either of my pregnancies other than some things which you’d expect…jumping jacks are not as comfortable as they once were but running is not a problem. As with anything in pregnancy – keep your weight gain to the acceptable 30 pounds give or take 5. In your case you may want to read more about how you can keep those muscles working the way they should….my only fear for you would potentially be incontinence in the future. I found an interview you may find interesting.

      As for the baby bouncing and your stomach muscles, your baby is in a amniotic sac and sure, the baby will move when you run but it’s not like your fetus is rolling around pinging off the uterine walls like in a video game. I would not flex your muscles while running. However, with the amount of pregnancies that you’ve had and all the exercise you are doing, just promise me you will listen to your body and know that multiple births such as what you’ve had will cause irreversible changes in your muscles. Be mindful of this so that you can be conscious of your changing body.

      Here are some things to note in terms of running in general (this is for other readers just as a reminder):

      It also isn’t good for your baby if you become overheated because temperatures greater than 102.6° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius) could cause problems with the developing fetus — especially in the first trimester — which can potentially lead to birth defects. So don’t overdo exercise on hot days.

      AND watch for these signs (where you’d need to see your doctor)

      * vaginal bleeding
      * unusual pain
      * dizziness or lightheadedness
      * unusual shortness of breath
      * racing heartbeat or chest pain
      * fluid leaking from your vagina
      * uterine contractions

      Posted by tighthams | August 20, 2010, 1:55 pm
      • Ah, when DO I find time to train? Ha ha, it’s just like anyone else. I have to make it a priority. I homeschool my kids, and we have a small acreage with a family cow. This is what my day looks like:

        I wake up at 6 AM or so, and spend a few minutes in prayer, reading scriptures, and journaling. Then I wake up the children and they do their outdoor chores, then we eat breakfast, do inside chores, then school (we do some opening exercises, like the Pledge of Allegiance and a song and prayer, and then I read scriptures and a chapter out of a classic book, then the older ones are independent and I work with younger ones), then lunch. After lunch, I practice my viola and/or give viola lessons to my kids. By that time, it’s around 2 PM, and we head to the Y (we bring healthy snacks with us so everyone will hold out for a late dinner). The older kids swim (some are on swim team), and the younger ones go to the dropoff daycare while I workout. I usually skip a shower at the Y and wait until I’m home for that pleasure, but on Wednesday nights, my husband meets me at the Y and takes the kids so I can stay longer and pamper myself with a few quiet moments in a public locker room (tongue-in-cheek here). I usually have something in the crockpot waiting for us when we get home. Dinner is usually around 7:30 PM, and then we get the little brood off to bed and then I crash. Next day, I wake up and do it all over again. On Mondays, I don’t go to the gym, or do any school with the kids. We take Monday to catch up the housework and laundry, and if I have an errand or appointment, that’s usually when I do it.

        I don’t actually work out for 5 hours, as it may look. I included the extra time it takes to get ready and load up that many kids, and then drive from our rural home to the Y. My workouts usually last 1.5 hrs or so.

        I’ll check out the blog you suggested for me. As far as kegel weakness, I have none so far, and I ALWAYS do my kegel exercises. I was just wondering if the risk for damage/weakness is greater with running. I tried to do a jumping jack when I was pregnant with my first child, and found it extremely uncomfortable because the baby bounced around too much. But it sounds like running might be different for me? Good, because I don’t want to quit.

        About weight gain… I am a Bradley Method childbirth instructor, and have taught for years that women should not worry at all about how many pounds they are putting on… just eat healthy foods. Here’s what a good pregnancy diet looks like (for a moderately active woman… not running!):

        4 servings dairy
        2 eggs
        2 servings protein-rich foods
        2 servings green vegetables
        1 vitamin C rich fruit (citrus, strawberries, etc)
        1-2 additional servings fruit
        5 servings whole grains
        3 pat of butter (include fats in diet, basically)
        1 iron-rich food weekly (liver?)
        5 yellow or orange vegetables weekly
        3 baked potatoes (with skin) weekly

        For an active woman, it is recommended to take in an additional 220 calories and 20 grams of protein for each activity that burns 200 calories. Running 2 miles in 20 minutes or less would definitely fall in this category.

        Thanks for your encouragement and information. The only obstacle I’m feeling right now with the running is nausea. It is better when I eat more frequently, so I hope I don’t get much worse. I want to continue running and working out.


        Posted by Laura | August 20, 2010, 4:02 pm
  27. Just read the interview that you shared, and oh my goodness! It really changes my whole paradigm concerning the strengthening of the pelvic floor. It surely is something to ponder! Good read. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Laura | August 20, 2010, 4:32 pm
  28. When I wrote earlier, I was 4.5 weeks. Now I’m 20.5 weeks along. I did the 5k in September, but had some serious nausea. My time was 31:36, whereas I had hoped to make a time of under 30:00. Oh well, not bad for being pregnant and very nauseated. There was a Fall Sprint Tri in October, and while I felt good enough by the time the race came, I hadn’t been training because of my nausea. So, I didn’t do it, sadly. I did do a little 2-mile walk/jog race in November, however. Felt fine during that, but life circumstances (we are going through some family challenges) have really kept me from training as much as I need/want. Now that I’m through the nausea, and our family is getting into a new “normal” way of life, I decided I needed to get back into training.

    I started with walking 5 min, then run/walk (on a 1/12th mi track… one lap jog, one lap walk, etc.) for 10 min. About 5 -7 min into the run/walk, I started having some pretty crampy contractions, but I thought maybe I needed to go to the bathroom. So, I went to the bathroom after about 10 min of walking/running and was still having contractions. So I discontinued the running, and just walked for 15 more minutes. The contractions continued until after I ceased all activity. I was exercising at about 5:30 PM and I kept having contractions until I went to bed, but they reduced in frequency and intensity. These were not labor contractions, by any means, but felt like strong braxton-hicks, a little stronger than one might have during/after intercourse. Does this mean I have to quit running?

    Two days later, I walked 30 min, then got into the pool and swam laps for about 15 min. While I was swimming, I started having a lot of round ligament pain/stretching. Am I going to have to quit everything, or are these contractions and round ligament pains harmless? I want to keep moving, because I’m afraid if I quit, I’ll never get back to it.

    Posted by Laura | December 18, 2010, 11:26 pm
  29. I’m so happy to read all these stories! I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with child #5. With my fourth child I ran an easy half marathon (2:05) at 15 weeks. Last year I did 3 full marathons and a month after my last found out I was pregnant again. I am currently running about 35 miles a week and haven’t needed to slow down yet. I know the slow down is coming — but I feel wonderful so far! It’s so encouraging to read about other preggo runners — as my family doesn’t really understand. Also — this time around I’ve been using the Gabrialla support belt while running — has been a life saver! My back was already starting to ache around 12 weeks — once I started running with this belt I haven’t had any more back pain. Just a little tip for those who may be experiencing this!

    Posted by Kathy | January 25, 2011, 12:44 pm
    • Kathy, I am thrilled to hear this. I know not everyone has the same positive experience. For me it was so exciting to write a blog on my pregnancy and to find all these women from around the world come out and talk about their pregnancies.
      Thank you again. There are more stories pregnancy on this blog and on my website,

      Posted by Alix Shutello | January 25, 2011, 2:19 pm
  30. Great to hear that I am not the only crazy woman running a marathon while pregnant. I just completed Stockholm Marathon 2011 with almost 4 months pregnancy. I was very, very slow of course, but I am so happy I did it.
    A lot of people think you are crazy or irrresponsible if you do this, but as you say, you have to know your body. You are the only one who can tell if you can do it or not, especially if it´s not your first marathon and not your first pregnancy.
    Of course you have to be mentally prepared to stop at any moment if something feels wrong.

    Posted by Mylay Hernandez | June 1, 2011, 10:42 am


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