Well mama, you know by now there’s a long list of things you can’t do during your pregnancy. You’ve had to say good bye to a lot of things: so long to sushi, later to liquor, and sayonara to smoking. But exercise? No way! Runners, you’ll be especially glad to know that running on a treadmill during pregnancy is absolutely OK. In fact, it’s recommended for all moms-to-be that they get moving, somehow. And if you’re a runner, then by all means don’t stop just because you’re pregnant.
But before you get visions of running a half-marathon during your third trimester, there are a few things to know if you plan on using a treadmill while you are pregnant. In order of importance, here’s what all mothers-to-be should know about running during pregnancy:
1. Don’t Start Something New During Pregnancy!
Your body is changing a lot already, just by being pregnant. Therefore, don’t overload it by incorporating a whole new exercise regimen at the same time. If you were a runner before getting pregnant then running on a treadmill is going to be great for you and your developing baby.
However, if you weren’t very physically active before getting pregnant, you may want to do light exercise, like walking on a treadmill during your pregnancy. In fact, a treadmill is ideal whether you plan on walking or running. The impact is softened, the “terrain” is nice an predictable so you won’t fall, and you can work out no matter what the weather is doing.
2. Listen to Your Body
Runners know how to push through pain, fight through a grueling run, and generally persevere through any mind blocks they may encounter. You might call it mind over body. “Just do it” is a familiar runner’s motto, and it pretty much sums up the mentality of a runner.
Not any more.
When you become pregnant, your body is in charge, not your brain. That is, you must listen carefully to what your body is telling you or else you can put your baby and you at risk. In general, if you were a runner before you got pregnant, then your body will respond well to running on a treadmill during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, however, you will not be able to run at the same intensity as before. You should:
- limit your distance, especially during the latter half of the second trimester and the third trimester
- stick to level terrain, like on a treadmill
- try intervals: run-walk-run in a ten-ten-ten minute loop, for example. Treadmill consoles have programs you can use to set this up automatically for you.
Also, if you are tired, then pay attention to that. Some days you’ll feel so exhausted and others you’ll have more energy. The exhaustion that comes form pregnancy is a different feeling of exhaustion than you felt before being pregnant. Your body is tired from growing a baby and it needs rest. Therefore, don’t push too hard on those days you’re so exhausted. This is opposite of what you might have done before you were pregnant.
3. Get Your Doctor’s Approval
Your doctor will tell you if yours is a high-risk pregnancy. If you are, chances are the amount of exercise may be drastically reduced, or forbidden altogether. If anything, walking on a treadmill is the safest form of exercise in these cases because there are no obstacles and the “terrain” is very predictable.
4. Keep Your Heart Rate Within Limits
A general rule of thumb is not to let your heart rate get over 140 beats per minute. Lots of treadmills come with very accurate heart rate monitors, so make use of this function. Treadmills come with one or both types of heart rate monitors: chest strap and handle grip sensors. Some treadmills also come with programs which will monitor your heart rate and adjust your workout in order to keep your heart rate below a certain level, which you tell it. This is a very handy function if you are going to be running on a treadmill during pregnancy.
5. Pay Even More Attention to Staying Hydrated
You always need water when running, but even more so when you’re pregnant and running. Drink lots of water about two hours before your run, and keep a water bottle handy during your workout, too.
6. Ease Back as Your Pregnancy Progresses
Even the most fit runners will slow it down as they become more and more pregnant. It’s vital that your body is able to perform its main function right now, which is nourishing your baby. If you press too hard during your runs, you’re taking away from your body’s ability to do its #1 job.
Why Treadmills are Perfect for Pregnancy & Beyond
When you’re pregnant, your joints will ache and your ligaments actually loosen up, making it harder on your knees to run. For this reason alone, a treadmill is perfect for expectant mothers. Treadmills are known to be softer on the joints, and provide cushioned platforms to lessen the impact of running.
It’s easy to trip and fall when you can’t see your feet
Next, as you grow and grow, you’re not going to be able to see your feet at some point! That makes it extra easy to trip on things and you don’t want to be falling while pregnant. Running on a treadmill is perfect because it it provides an obstacle-free run, with less chance of tripping and falling down.
Sometime during your second trimester, your body will change drastically because there will be a lot of extra weight and it will change your gait. You may even develop a “waddle” at this point. Therefore, you’ll have to adjust your gait to accommodate your new body. A treadmill’s gentle impact surface and easily adjustable speed functions will help you adjust to your new stride.
After you have your baby, it’s important to get back into exercising, but you can’t leave baby. Again, treadmill to the rescue! You can work out at home, and still keep an eye on baby while you get your pre-pregnancy body back.