Friday, 1 January 2016

Running for two

I'm resurrecting this little blog of mine to talk about my experiences of running when pregnant and as a new mum. There's relatively little information or even anecdotes about running when pregnant so I hope that my experience will be interesting or useful to any other mums or mums-to-be out there.

Baby Florence was born on 7th September 2015 and I ran my last pregnant parkrun on 8th August. Throughout my pregnancy, friends were asking when I planned to stop running and my answer was always that I would keep going as long as I could. The NHS advice is positive towards exercise in pregnancy, though with the caveat to discuss it with your midwife. My midwife was very supportive and agreed with my plan to keep going as well as I felt able to. I am chuffed that I managed to still enjoy running in the 3rd trimester even though I started to receive a few comments about needing hot towels etc towards the end! 
I found out I was pregnant in the middle of January 2015 and almost immediately felt differently about running. I didn't want to push my body too hard so PB hunting was off the agenda, but I still wanted to keep fit. I'd raced a lot over the Christmas holidays and unfortunately had picked up a slight foot injury. This became quite handy in covering up why I wasn't running as much as usual until I was comfortable telling people I was pregnant (after the 12 week scan). 

I found the first 12 weeks the hardest - I didn't have a bump but was completely exhausted most of the time so had very little energy to run. This made me feel quite down and a bit like my identity was being lost. Pregnancy can be a very emotional time (blame the hormones) and not feeling physically up to running meant I couldn't turn to my usual form of therapy! Luckily things improved in the second trimester and I was able to enjoy running once again, including on holiday in California.
By the third trimester I still felt physically well but the bump was becoming more cumbersome and I was running a lot more slowly. I also had to be careful not to overheat in the summer sun as that could have potentially been risky. I swam a lot which was lovely - the water makes bumps weightless so it's easier to move more freely.
Overall I can really recommend running through pregnancy particularly if you have a supportive community like parkrun. However, the old cliche of listening to your body is even more important so if you are pregnant and feel too knackered/sick/weak/sore to do anything then remember it's only a few months and your body is growing a whole person which is pretty amazing in itself! 

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