HomeHealthArchivesAug 2007



Running While Pregnant

Moms-to-be who want to keep up a running program are often frustrated by medicine's conventional exercise advice to pregnant women: only 15 minutes at a time, working your heart at a leisurely pace of no more than 140 beats per minute.

Those guidelines are meant only as a starting point, though, according to Runner's World. They can be exceeded somewhat by women in excellent condition-but only in consultation with their doctors and with very close self-monitoring.

Other exercise guidelines are more rigid, particularly when it comes to running in the summer. Since birth defects have been linked to high maternal core body temperatures, never run if it's more than 80 degrees out or if humidity is higher than 80 percent. To be safe, schedule runs before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m. On days you run, drink as many fluids as you can. Drink at least six to eight ounces half an hour before you run.

Run only to keep fit, not to get fit. After the 12th week, maintain an easy pace and stop after half an hour.

Run on smooth surfaces to reduce the odds of stumbling. On any surface, that danger is greater for childbearing women because pregnancy changes a woman's center of gravity and weakens knees and ankles.

Stop immediately and get medical help if you experience uterine cramps, pain or bleeding.