Pregnancy and Trail Running

The following article originally appeared in ATRA’s Summer 2015 Newsletter.

by Amber Reece-Young (pictured above at the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Ajijic, Mexico).

Who says you can’t keep running when you are pregnant? Well, your doctor might so it is always wise to get medical clearance first. If your OB-GYN okays it, then running trails can be a godsend.

I recently went through pregnancy and ran on trails until the day I gave birth. Running on trails helped clear my mind, keep my blood pressure and weight gain in check, gave me time for myself and unborn baby and was overall, a healthy release for both of us. The softer surface of the trail was easy on my joints and allowed me to keep doing what I love to do; run in the woods.

There are a few things about being pregnant that you will want to keep in mind. Being pregnant changes your center of gravity and makes it harder to maintain your balance. Running on familiar trails and being extra cautious helps to prevent falls. During pregnancy, hormones makes the joints become lax (move more freely) which can increase the risk for injury. It helps to listen to your body and to run on the soft surface such as trails. Since you must stay cool while running during pregnancy, trails are helpful since there’s often coverage from the sun with foliage and trees.

With trails, there are often hills or mountains to climb affording beautiful views at the top. Make sure not to overexert yourself during the climb — if you can’t breathe, baby can’t breathe either. Back down the pace or hike up if you need to.

There’s some equipment that you may use during trail runs that you normally wouldn’t use. You may need to invest in a very supportive sports bra to hold things in place and make the run more comfortable. Another item that hold things in place is a supportive belly band to help hold baby and belly in place. Compression socks are great to get the blood flowing back to the heart and reduce swelling in the feet and in the ankles. You may start carrying fluids, even on short runs since you never want to get dehydrated during pregnancy. Carrying a cell phone can be a blessing when pregnant since you never know when you may need to use it. Overall, running on trails during pregnancy is an amazing experience. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Willow was born in March and already has dreams of trail running.

(Pregnancy and Trail Running)