Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pregnant, Running, and Worried

My midwife says I can keep on running and that it will help me stay strong for labor and to get back into pre-pregnancy shape right quick. Paula Radcliffe, well we all know about her. So, after feeling all comfy with the idea that running is good for peanut, I keep stumbling across this study. And to make matters worse, accompanying the linked article are comments from people claiming that running made them miscarry! Gah! Just when I was beginning to feel more secure.

I know the scary study is about intense exercise. Running is always villianized in these situations. If a woman who runs is having trouble getting pregnant, running has to be the reason why. If a woman who runs miscarries, running has to be the reason why. If intense exericse is to blame, that exercise must be running. Sure, running can be intense but it is not necessarily intense. If I was running the same volume and intensity I was last summer and fall, yeah I can see where there'd be a problem.

But here's what I've been doing:

4 runs per week varying in distance from 4-7 miles at slower than 9:00 pace. I run with people often and when I do so I know I'm ok because I'm talking the whole time. When I run alone and I'm concerned I'm running too hard I force myself to take walk breaks for a minute or so every so often to check my heart rate.

This week I was thinking about running 5 or even 6 days considering I've already run 3 short runs this week. But now I'm worried. And this is annoying because I believe that what I'm doing is good for me and peanut, yet in the back of my mind that stupid study has me worried I could hurt, even kill peanut by the very thing that I feel I'm doing to make peanut healthy and strong. Deep down I know I can trust my instincts and that anything that happens to peanut is not running related, but it's hard to feel comfortable running with this nagging fear. And I know there is always going to be something to worry about with a peanut in our lives. So, even with the worry in the back of my mind I trust myself and I will keep on running, just slowly, not very far, and definitely not intensely.

I suppose this kinds of mental compromise is just one of those things I'll have to get used to now that I'm a parent.

It's about a month after I posted this and this post gets a lot of hits from google for people looking up "running and pregnancy." I want everyone to know that since this post (it's been almost 6 weeks) I have been running almost every day between 5 and 8 miles and feeling great. I have the blessing from my midwife and so far our little peanut is doing great. The benefits of running through pregnancy are great as long as you are in shape, low risk, and have the blessing of your doctor/midwife. Just be smart about it--be extra cautious about dehydration and overdoing it in general--relax and have fun! Click here to read about where I am now with pregnancy and running.


Chelle said...

Deep breaths, lots of deep'll have these worries for the rest of your life. If it helps, you can think about how you'd be shortchanging your offspring if you let yourself get out of shape during your pregnancy!

I still don't know how my mother ever made the leap to let me start horseback riding when I was 10, jumping in horseshows when I was 12 and fox hunting when I was 15! I'm not sure I could be as trusting of the universe with my darling child, but I'm sure glad she let me take those risks.

On the other hand, I wasn't allowed to start running marathons until I was 18, so I guess they did throw up the protective bans now and again.

Do your best to relax about the running though. If you think you would torture yourself forever if something were to go wrong, then you'll have to make the call, but yours is such a healthy, strong body and you're being so gentle about what you're doing, if nature were to decide this wasn't right for you, I think that would be something far from being in your control.

But it's trimester two! Your body has let things go this far, that's a huge biological vote of confidence on peanut's path to becoming a screaming, burping, pooping bundle of joy.

CJ said...

I know you like the Target watch, but do you have a heart rate monitor? That would be one way to make sure you're keeping the intensity down.

I always thought that it was okay to run during pregnancy as long as it's in moderation and not at too high of an intensity level. I imagine your body will let you know when it's time to stop?

I'm planning on doing a recovery run at lunch tomorrow. Let me know if you want to come. No pressure though!!!

TrainingtoTri said...

Listen to the doctors. They say you can do it, just take it easy. I used to run with the running group at Second Sole in Lyndhurst. Kate, the gal that runs the group ran up until 8 months! She just kept it slow and if worse comes to worse you can still hike and power walk. Running with people who are slower than you (like me!) should keep you honest and slow you down!

Adeel said...

a huge biological vote of confidence on peanut's path to becoming a screaming, burping, pooping bundle of joy.

I think that's worse than my jokes about the weight gain.

Chelle said...

And here it is almost 2 years later and I get to follow my own advice. I guess my personality gives me a break on some of this worrying. It's never occurred to me thus far that running right now could possibly be a bad thing. But then again, I'm not having any fatigue or nausea either. Yes, you're allowed to hate me.