Running in Pregnancy

I have been awfully quiet on this blog for a few months, and with good reason: My husband and I are expecting a baby! We’re over the moon and very excited, but I won’t lie. The first few months have been brutal. From the start, I suffered from extreme nausea day in, day out. I lost weight and could hardly keep down water, thus my GP put me on anti-sickness medicine. That stopped the vomiting at least, but I still couldn’t stand the sight of most foods. Chicken? Bah. Rice? No. Tea, my favourite drink in the world? Unthinkable.

Naturally, one thing on my mind has been whether I could keep running while pregnant. It was one of the first things I googled after finding out that we’re expecting. Happily, I read all about exercise in pregnancy, especially running. There was no need to give it up. In fact, many women have run almost until giving birth! Everywhere it said “every pregnancy is different, listen to your body”. Surely, having been in great shape before becoming pregnant, I wouldn’t struggle much to keep running, right?

Wrong. While I was at my worst with nausea, the motion of running only exacerbated that. A few times I managed to get out, but three kilometres seemed like a long way suddenly! And it made me so tired. In fact, everything made me so tired and I napped lots. My main form of exercise became slow walks. It was the only thing that made me feel slightly less nauseous, so it was often combined with eating a slice of plain bread. It was depressing to see my fitness just fade away rapidly. In Facebook groups and forums, I’d read about women who ran races while pregnant, whereas I was struggling to walk a mile. It seemed that everyone was coping better than me, and that thought made me feel even worse.

Turns out, if you dig deep enough, you will eventually find women admitting they could hardly manage a mile in pregnancy. Even professionals can have a hard time keeping up the training while expecting. It just seems that nobody likes to admit that publicly on Facebook. There, you will only find reports by the ones who coped well and now want to tell the world about it. That’s perfectly understandable, but it doesn’t help the women who don’t cope well to feel better about their struggles. In the end, I just avoided reading anything related to running in pregnancy and did whatever felt good and manageable.

With the second trimester, the nausea has finally eased off and my energy has come back to some degree, and I can finally get out a bit more again. I even made a few hill trips from our new house. I’m far away from my old fitness though. And with the growing bump, I am now starting to feel all the little niggles associated with it, so we’ll see how much longer I’ll manage to run and at what point I have to switch to walking permanently.

It’s safe to say that the journey through pregnancy so far has been nothing like I expected, so I won’t even bother to makes plans for the third trimester or a swift return to training after giving birth. I’ll just see how it goes and do what I can. While this is frustrating as I like to have goals to be working towards, there is no point to set goals which I know won’t be achievable. At least I like drinking tea again now!

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