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Pregnancy and Running

Comrades finisher Vineeta Singh ran the 5K distance even though she is in her 3rd trimester. It will be a healthy baby no doubt.

Comrades finisher Vineeta Singh ran the 5K distance even though she is in her 3rd trimester. It will be a healthy baby no doubt.

I had recently posted a pic of Vineeta Singh running the 5K segment at the DNA run in Mumbai on FB along with the comment as under.

Naturally this raised some concerns about how safe it was to do so. This spurred me on to read a little bit on this topic and I thought I will share it with you.

The “Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and postpartum period” is an exhaustive guideline dealing on this topic.

You can read the full text here

And download it in PDF format here

The operative part reads as under:

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Recreational and competitive athletes with uncomplicated pregnancies can remain active during pregnancy and should modify their usual exercise routines as medically indicated. The information on strenuous exercise is scarce; however, women who engage in such activities require close medical supervision.
  • Previously inactive women and those with medical or obstetric complications should be evaluated before recommendations for physical activity during pregnancy are made. Exercise during pregnancy may provide additional health benefits to women with gestational diabetes.
  • A physically active woman with a history of or risk for preterm labor or fetal growth restriction should be advised to reduce her activity in the second and third trimesters.

 

The American College of Sports Medicine also draws heavily from the above guidelines. In it’s “Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription” it recommends “30 to 40 minutes or more of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended”

Both publications also give a list of relative and absolute contraindications. Conditions under which exercise should be ceased. Of course a list of activities which are high impact, such as horseriding, tennis etc are not recommended as is scuba diving since it exerts pressure on the fetus.

So what does this mean for the average women runner?

– If you are a regular runner, you can easily run a 5K distance at easy pace. Assuming there are no complications.
– If you are new runner / non runner, this is not the time to take up running. Walking is preferable.

Thus in the case of Vineeta Singh, who is a multiple times Comrades finisher, and who does high weekly mileages, doing an easy pace 5K was well within norms.

Cheers to her for showing many other ladies the way to stay healthy, by easy paced runs, during pregnancy.

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