Running Your Pregnancy Blues Away
Anxiety during pregnancy is a lot more common than was initially perceived with up to 52% of pregnant women reporting increased anxiety and depression according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Pregnancy is wonderful and exultant time but it can unfortunately also be clouded by anxiety and depression. There are many contributing factors that can cause stress and anxiety while you are pregnant such as fluctuating hormone levels, physical discomfort or a pre-existing mental illness. Research indicates that constantly elevated levels of anxiety can negatively affect your baby’s development and for this reason, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Physical activity is a good way to decrease stress and anxiety with running being one of the most popular.
Reasons To Run During Your Pregnancy
- You don’t need a lot of impressive gear and equipment
- It is safe (although it is recommended to consult with your doctor first)
- It will get you out of the house
- If you ran before you fell pregnant you can simply continue with it
Running for as little as 30 minutes, twice a week will be of great benefit in the fight against anxiety and depression. It may also drastically lower your levels of cortisol, the hormone primarily responsible for causing anxiety.
Contrary to many an old wife’s tale, your baby will not be ‘shaken loose’ while you are running. He or she will remain perfectly snug and safe swimming in your amniotic fluid during your run. You will also be able to continue running for as long as your ligaments and joints remain uncompromised and in fact many women run right up to their delivery dates. If you feel that you might need a bit of added support you should consider investing in a maternity back and belly belt.
The following precautions need to be taken when running during pregnancy:
- Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after your run. This is of vital importance for both you and baby.
- Stay cool by wearing clothes made of materials that will aid you in keeping your body temperature regulated.
- Protect your skin by wearing a hat and a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF30 or higher to prevent melasma (pregnancy-related skin darkening)
Complementing your running with additional exercise
If you engaged in other exercises before your pregnancy you can most likely continue to do so. Lifting weights and doing strength training during pregnancy can, for example, help you build the stamina needed during labor and delivery. Like with running don’t be afraid that you will harm your baby – they are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for.
Continuing to run during pregnancy isn’t only about engaging in an activity you enjoy. Numerous studies have shown that exercise improves the health of both mom and baby by decreasing back pain, minimizing weight gain, improving sleep and reducing birthing complications and time spent in labor