Can I carry on running throughout my pregnancy?

Lucie half marathon

Why should I carry on running in pregnancy?

 Running is fantastic cardiovascular exercise and will help keep your heart and lungs fit and strong. In addition to all the usual benefits from exercising during pregnancy:

  • A shorter labour, with less likelihood of complications – I had quite enjoyable pregnancies with no sick days from work, straightforward and short labours (both under 5 hours) vaginal deliveries and a very quick recovery, was active within a couple of days!
  • Less likely to suffer from nausea and morning sickness
  •  Improved core strength and stability
  • A stronger back and reduction in back pain
  • Better posture
  •  Stronger pelvic floors
  • Better circulation, less likely to suffer from varicose veins, swelling and high blood pressure
  • Stronger bones
  • Avoid excessive weight gain and easier to get back into shape after the birth
  • More energy and self-confidence – lift your mood and feel great!
  • Strengthen the muscles used in childbirth
  •  It will help you sleep
  • Improved cardio-vascular fitness and muscle tone
  • Lessen the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes

With all of those benefits, why would you not exercise?! After pregnancy you will retain a lot of these benefits, in addition to finding it easier to lose excess weight and tone up. With running having some time outdoors and time to yourself are also great feel-good benefits.

One of the most common things I hear is that it is not safe to run during pregnancy. There is no one-size-fits-all response to this. It largely depends on your pre-pregnancy fitness level and running experience. If you have never been a runner do not start during pregnancy. If you have done a little bit of running I would suggest keeping it at a moderate intensity (jogging rather than running) and no more than 30 minutes a couple of times a week. If you haven’t done any running for at least a couple of months then do something else. If it feels at all uncomfortable then do something else. If you are an experienced runner then there is no reason you cannot carry on running during your pregnancy.

I carried on running…but was always safe and sensible

 I love all kinds of exercise, especially aerobics and other fitness classes, but running really is my all time fave and I ran up to the end of the second trimester with both of my pregnancies. After that it began to feel a bit uncomfortable, but that’s just me. Every woman is different and should listen to their own body. Some women continue to run throughout their pregnancies right to the end and some just don’t feel right running from the outset. Do what feels right for you. I also did my first full marathon when my first baby was 8 months old!

 Here are some points about running safely and sensibly during pregnancy:

  •  Avoid overheating
  • Eat before and after exercise, (a snack, not a three course meal) around an hour either side should do it
  • Wear a good bra and trainers when you are working out
  • Be aware of running conditions – look after your personal safety, stick to well-lit areas and avoid rough or hilly terrain
  • Your pre-pregnancy exercise and fitness levels will determine what level you can exercise at
  • Remember your pelvic floor exercises (even if you are having a c-section) as running does put extra pressure on these muscles
  • Adapt your running plan as your pregnancy progresses, see below
  • Warm up and cool down gradually
  • Stretch the muscles you used in your workout when you get home (all the big leg muscles)
  • Try to maintain a good posture (all the time!)
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Take care not to overstretch or push yourself too hard; the hormone relaxin makes your joints more prone to injury

Advice for running throughout your pregnancy: 

running in the first trimester

 During trimester one you can carry on as usual, as long as the intensity is not very high (i.e. intervals, sprinting), the duration isn’t too long (i.e. longer than 90 minutes) and you are not working harder than what you have been used to.

running in the second trimester

During trimester two you should start decreasing your intensity and duration once it starts to feel like it is becoming harder. Remember, you should be comfortably be able to maintain a conversation when you are working out. Your body is changing and although you can carry on running (although it should be ‘jogging’ – not too fast!) you should gradually start to adapt your workouts.

 running in the third trimester

During trimester three you may be able to carry on jogging if it still feels ok, but make sure you listen to your body and move on to a lower impact activity if it doesn’t feel right. Your bump may make you feel unbalanced or you may have some pelvic aches. Cross training, power walking, cycling and swimming are all great alternatives. If you do continue to jog then, once again, work at a comfortable intensity for a sensible duration and maybe build in some walk/jog sessions, alternating between each for five minutes at a time.

 Safety comes first:

In summary, if your pregnancy is low risk and you feel fine, don’t be frightened to continue something you enjoy, but remember running is high impact and you may feel more comfortable moving to gentler activities later on in your pregnancy with a view to taking up running again once you have had your baby. It’s up to you – every woman is different. Definitely ignore anyone that tries to criticise you jogging with a bump; we need to change the way people perceive pregnant women – start the revolution!

More about running in pregnancy here

5 tips to deal with the itchy red horridness that is chicken pox

It doesn’t sound that bad when you say it, but when you are a mum there’s not many things worse than seeing your precious child covered in angry red blisters. I have just had a month of chicken pox fun; my 3 and a half year old daughter had it, then after 2 and a half weeks my 10 month old baby got chicken pox (I thought we might have escaped her getting it, but no).

I didn’t really know that much about it before, but feel like a bit of an expert now J so here are my tips to help you help your little one, while they are still fresh in my mind (and the blisters are still crusting over!) All children are different, but here are my experiences and tips for what they are worth:

1 Be prepared

Once you see those blisters be prepared for a bit of disruption. To sleep, eating and working (remember the HPA says your child can’t go to nursery for 5 days after the onset of the rash to avoid sharing it around). My baby also got a really upset tummy with hers and did lots of runny back poos (joy). Like all things, all babies will have their own reaction. First things first, cut their nails and dress them in loose comfortable clothing. Clear the diary as much as possible for a few days and get ready to comfort and cuddle! In tried not to let my older daughter look in the mirror too much when they were really bad as I didn’t want her to get upset. Likelihood is if you have 2 children they will both get it; the incubation period is around 7-21 days.

2 What to expect and how long it lasts

They start as pinpricks, then out come the fluid filled blisters, which increase in number over a couple of days. My poor baby got them really bad, in her mouth, ears and her front bottom as well as everywhere else. They seem to like the forehead and hair too, along with the chest and back. It really is horrible seeing your little one suffering with this, but don’t worry, the angriness only lasts a couple of days before they gradually start to heal (which seems to take about 2-3 weeks for a fairly bad bout). Avoid getting near very poorly people, tiny babies or pregnant women in the early stages. Once you are over the contagious stage you may still get a few black looks taking your child out and about, but try not to worry as you know no one can get it. We covered up the worst of them on my babies head with her ‘plague hat’ J Think it probably looks quite obvious that she is keeping her hat on indoors, but we just say that she enjoys accessorising!

3 Medicine

Both my little ones got a bit feverish around day 3, which seems to be when it peaks. My older daughter especially got quite loppy and tired. I was giving paracetemol regularly throughout the first few days to help ease discomfort and bring temperature down. Alongside this, Piriton gave fantastic relief for itching for both of them. The bottle (and the Pharmacist) will tell you a baby under 1 year can’t have it, but I spoke to the doctor who said 2 x 2.5ml doses a day is fine for a 10 month old. My 3 year old had 4 x 2.5ml a day. Both of them had this for a week as it helps with the itching, which is worst as the spots start to heal and crust. Finally, when either of them seemed really uncomfortable a 2.5ml dose of ibuprofen at bedtime helped too. Sounds like a lot I know, but I don’t give drugs willy nilly. Am a great believer in only using medication when it is needed. I think a nasty dose of chicken pox is when it is needed!

4 To the skin

When I was little apparently calamine lotion was the thing to put on chicken pox. Some people still recommend it now, but things have moved on a bit. I bought a spray bottle of Virasoothe from the Pharmacy. It cost nearly a tenner, but goes a long way and treated both my girls. You spray it on all over and can rub it in to their faces. Seems like it helps, is nice and smooth and cool and says it promotes healing and prevents scarring. Certainly can’t hurt. My older daughter did start asking for the magic spray when she was itchy so must have done something. Once the spots start to crust I also dabbed on some Sudocream to the really nasty ones a couple of times a day, which helped take the redness down; is there anything this cream can’t do?!

5 Weird and wonderful

When the spots were at their worst you will try anything to try and ease the angry redness. Some of my friends suggested a bath with bicarbonate of soda in it. Both the girls had a couple of these and I would definitely recommend trying it. You need lots of bicarb, enough to make the bath really milky. At the same time put some porridge oats in the foot of an old pair of tights and gently wash them with this. When you squeeze it milky stuff come out. Gently dab them all over. You can gently wash their hair as usual, but try to watch their eyes as the water has all this weird stuff in it. Both of these genuinely seem to calm the spots down and promote healing. Neither of them really wanted to be bathed at the time, but try and get them in as is for their own good.

And that’s it! I hope your little ones don’t get it too badly. Remember you can only get it once (there are very rare cases of it happening twice but not enough for you to worry about!) You now have at least a little bit of knowledge and a few tips to help ease the worst of the symptoms. Now off to Tesco for some oats, bicarb, medicines (and maybe a bottle of wine for mummy for when they are all better!)


Guest blog from Sia Cooper: The Truth About Pregnancy Part One

Thank you so much to Sia for sharing this blog post with Read more over at her blog Diary of a Fit Mommy, for more recipes and workout ideas.

Pregnancy is an awesome thing.
It’s probably the most amazing and beautiful thing I’ve ever been through. Think about it. You spend all this time creating another HUMAN that you get to carry around with you in your belly for almost a year!
I am officially halfway through and I have a lot to say about pregnancy-the good, the bad, and the truth! Granted, I have thankfully had a very easy pregnancy so far-I have not been sick hardly any. But there are some other side effects of pregnancy that people don’t tend to tell you!

These are my truths about the first half of pregnancy


Pregnancy is not 9, but 10 months long!

I am not entirely sure or why they say “9 months” but technically, pregnancy begins right after your last menstrual period-two weeks before you actually conceive. Most women’s pregnancy last a duration or 40 weeks or ten months. So when you get to 9 months, and dont go into labor just yet-dont fret! 9 months or 36 weeks just means you have reached full term and that its “ok” to deliver at any time.
Ouch! My butt hurts!
No, I am not talking about hemorrhoids-another health issue women tend to deal with during pregnancy (thats said to come way later). I am talking about Sciatic pain! Oh boy, this is a lot of fun. Try walking or sitting or laying with a twinge of pain starting in either or both butt cheeks that run down your leg! As baby grows, they put pressure on your sciatic nerve, which starts at both buttocks and runs downward towards your calf muscles. It can not only cause pain, but numbness and tingling. This only lasted 3-4 weeks with me and it went away shortly after. 
Whoops! That was a smelly one!
This makes me laugh to even think about writing. 
Have you ever heard that all pregnant women fart… alot? Guess how true that is? VERY TRUE! Embarrassing, yes, but thanks to the slowed digestion to increase nutrient absorption during pregnancy, this increases gas-and lots of it! My poor husband, he must really love me to be able to sit near me sometimes! You honestly cannot help it. There is nothing you can do to stop it either! Have fun!
Did you just poke me!?

The first time I felt my baby kick was right at 16 weeks. I was not too sure at first because it was only a one time thing-I did not feel it again that day. But it was a feeling I have never felt before. I was laying on my tummy, texting my family-this was a couple hours after finding out he was a BOY! I was very excited and happy. And then, I felt a little poke from the inside! It was very strange. Some women says it feels like gas, but not to me. I was very sure it was him. A few days later, I felt the same thing. A few days later, I would feel it a couple times a day, getting stronger and stronger. Now, at 19 weeks and 2 days, I feel it several times a day! Sometimes, they are such strong little pokes that they catch me off guard. My husband has been able to feel the movement with his hands a couple of times so far. It is the most amazing feeling ever. Now I feel it when I laugh, eat, and talk.

Flat by morning, HUGE by night
This is probably the strangest phenomenon I have ever experienced! Throughout your first half of pregnancy, you will notice that no matter what month you are, you will wake up with a flat tummy and go to bed looking 6 months pregnant. I still had visible abs at 4 months pregnant! Now, at around 5 months, I have developed a real bump that I wake up with now. I remember waking up one morning in tears because I thought my baby was shrinking! But surely enough like clockwork, with everything I ate and drank throughout the day, my bump slowly formed and came back. This is just due to a lot of water retention throughout pregnancy! You will know its the real thing when you wake up with it. Instead of it doing a disappearing act.


My boobs are on FIRE!!

Your breasts start growing the moment those HCG hormones start rolling in. And guess what?
They grow so much that they no longer fit in anything you own! Say hello to new bras. Target has amazing and comfy nursing bras that are inexpensive that I would suggest. My biggest piece of advice is to sleeping in a supportive bra, because if you dont, your breasts will feel like they are on fire! The pain subsides a little in the 2nd trimester, but still hurts me at 19 weeks.
“I will take a pizza, sushi, fries, ice cream, and a cheeseburger, please?”
Yes! Food cravings are true. At least in the first trimester. I had no sickness so I was able to eat and crave things. I did not crave sweets very much, but I did crave CHEESE and SUSHI. I had to have it. I craved it so much that if I did not get it when I wanted it-my whole night was ruined! Yup. Thank youuuuu, hormones! They can turn you into a bitch if you are not one already. However, I controlled mine pretty well. Sometimes, I dont even feel pregnant! But according to what I hear, its a rarity to not get sick. I credit it to my staying health, gym going, and clean eating.
But I must eat for 2!
NO-you do not. Biggest myth ever. Yes, you are hungry and having cravings, but you must remember that everything you eat-baby eats too. That does not mean you need double. You should only take in 300 extra cals the first tri, 300 the second tri, and 500 in the 3rd tri and when you are nursing. This myth has been the cause of unnecessary weight gain and makes it that much harder for the baby weight to fall off. I am 19 weeks and my weight gain is at 3lbs. I eat around 2,300 cals a day and workout 4-5 times a week. I do eat clean but I do have my cheat day once a week!
I gotta go potty
Ahhh you and the potty will get very acquainted. My biggest tip? Do not drink fluids one hour before bedtime, and make sure you go to the bathroom right before you jump into bed. Dont get me wrong- you will still go several times a night, but it makes it one trip less.