If you're a runner, pregnancy doesn't have to stop you from enjoying your favorite form of exercise. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association says women who jog during pregnancy may gain less weight and have shorter labors than nonrunners. Still, you need to take certain precautions to jog safely while pregnant. Don't expect to jog with the same intensity you did before you became pregnant or you could put you and your baby in danger.
Schedule an appointment with your obstetrician before running. Typically, if you were a runner before you became pregnant, it's fine to continue. Jogging for the first time while pregnant is less safe because your body is not yet conditioned for the exercise.
Wear comfortable and supportive workout clothes. You need a supportive sports bra, since your breasts likely have swollen since you became pregnant. Breathable, natural fibers can help you keep cool and comfortable as you jog.
Plan a route that is shorter and less intense than normal. Not only are you carrying extra weight, but your joints have become looser as your pregnancy has progressed because of a hormone called relaxin, which prepares your body for labor. Always tell someone when you're going for a jog and carry a cell phone so you can contact someone should you start to experience warning signs of a problem. Avoid running in extreme weather conditions, particularly the heat, since it can raise your internal body temperature to a dangerous level. If it's too warm, run indoors on a treadmill.
Bring water with you and drink at least 7 to 10 oz. every 10 to 20 minutes. Dehydration can seriously affect your pregnancy and cause contractions, so it's vital that you continue to drink during exercise. Sports drinks and flavored water can also help replenish fluid lost through sweat.
Evaluate your body and your comfort level as you run. Never run so fast that you become winded or fatigued. Should you experience warning signs such as cramps, contractions, bleeding, vaginal discharge, nausea, light-headedness or a sudden change in body temperature, stop jogging and call your obstetrician immediately.
Stop jogging if that's what your obstetrician advises. While jogging can be a safe exercise while pregnant, it's considered high impact and can occasionally cause problems. You can stay fit with other exercises, including walking and swimming.