Does Running Cause Miscarriage?

The physical changes a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy can be dramatic. The desire to do what's best for the baby often drives a mother's actions, and regular exercise can have considerable benefits to the mother and her unborn child. Running can be an effective way to stay active and healthy, but while miscarriages are rare, in some cases your exercise routine could increase the risk of suffering one.

Running during a pregnancy is safe if you were running consistently before you were pregnant. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Importance of Exercise

Exercise, including running, can improve circulation throughout the body, and therefore improve the circulation reaching your baby. It can keep your body and heart healthy and help lower stress and anxiety, which may affect your child. Keep in mind that exercise isn't necessary -- a healthy baby can be born to a mother who is not active at all -- but it can improve the health of both you and your baby.

Changes During Your Pregnancy

Every woman may experience pregnancy in different ways. Most are able to continue their exercise routine, including running, for at least part of their pregnancy, according to Pregnancy Today. Don't start a running program if you weren't running prior to getting pregnant, though. And even if you are a seasoned runner, you should still get your doctor's approval before continuing to run.

Risk of Miscarriage

Experts are split on whether running can increase the risk of miscarriage, but research published in "New Scientist" magazine found that women who exercise for seven or more hours per week through high-impact exercises like running are at the highest risk of suffering a miscarriage in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, according to CompleteRunning.com. The study followed the progress of more than 92,000 women in Denmark. The research suggests that the impact running produces with each stride jostles the uterus, contributing to the increased risk of miscarriage.

Considerations

Be aware of your physical health throughout your pregnancy and particularly when you are exercising. If you have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or a history of miscarriage, don't run while pregnant. Mothers carrying multiple children are also encouraged to avoid running. If you experience bleeding from the vagina or sudden, sharp pains in the stomach, contact a doctor or visit the emergency room -- these could be signs of an injury that could lead to miscarriage.

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