Running in pregnancy_ iStock-615506404

You’ve heard it many times before – it’s important to keep up the exercise while you’re pregnant. And it’s well documented that low impact exercise, such as walking, can have many benefits during pregnancy. But what about running?

Research finds runners can keep running

Findings of the largest ever study on running in pregnancy was recently published – thanks to 1,293 women globally who participate in parkrun free, weekly 5km timed runs or walks which happen all over the world.

The research was recently published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, and concluded, based on the results of these women who became pregnant while running regularly, that it is safe to keep running throughout pregnancy.

In undertaking the study, details of previous pregnancies were collated – including gestation of delivery, birth weight and pregnancy complications. These were related to expected baby size by taking into account mothers’ ethnicity, height, weight, and baby’s gender, allowing an accurate assessment of running impact on pregnancy.

Academic Obstetrician Professor Andy Shennan who lead the study with parkrun’s assistance, said that the research found that women can continue accustomed exercise during pregnancy and this is encouraged to ensure a healthy outcome for both the mother and her baby.

What if you haven’t been exercising regularly?

It is important to note that this research is based on women who became pregnant while running regularly. The type and amount of exercise you can safely do while pregnant depends a lot on how fit and active you were before your pregnancy.

For most women with uncomplicated pregnancies, a combination of aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises is recommended and is completely safe. According to the Royal Women's Hospital, the best way to get fit during pregnancy is through regular physical activity at an intensity that pushes you to work at a moderate pace, but not to the point of being out of breath.

However, you should also be aware that certain medical conditions may prevent you from exercising during pregnancy, and there are some sports and activities that should be avoided. Always chat with your doctor about your fitness plans and routine and decide what changes, if any, you’ll need to make. And if you want further support and advice, a physiotherapist can help you create a personalised training plan.

Medibank is proud to partner with parkrun as part of Medibank Free + Active – bringing you free social activities that make you happier, healthier and more connected. Find a parkrun near you.