References

Committee Opinion No. 650. Obstet Gynecol. 2015; 126:(6)e135-e142 https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000001214

Audickas L. Sport participation in England: Briefing paper number CBP8181.London: House of Commons; 2017

10 weird things no one tells you about when returning to running post-baby. 2017. https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20866684/10-weird-things-no-one-tells-you-about-when-returning-to-running-post-baby/ (accessed 19 March 2019)

Blyholder L, Chumanov E, Carr K, Heiderscheit B. Exercise behaviors and health conditions of runners after childbirth. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 2017; 9:(1)45-51 https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738116673605

Department of Health. Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the fours home countries' Chief Medical Officers. 2011a. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216370/dh_128210.pdf (accessed 19 March 2019)

Department of Health. Factsheet 4: Physical activity guidelines for adults (19-64 years). 2011b. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213740/dh_128145.pdf (accessed 19 March 2019)

Evenson KR, Barakat R, Brown WJ Guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy: comparisons from around the world. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014; 8:(2)102-121 https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827613498204

Running and pregnancy. 2014. https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a772515/running-and-pregnancy/ (accessed 19 March 2019)

Hitchings R, Latham A. How ‘social’ is recreational running? Findings from a qualitative study in London and implications for public health promotion. Health Place. 2017; 46:337-343 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2016.10.003

Kuhrt K, Harmon M, Hezelgrave NL, Seed PT, Shennan AH. Is recreational running associated with earlier delivery and lower birth weight in women who continue to run during pregnancy? An international retrospective cohort study of running habits of 1293 female runners during pregnancy. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. 2018; 4 https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2017-000296

Little J. Running, health and the disciplining of women's bodies: the influence of technology and nature. Health Place. 2017; 46:322-327 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2016.11.011

May LE, Glaros A, Yeh HW, Clapp JF, Gustafson KM. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. Early Hum Dev. 2010; 86:(4)213-217 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2010.03.002

May L, Suminski RR, Langaker MD, Yeh HW, Gustafson KM. Regular maternal exercise dose and fetal heart outcome. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012; 44:(7)1252-1258 https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318247b324

Mottola MF, Inglis S, Brun CR, Hammond JA. Physiological and metabolic responses of late pregnant women to 40 min of steady-state exercise followed by an oral glucose tolerance perturbation. J Appl Physiol. 2013; 115:(5)597-604 https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00487.2013

Mottola MF, Artal R. Fetal and maternal metabolic responses to exercise during pregnancy. Early Hum Dev. 2016; 94:33-41 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2016.01.008

Newton ER, May L. Adaptation of maternal-fetal physiology to exercise in pregnancy: the basis of guidelines for physical activity in pregnancy. Clin Med Insights Womens Health. 2017; 10 https://doi.org/10.1177/1179562X17693224

Ohlendorf JM, Anklam AL, Gardner L. ‘I am a Runner’: A qualitative analysis of women-runners' pregnancy experiences. Women Birth. 2018; 851 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2018.07.021

Parkrun. Pioneer Parkruns. 2018a. https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2018/10/03/pioneer-parkruns/ (accessed 19 March 2019)

Parkrun. Home. 2018b. http://www.parkrun.org.uk/ (accessed 19 March 2019)

Phelan S. Pregnancy: a ‘teachable moment’ for weight control and obesity prevention. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010; 202:(2)135.e1-135.e8 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2009.06.008

Royal College of General Practitioners. Parkrun practice Initiative. 2018. http://www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/our-programmes/clinical-priorities/parkrun-practice.aspx (accessed 19 March 2019)

Stevinson C, Wiltshire G, Hickson M. Facilitating participation in health-enhancing physical activity: a qualitative study of parkrun. Int J Behav Med. 2015; 22:(2)170-7 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-014-9431-5

Townsend N, Scriven A. Obesity. Public Health Mini Guide.Churchill Livingstone: Edinburgh:; 2014

UK Chief Medical Officers. Physical activity in pregnancy infographic: guidance. 2017b. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/622623/Physical_activity_pregnancy_infographic_guidance.pdf (accessed 19 March 2019)

Weissgerber TL, Wolfe LA, Davies GAL, Mottola MF. Exercise in the prevention and treatment of maternal–fetal disease: a review of the literature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006; 31:(6)661-674 https://doi.org/10.1139/h06-060

Wiltshire GR, Fullagar S, Stevinson C. Exploring parkrun as a social context for collective health practices: running with and against the moral imperatives of health responsibilisation. Sociol Health Illn. 2018; 40:(1)3-17 https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12622

Physical activity in pregnancy: practical advice for women who run

02 April 2019
10 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 4

Abstract

Running is a sport enjoyed by many women across the globe; however, there is little guidance regarding the specific needs of women who run during and after pregnancy. This article explores the guidance regarding physical activity for the general non-pregnant population and relates it to what is available for women who are pregnant. It also remarks on the contraindications to physical activity during pregnancy. This article includes key information of which midwives and women should be aware of during pregnancy and the postnatal period. There are several health benefits, metabolic and physiological changes that may be experienced as a result of running and this article also explores a number of initiatives that can be used by midwives to support women in their care who run.

Running is embraced globally as a pastime to keep fit and health, and yet there is little information for midwives to give to women runners. Running is, according to Audickas (2017), the most common participation sport in the UK, but there is very little evidence about the specific needs of women who run during pregnancy and who return to running in the postnatal period. Midwives have a responsibility to encourage woman to adopt healthy behaviours such as exercise during pregnancy and as they move into motherhood.

The Department of Health's (2011a) ‘Start Active, Stay Active’ strategy recommends that adults should be active everyday and should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Alternatively, similar health benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Moderate intensity activity is an activity that results in faster breathing, whereas vigorous intensity activity can be described as activity that results in a faster heartbeat quickly and it is more difficult to have a conversation (Department of Health, 2011b).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content

  • Monthly email newsletter