According to a study published in The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, women are disproportionately affected by musculoskeletal disorders. The combination of increased weight on joints with potentially greater laxity during pregnancy could lead to permanent structural changes in feet.
It’s commonplace in the postpartum world to hear someone say their feet grew half a size after pregnancy. The best thing to do is be proactive with your footwear. Make sure to wear supportive shoes while pregnant, especially in the last months.
Be mindful that you may need a larger shoe size if your feet swell, and sometimes that swelling can be quite dramatic. It doesn’t mean that your feet will stay that size afterward. While not everyone ends up in a larger shoe forever, your feet will thank you if you don’t cramp them in the meantime.
Remember that running can help ease labor (and more)
Kathrine Wright, a runner in Missoula, MT, sums up how a lot of women feel. She says of her pregnancy, “I just needed to run. It’s something I hadn’t done in my previous pregnancies and I wanted to go for it. I needed that group of women, and to get out the door and get going.”
According to WebMD, it's recommended that pregnant women do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Exercising may help prevent preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and the need for a cesarean section as well as improve your mood and ward off depression. The website also suggests that pregnant women who exercise tend to have easier and faster labors as well as a quicker recovery.
Walking and running can also help with constipation and mild back painassociated with pregnancy. Staying fit and keeping weight gain in check will help with postpartum recovery as well.
There are many reasons to run, pregnant or not. But if you are planning to run while pregnant, try to keep it light and fun. Keep your baby’s health, and yours in mind. Be prepared for dramatic changes in your body and don’t be afraid to slow down and walk. In fact, anticipate walking a lot. If you feel that running is too uncomfortable, walking is a great choice with all the same benefits.
As your pregnancy progresses it usually becomes harder to run. Keeping an open mind and a loose set of goals will allow you to feel good about each day’s accomplishments no matter how small. And please, if you are having trouble accepting the changes with your body and its performance level, reach out for help.
By Cynthia Lauren Arnold. Arnold is a lifelong runner and mother of three. She currently holds three world records, fastest marathon and half marathon pushing a triple stroller and the fastest half marathon pushing a double stroller. She lives with her family in rural Montana.