Fortunately, as long as you were running before you saw that life-changing plus sign, it's most likely fine for you to continue your routine throughout pregnancy (of course, your doc has the final say, so make sure to check with him or her first).
But just because you can run, doesn't mean it will feel the same. For all you running mamas, we've got the scoop on what to expect when you're expecting.
The Good: Health Benefits1 of 9
Long gone are the days of kicking back and taking it easy during pregnancy (unless you're on bed rest, of course). There are lots of health benefits to exercising—for both you and the baby.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that pregnant women exercise at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week. Luckily, as a runner, you've probably entered your pregnancy in great shape. And that means a lower risk of gestational diabetes, an easier time managing weight gain and a great outlet for stress relief (especially now that wine is off the table!).
The Good: Alleviating Pregnancy Symptoms2 of 9
Between constipation, bloating and nausea, you might be wondering when the heck that pregnancy glow is going to kick in. Luckily, running can help you feel a little more like yourself.
Even if you only get out there for a mile or two, running can keep your digestion regular, improve your mood, increase your energy levels and help you sleep better.
And best of all? Staying fit will help you handle the physical challenges of labor and delivery.
The Good: The Pressure is Off3 of 9
While it may be frustrating to table your goals for the better part of a year, many pregnant runners enjoy training without a rigid plan.
No need to stress out about weekly mileage, long runs or track workouts—you get tons of credit just for getting out there. Now is the time to focus on running for fun and stress relief, not for time and pace. PRs will be there for you post-baby.
The Bad: You'll Need New Gear4 of 9
There are plenty of reasons to run while expecting, but that doesn't mean you'll blissfully glide through the next nine months.
Finding gear that fits properly can be a tough battle for moms-to-be. Even if you've always been small-chested, you may suddenly find yourself needing more supportive bras.
After the first trimester, your normal gear (possibly even your shoes) will feel uncomfortably tight. It's annoying, but splurging on bigger sizes will be well worth it.
The Bad: Increased Bathroom Stops5 of 9
You use the bathroom three times before you leave the house and by the half-mile mark, you're anxiously on the lookout for the nearest Porta Potty (or leafy tree). It seems like you have to pee every three minutes.
Organs are shifting around and, oh yeah, that baby is using your bladder as a punching bag. Combined with pregnancy hormones that increase fluid output, you're probably going to hit the bathroom more than ever. And that can make for some pretty uncomfortable miles.
Insider tip: Plan running routes near public bathrooms, and always bring along a little emergency TP.
The Bad: Some People Won't Get it6 of 9
In recent years, ideas around exercise and pregnancy have changed a lot. Most people admire fit mamas-to-be, but you might inevitably have to deal with questions and comments about your workout routine (especially as you get larger).
Expect questions like, "Is running really safe for the baby?" and "Won't running cause premature labor?" But just like raising your little one, you've got to do what works for you and your family.
If running makes you feel good and your doctor has given you the OK, try to ignore the naysayers and focus on the health benefits.
The Ugly: New Aches and Pains7 of 9
Some things about pregnant running are simply annoying, others are downright miserable. Unfortunately, even if you scale things back, aches and pains are inevitable.
A healthy pregnancy means a fair amount of weight gain (25-35 pounds, on average) which can really take a toll on your joints. Add in pregnancy hormones and the fatigue that comes from growing a human, and you have the perfect storm for aches and pains.
One of the most common complaints about pregnancy is round ligament pain, which happens when your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate a growing uterus. These aches are normal, but they can put a real damper on running (it can feel like a side stitch or even a sharp pain). Support belts can help, but the aches are often an inevitable part of pregnancy.
The Ugly: You May Have to Stop Running8 of 9
Putting your running on pause is probably not your first choice, but sometimes it's the right decision.
Whether it's a pulled muscle (you're extra prone to injury thanks to the joint-loosening hormone, relaxin) or doctor's orders, there may come a time when running no longer becomes possible. If that's the case, there are plenty of other ways you can stay active, like walking, swimming or prenatal yoga.
Even if it feels like it's going to last forever, remember that pregnancy is temporary and you'll be back on the roads with a cute new running buddy before you know it.