If you were running before you found out that you have a baby on the way the good news is that you most likely can continue to run. We know that exercising during pregnancy has a lot of benefits so if you are feeling well there is probably no need to hang up those running shoes during your pregnancy, as long your health care practitioner gives you the all clear.
Since you are now running for two your diet and nutrition intake needs will be different. They need to be adequate enough to get you and your baby to be able to power through your runs. Here are my Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Running During Pregnancy:
1. Increase your iron.
Being female and being a runner can sometimes increase your chances of having low iron levels. We know that we can feel unwell and extremely tired if we are low in iron, even more so during pregnancy. During pregnancy the recommended amount of iron that we need increases greatly. Low iron during pregnancy can have some detrimental effects to our health as well as the baby’s health so it is really important to make sure that you increase your iron intake, especially if you are going to continue running while pregnant. Make sure you are eating iron rich foods.There are some prenatal supplements that you can take to help increase your iron intake too, and it can also be helpful to pair iron rich foods or iron fortified foods with those that are rich in Vitamin C. Make sure you speak to your health care practitioner before starting any supplements and before making any changes to your diet.
2. Fuel Up
When you are pregnant you need to consume more calories. As a general guideline, you will need about an extra 250-300 calories when you reach the second trimester, and if you are going to continue running, you will need even more. You will need to speak to your health care practitioner about your specific caloric needs for your weight and activity level. However, what I can recommend, is that these extra calories that you will need to consume should be from healthy and nutritious foods. This way they will give you the extra energy you need, but will also provide you and your baby with some of the important vitamins and minerals that you both need.
3. Eat Pre and Post Run
To maintain your energy level during your runs while pregnant it is important to have a pre-exercise snack. My go to pre-running pregnancy foods include a piece of fruit such as an apple or a banana or 1 to 2 pieces of toast with avocado or peanut butter. It is just as important to refuel after your run while pregnant. Post run, you will need to consume carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.
4. Increase your Protein
We know that pregnant women need more protein than women who are not pregnant and we also know that women who exercise need more protein than those who do not exercise. So being pregnant and continuing to run will mean that you will need more protein. During pregnancy it is suggested that protein makes up about 25% of our total calorie intake. A pregnant woman should be consuming about 60 grams of protein a day. This amount will increase when you continue to run while pregnant. You will need to speak to your health care practitioner about your specific increased caloric needs for your weight and activity level.
Make sure you keep hydrated. As we know our bodies work to cool us down during our runs, hence the sweating but while you are pregnant and running, you may notice that you may start to sweat earlier on and sweat a lot more. This means that you are more likely to lose fluids more quickly, increasing your risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your runs, and eat foods that have high water contents. Adding hydrolytes to your water may help avoid dehydration and overheating too.
Article by – Tammy Mond, Nutritionist