Mother-of-one Sophie Kendall, 30, who is 16 weeks pregnant, writes about running and pregnancy.

Pregnancy and exercise can attract different opinions – sometimes good and sometimes bad.
As a keen amateur runner I was eager to carry on running for as long as I could when I became pregnant with my son Alex in 2015.
I even had grand plans to carry on running my local Catton parkrun in Norwich and running with work colleagues up to my due date!
That did not happen – but I managed running parkrun for 20 weeks until I felt uncomfortable.
I then took up more gentle forms of exercise, including swimming and walking.

I would always recommend people get medical/expert advice on exercise during pregnancy and it is not advised to take up a new sport/activity during pregnancy.

 

Now I am pregnant again with my second child – I am due this September.

I thought I would be able to do what I did the first time round when it comes to running and pregnancy and take part in parkruns for around the first 20 weeks.
Unfortunately that has not been the case second timed round.
General sickness and tiredness in the first three months, which I did not get while pregnant with Alex, has prevented me from doing as much running as I would like.
I was lucky to be able to get out once a week for a 5K run at times.

More energy

But now I’m out of the dreaded first trimester and feeling better with more energy, I can now get out on gentle routes of 5K or less.
I have been able to do some Catton parkruns (I’m hoping to reach my landmark 50th run before I have the baby) and am enjoying my weekly sessions with Mile X Mums Run in Norwich.
Who knows, I might be able to make it beyond 20 weeks this time.

The most valuable lesson I have learnt about running and pregnancy from both pregnancies is to listen to my body.

If I feel tired, achy and weak I won’t go for a run.
But if I have some energy I will pull on my trainers and enjoy a gentle jog.
It is important to know your limits though.
I cannot do more than 5K and I don’t worry about personal bests.

Taking my time

In a way it is quite nice taking my time, enjoying my surroundings, and not worrying about doing a long distance or getting out a certain number of times a week.
I know that I will be frustrated at times when I see my husband and friends taking part in races this year that I would have normally taken part in.
But I know that I want to get back into running after I have given birth – only when it feels right though.
It is nice to have targets to aim for in terms of races – I already know which 10K and half marathons I am interested in taking part in.
More importantly, from experience, running was a key thing that made me feel positive during the stressful periods of having a newborn and it helped me keep sense of identity. I wasn’t just a mother.

I would like to add that I’m not a medical or health expert, but evidence has proved that keeping active during pregnancy can help during childbirth and recovery.
Yes, do what you can, but always listen to your body and only do what you are comfortable doing.
Don’t feel guilty about putting your feet up and enjoying a piece of cake!

Read more about running when pregnant in this article from Norwich-based Babycentre.co.uk