Perspective on Pregnant Running

Beach fun!

@ 37 weeks w/ baby #2 (2012)

I’m always asked if I notice any difference between my two pregnancies.  Physically, I’d say not at all.  I’m carrying almost the same (weight gain, how I look, the size of the babies)…But it’s hard to compare other aspects because the circumstances are so different – especially when it comes to running.  I was fortunate enough to work from home for most of my first pregnancy.   The last four months were spent at home.  I had the luxury of keeping my feet up, napping, and running when I felt was best for me.  I was able to log some high miles – especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

This pregnancy couldn’t be any more different.  Having an almost 20 month old toddler makes my day not really my own.  Since my chiropractor does not want me to run with the running stroller until after the baby is born (to prevent my PPP from returning), I am limited to run either first thing in the AM or late at night when my husband is home.  I *can* run on the treadmill when my son is napping, but I have been really trying to nap (or at least keep my feet up) when he naps otherwise I’m exhausted by 3 or 4pm.

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    Happy Bump Day (37 weeks)!!


    Today marks the start of my 37th week…one more week until I’m considered full term! The last two weeks have been exponentially better than the 5-6 – partially because I’m able to run again, partially because I feel more prepared for the arrival of #2, and partially because I know how close I am to the end!!

    Energy level: Although I feel great and have a ton more energy than I was expecting, last week was one of the most physically demanding ever.  In case you were wondering – planning a vacation to the beach while you are 36 weeks pregnant is NOT the smartest idea and I would highly recommend not doing it!  It wouldn’t have been nearly as tough if my husband was able to take the whole week off, but a few emergencies popped up last minute and he had to go to work three of the days.  It also wouldn’t have been as tough if my son were not going through a very clingy stage right now that required me to carry him from the condo we were staying in to the beach, and all the way to where we set up our blanket – all while holding a cooler of water and snacks and a beach bag with towels, clothes, and toys.  By the end of each day, I felt like I was barely able to stand up straight.

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      Back to Running!!

      35 weeks

      After going full circle and finally accepting the fact that I wouldn’t be running until after baby #2 is born at the end of September, I have been able to run again without any pain.  Isn’t that weird how that always happens?  It’s like we have to have no expectations before we can really begin to make any progress.

      In my last pregnancy update, I said I was turning my attention to biking.  After going to the gym a few days in a row and having some awesome bike workouts, the pain in my back started to lessen more and more.  I don’t know if it was from biking, stretching more (I was stretching before AND after biking), or just the extra few days of recovery, but after an hour long bike ride at the gym on Thursday, I felt ZERO pain.  With absolutely no expectations, I decided to hop on the treadmill and see how I felt.

      My plan was simple – run at a nice, easy pace and stop at the smallest feeling of pain.   I ran 1 pain-free mile in 9 min.  I really wanted to keep running, but kept telling myself to have patience.  I had run 1.5 miles the week prior – and although I felt okay during the run, I woke up the next morning in pain.  So I stopped at the 1 mile mark.  I stretched, went home, and enjoyed a day with zero pain.

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        I’m Scared to Run

        I’ve been virtually pain-free for almost a whole week.  I say virtually because there are still moments when I overextend myself and feel a small twinge of pain in my lower back/buttocks area due to Posterior Pelvic Pain.

        The last 4+ weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me:

        – During the first week, I just wanted to wake up and not be in pain.  I didn’t think it would be a long-term injury so I figured a few days off from running was probably not the worst thing for my body.

        – By the second week, I was frustrated that the pain was still there – and still SO strong.  I no longer thought about running – I just wanted the pain to go away so I could walk normally and take care of my son.

        – The third week came and I started to see/feel major improvement.  I was limping less and able to do most things again!  My spirits were higher than they had been in a while because I was hopeful that running was just around the corner.

        – The fourth week was a letdown.  Although I felt better, there were still periods of pain and so running was still out of question.  I passed a major milestone:  This was the longest I had EVER gone without a single run (since starting long distance running in 2002).

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          How To Avoid PPP During Pregnancy

          As I’ve discussed in earlier posts, I developed Posterior Pelvic Pain (PPP) at week 29 of my 2nd pregnancy.  One of the first questions I asked my chiropractor and my OB-GYN was what caused PPP?  I had made it through my first pregnancy with no complications, so why was I having issues this time around?

          Was it something specific that I did?  Could it have been avoided?  Was it my fault???

          PPP is pain felt at or near the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) of your pelvis as a result of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.   This dysfunction occurs when the stability of the SIJ is comprised.  During pregnancy, mechanisms stabilizing the SIJ is affected. This instability allows for increased motion, stressing the SIJ.

          1. Hormones (specifically, relaxin) released during pregnancy relax the ligaments of the body to allow the pelvis to enlarge, in preparation for childbirth
          2. Due to the growing uterus, some of the core muscles around the pelvis get ‘stretched’ and weakened. (Source:

          After a detailed discussion with my chiropractor, we came up with a handful of reasons why I developed PPP.  According to him, it probably wasn’t just one thing – it was the combination of all of these things.  My body was already dealing with the stress of pregnancy – piling on another 4-5 new stresses (for me) was too much for my body to handle.

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            Happy Bump Day! (33 weeks)


            It’s been SIX weeks since my last pregnancy update.  Between a few mini-vacations with the family and being a bit mopey and pouty about my lack of running, I haven’t had the heart to do an update. BUT, my back pain is almost totally gone and I’ve come to terms with the prospect of having to wait until post delivery to run again, so my mind and heart are in a better place.

            Today marks the start of my 33rd week.  Part of me still hasn’t fully accepted the fact that I could be holding a newborn in just 5-6 few weeks (I was a week early with my son).

            Running – Not much to update here as I haven’t gone on a single run since July 9th.  I have a chiropractor appointment today and am hopeful that we will be able to begin discussing a tentative timeline to return to running.  The last few days have been glorious – almost no back pain and I’m finally walking without a silly limp.  The hardest thing has been trying to stay positive and prevent the I feel crappy feeling from the lack of any sort of exercise (other than easy walking). Running GIVES me energy and makes me happy (as I’ve discussed in previous posts) so I’ve been trying my hardest to not let my lack of running get me down the last few weeks.

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              Friday Night Cry Session

              I normally don’t complain on here or blog about things that get me down.  I try to stay pretty positive and would consider myself a glass-half full kind of girl.

              But the recent pain in my lower back has made the last two weeks extremely tough:

              • I’m frustrated that the pain is affecting my parenting abilities.  I haven’t really taken my son anyplace lately because of my inability to keep up with him – so no park visits, no walks, no trips to Target or other stores.  He’s a vivacious 18 month old who wants to run around and play and the pain is preventing me from allowing him to do this.   I’ve also been told by the chiropractor to pick up my son as little as possible.  While he definitely prefers to be running around, there are countless times when he wants to be held during the day.  How am I supposed to not hold him or carry him up the stairs at bedtime?  It’s pretty hard to expect him to understand why mommy no longer can pick him up.
              • I haven’t run since Tuesday, July 10th.  Today is Day 11.  This is the longest I have gone in over three years without a single run.  Although I’m still praying to be able to run soon, I am losing hope and am already planning and expecting the worst – that I will not be able to run until after delivery of baby #2.
              • It’s been SO hard to stay connected via social media.  I’m so proud and happy of all the other running mamas out there, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have a tinge of jealousy each time I read a post from some of my favorite running-for-two ladies: Janae, Sarah, or Nicole.  They are all running AMAZING miles still and I ache to be running with them.  It’s also extremely tough to read about everyone training for fall marathons, getting long runs in, and being so enthused about running.  So my reaction is to disconnect and mope (I know – I act like a little kid in this situations).
              • I made a stupid decision.  I began transitioning to minimalist shoes three months ago – so during pregnancy.  Do you ever do something that you know in your gut is not the smartest but you do it anyway?  Well that is what I did a few months ago.  I’ve been wearing the SAME shoes since 2007 – and have had no injuries or issues.  About three months ago, I decided to try out some low heel-to-toe drop shoes.  I slowly transitioned my way into them and have been wearing them for about 2/3 of my runs.  Based on what the chiropractor said today, it likely helped cause the pain that I am dealing with now because the change is too much for my body to adapt to (while it’s dealing with all the other changes going on).  So if I do get the chance to run again during pregnancy, it’ll be back to my Mizuno Wave Alchemys.

              I reached a breaking point last night.  I had just returned from an afternoon with my son at my mom’s.  I needed to get some lab work done for my OB-GYN and had a chiropractor appointment with a second doctor (for a second opinion) and my mom watched my son for the afternoon while I went to both.  My husband was in the city meeting up with some friends for dinner and drinks, so after putting my son to sleep in his crib, I walked into our bedroom, plopped on the bed, and proceeded to ball my eyes out for a good solid 10 minutes.

              There are times when a good cry is the best medicine.  Last night was one of those times.

              But since I do try to stay positive, there is some good news to share.  I went to a new chiropractor yesterday.  He diagnosed me over the phone a few days ago based on what I told him and confirmed his diagnosis yesterday: Posterior Pelvic Pain (aka Sacroiliac Joint Pain).  This is what I initially diagnosed myself as having.  He is a sports chiropractor and RUNS – so he understands my desire need to get out and run.  My Sacroilliac Joint (SI) was misaligned.  He realigned it yesterday as well as massaged out / stopped the muscle spasms that I had.  He wants to see me three times a week for the next few weeks.  I have to ice and do a series of stretches for a good portion of the weekend.  He is hopeful that I will be up and running soon – but has already cautioned me that some women do not get the relief that they hope and have to deal with pain until labor.

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                Posterior Pelvic Pain

                It’s 630am.  My husband and son are enjoying this beautiful scenery and weather as I sit alone in our hotel room.  It’s not where I want to be.  But, unfortunately, I am in a good amount of pain and am  having trouble walking.

                Let me backtrack a moment.  I began feeling some discomfort in my lower back / right buttock area Monday afternoon.  I tried to keep off my feet as much as I could for the rest of the day.  I attributed it to a busy morning with my son which required me to hold him much more than I have been (with clothes and shoes he is about 30 pounds).

                I woke up Tuesday and felt good so decided to go for a run.  The pain re-emerged within minutes of beginning the run but I was hard-headed and convinced myself that it was probably normal pregnancy aches and pains and so I kept running.  Sometime around 10 minutes in, the pain had dulled and I ended up running a slow 7.5 miles.  I felt *okay* the whole run – not great but not terrible either.  The instant I stopped running, the pain returned – but was a HUNDRED times worse.

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