Monday, July 7, 2014

Running at 39 Weeks

Some honesty: I'd hoped I would have delivered this baby by now.

I think most women hope that, especially by this point. And especially in the summer. You're large, uncomfortable, sweating like crazy, constantly hungry, and plagued with heartburn. You're tired of wearing maternity clothes, and probably down to fewer outfits. And since babies are considered full-term by this point, you'd love it if the baby would go ahead and get here.

But since I'm still pregnant, I'm making the most of it. For me, that means continuing to run and go for long walks in the desert with my husband and the dogs--walks we won't be able to take when the baby arrives because mesquite thorns would instantly puncture the tires of our jogging stroller. And it also means spending a good amount of time on the couch with my feet propped up, making excellent progress on my reading list.

The belly just keeps growing.

Running at this point is slow, so very slow. But I almost (almost!) don't mind, because it feels like such an accomplishment. I didn't think I would still be running at this point. Or, at least, I was afraid to hope I would.

The maternity support belt is still my best friend, and I'm glad I bought the medium instead of the small, because it almost doesn't fit anymore, though I haven't really gained any extra weight. Round ligament pain is something I'm still dealing with, but (during the run, at least) it goes away after the first few minutes. It reappears later in the day, however, especially if I don't cool down properly or I forget to stretch afterward.

Tips for running late in the third trimester:

  • Take your phone. For your own peace of mind, and for that of your loved ones. Especially if any of them are skeptical about your running.
  • Be flexible. Some runs are going to be great. Some are going to be uncomfortable. And some are going to come with pain that means you should stop. So stop. Walk. Try again. If it hasn't improved, be content with walking that day, or spend some time on a stationary bike.
  • Stay close to home. You never know when you'll have to interrupt a run or cut it short due to discomfort or the urgent need for a restroom.
  • Be terrain-aware. Even if you're used to running on rugged trails, you might want to stick to the pavement at this point, or at least be very careful of your footing. I didn't believe all the warnings about how your balance changes until I felt it happen to me. Go slowly and watch your step.
  • Be proud of yourself! Running this late in the pregnancy game (or getting any kind of exercise) is an achievement, and one that you'll thank yourself for after the baby arrives and it's time to build up your fitness again.

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