Running heart rate while pregnant


My friend has recently found out she is pregnant and when she went to her GP she asked about continuing her running, he said that she could carry on as normal until she is 24 weeks. When I was pregnant I kept my heart rate to 140 (although at times it was more like power walking to keep it that low). I remember reading somewhere on this forum that someone had not been advised to keep their heart rate at 140 and now have a very high resting heart rate and can't exercise at all.

I also read on another running site that you should keep your heart below 140 and not exercise for more than 40 minutes at a time.

Now while I am not doubting my fiend's GP, I don't think he has given her the correct advise. I know there are some Dr's/personal trainers out there - what do you advise. I am also interested with a view to the next time I am pregnant. As I said I ran to my heart rate monitor, although I used to find it increasingly frustrating that I usually ended up just walking fast, but I would rather do this than harm the baby.


  • this is toni (despite it being in Kens name cant get it to switch screen name)

    Dont know much about heart rates but i have run through 3 pregnancies and the best advise i can give (and that of my doctor) is do as much as you feel able and well enough to do.

    I ran to 32 weeks with my last one and they are all alive and kicking so i must have done something right but i never used a HR monitor at all.
  • Thanks Toni - how long did you carry on running for and for how long on average?
  • hi Cotty, the few ladies i have had running with my group who have become pregnant have all given up the running when they started to become too hot/ tired/ feel sick which was usually fairly early on.
    From my training course at a PT, i was told virtually the same as Toni has said - and i have seen Toni's healthy brood around, so her advice is sound!
    Basically - run as you feel, keep hydrated and don't push too much. if you need to rest, then rest and remember to wear lots of layers as you will heat up quickly.
  • I did some internet searches on running in pregancy last week, and was very surprised by how little information is out there, and some of that's contradictory.

    I guess the usual view is that it's OK if you feel fine, keep HR low, keep well hydrated and avoid over-heating. Sprints, hills etc are definitely out, even in the first weeks.

    But, I would be very grateful if anyone has any personal experiences or advice they can share or can point me to any good sources.
  • toni here again - i know its in Kens name but for some reason we have a glich!!

    with the first one i managed up to 5 months running but as i got enormous must admit it was a pain (in more ways than one) as there wasnt the gear around to make it comfy to run to far - that being said i organised a race 2 weeks before he was due and i ran all over the place. Chrissie i ran up till 8 months and actually ran a relay leg when i was 6 and a half months pregnant. With littlest one i managed to 7 months the secret is take it nice and easy and as long as you feel comfortable then go for it. The one pieceof research i did take notice of was not to get overheated.

    If you read AW if you study the results you will see Niki Nealon from Huncote is running and winning races and she is expecting her 2nd baby this year.
  • I jogged (on slate paths and grass mountain tracks) right up til the week before MiniSS was born - (2 weeks late). She was 7lbs 7 3/4 ozs. Pregnancy was a huge non-event for me - no side-effects at all apart from nearly 3 stone weight gain.

    I've always had very low blood pressure - pregnancy made it temporarily normal - and always a very fast heart rate - especially when exercising. I didn't have a HRM at the time I was pregnant (nearly 10 years ago when I was 30) - but well, based on what I know my resting HR was then (88) and now (54-59); what I get up to now when I run (195-200) and what I got up to a few years ago (221!!!) I certainly exceeeded 140 bpm by a long way and as far as I can tell it hasn't adversely affected me at all.

    I wouldn't do it again though - and wish now that I hadn't. Who knows what possible adverse affect there can be on the baby's brain with all that impact transmitting itself through the various fluids etc. I didn't know about the dangers of shaking a baby then - and there have been cases where brain damage has been suspected when young babies have been taken for a 'jog' in the back pack on their mum's / dad's back. Yes, I know pregnant women have had to run in lots of civilisations - especially eg in America with the brutal treatment of the Native Americans - but we have the choice - and if I'd known about non-impact exercise in a gym I think I'd've done that instead - plus lots of walks. (I hate swimming!)

    There's also the question that a 'normal' baby may be able to cope with mum exercising to a higher HR - but who knows until the baby's born (or indeed much much later) whether or not there is any small problem which could have been made worse?

    Wish your friend all the very best regardless - her baby's lucky to have a mum who keeps herself fit!
  • Thanks for all your views it is most appreciated. Does anyone have any views on training on the treadmill while pregnant? At the moment I can't get out that often and if I use the treadmill I try to do an interval session where I am covering 5 miles in 44 min, you really feel like you have worked afterwards!! Anyway, what I was wondering is if you were pregnant would you have to stop this kind of quite hard workout and stop doing hill/speed sessions on the treadmill? I don't think I would have any problems outside as if I avoided hills I would probably not feel as if I were overdoing it. But as I say these sessions on the treadmill I work quite hard to make up for not getting outside? When I was pregnant I ran up until I was about 5 months but it was more of a power walk and I stopped because it was uncomfortable. However, I swam 5 times a week and used a stepper most days too. But the thing is I run more now than when I was pregnant before and want to weigh up my options?!? as obiously I would not want to have to sit on the sofa and eat choccies. I have passed the advise received so far on to my friend and she is just going to go with the flow! Any furtehr advise/views would be greatly appreciated as there seems to be as Skip said some condradictory reports.
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