Running in the first trimester

I’m really happy to be leaving the first trimester behind me. It was not exactly the first trimester I was hoping for- I didn’t plan on getting pregnant right off an injury and cross training for 8+ weeks.  In my first pregnancy, a short run would ease the nausea and give me a burst of energy and I didn’t get quite the same effects from a walk  or a bike ride.  But I’m coming out on the other side.

This week I started to have a little more energy in the afternoon.  Rather than crashing on the couch, I actually made it outside for a few walks and even got my husband out for a run with the stroller last night before dinner.

Family run and bike

And I can also tell that my energy for running is starting to pick up again.  The first trimester is an interesting time.

Some of the general guidelines for the first trimester, regardless of the exercise, are:

  1. It’s safe to continue what you were doing before pregnancy, but don’t pick up the intensity
  2. Be careful not to become overheated-– (Quick story:The cardio room in our gym is fairly warm (unless it’s just the pregnancy) but I was biking one day and felt myself getting warmer and warmer and really nauseous, and I suddenly knew I was going to throw up and had to find a trash can or toilet NOW! I sprinted to the bathroom and just made it in time… ugh, not a fun memory.  And thankfully, the only time I threw up the entire first trimester.)
  3. Emphasize more gentle exercises, like walking, pilates, swimming, yoga but jogging is safe as well
  4. Fuel well for exercise and stay hydrated
  5. Listen to your body– Every pregnancy is different, and sometimes the nausea and fatigue in the beginning can be overwhelming.  It usually helps to get some fresh air and a little exercise, but sometimes you have to lay on the couch and sleep!

I feel pretty “normal” when I’m exercising, but one of the things I’ve noticed in both of my preganancies when I run in the first trimester is how my breathing changes..  I can get a good, deep belly breath when I’m sitting still, but not when I’m running.  Suddenly, I’m only taking shallow breaths and work a lot harder to even out my breathing.  On some runs, I feel like I have to stop and take walk breaks to catch my breath.  Has anyone else experienced this?

I’m re-learning how to listen to my body as well.  There are some days where I run and feel amazing and am almost hitting pre-pregnancy paces.

First trimester running

There are other days where I’m crawling along and need a walk break every few minutes.  If I know my energy is low, I often plan a stroller run so I have the excuse to walk/run and go as slowly as I need to!

First trimester stroller jogs

I think I’m adjusting to the unpredictability of it all. This has been my best running week so far… I’m now aiming to run about every other day for 4-6 miles, and each time it’s starting to feel more normal. But I’m just happy to be out there again! (And to have some milder temperatures to bring back my motivation).

Did you struggle with breathing in the first trimester?

Do you run outside more often on the milder winter days?


49 thoughts on “Running in the first trimester

  1. I remember those weird waves of nausea that I got from exercising inside while pregnant. There was one time I got so dizzy that all I could think of was “I don’t want to be the pregnant woman who passes out in the weight room and they call an ambulance!” Glad you are back to running more. I’m making my way but the nice weather is very, very tempting!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..High Five FridayMy Profile

  2. I didn’t really exercise, other than walking, when I was pregnant and never had trouble breathing.
    Nausea….now THAT I had. All day. All night. It was magical.
    I’m looking forward to following your pregnancy/exercise journey, Laura! 🙂
    Jamie @ Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat. recently posted..Friday FavesMy Profile

  3. Great tips for continuing exercise during pregnancy. I ran through both of my pregnancies, although running definitely turned into ‘wogging’ in the third trimester! I was so exhausted during my first trimester that I quickly dialed back my overall mileage. I was happy when I started to regain energy and loved the golden second trimester!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..From the Mouths of BabesMy Profile

  4. I’m glad you are starting to feel better! Pregnancy does interesting things to your body, for sure. I did have shortness of breath a little during the first trimester and it never really made sense to me. Especially because it didn’t happen all the time.
    Angie @ A Mother’s Pace recently posted..The Rumor Is TrueMy Profile

  5. I wasn’t a runner when I was pregnant but I did go exercise at the gym 3 days a week. It made me feel so much better. So happy for you and glad you are starting to feel normal again.
    Nicole@RunningWhileMommy recently posted..PanicMy Profile

  6. Very glad to hear that you are coming out stronger. Everything is a learning experience right? I find this very interesting actually. While I am not at this stage of my life, it is never to early to be prepared 🙂 have a great weekend Laura… I will be FINALLY linking up on Sunday!
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee recently posted..Workout Clothes {Guest Post}My Profile

  7. I am 20 weeks now and loving the second trimester too!!! During the first I had good days and bad days, I got pregnant I was training for another bq but at 8 weeks my goal marathon pace was shot I couldn’t endure the marathon at that hard pace. So I learned to relax and enjoy running. I agree it’s unpredictable some days I ran a lot and others I didn’t but I will say with my first pregnancy I had tons of stomach upset and threw up daily, I was not exercising and over weight. But with this one I never threw up and was not as nauseas so I do believe exercise really improves those symptoms.
    Welcome to the golden months 😉 they are lovely!!!!
    Colleen recently posted..Keep GoingMy Profile

  8. Unpredictability–I think that’s really the best way to describe exercising while pregnant. Ups and downs but staying in tune with your body is where it’s at, and you’ve got that covered!

    On the overheating issue–I’ll never forget Boston 2012, the really hot year. There was a girl there at the start who was apparently in her first trimester and people were cheering her on for the fact that she was getting ready to run a marathon–in that heat! I was appalled. I try to keep my mouth shut, but I had to speak up just a tad and tell her to be careful. Crazy!
    misszippy recently posted..If I were to do a triathlon this year…My Profile

  9. I always love to see women continue to exercise (when it’s safe of course). My sister wasn’t able to with first pregnancy, but was with 2nd and it was such a difference in her mood and energy levels. Glad you’re able to get back out there.

  10. Running was one of the few things that helped with my nausea in the first trimester. I actually had the opposite breathing issue – if I was sitting down, I would often feel short of breath and like I couldn’t expand my lungs fully, but when I was working out or running, I felt like I could breathe properly. Probably he was just resting on my diaphragm when I was resting, who knows? Love this pregnancy advice!! So excited and thrilled for you! 🙂
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted..Fit Mama Friday – Meet AlayaMy Profile

  11. Thank you for posting this! WHen I ran during my first pregnancy, everyone was shocked, but when you’re a runner, You’re a runner no matter what: Pregnant or Not. 🙂

    I host a Fitness link up on Fridays if you are interested: Fitness Friday

  12. As soon as you mentioned how hot it gets in the gym, I immediately remembered back to when I was pregnant and how nauseous I would feel in the gym! It was so hot and then the smell would get to me. The combination made me so nauseous that I remember leaving to go home to shower vs. using the locker room as I always did. In fact, I think I stopped going to the gym for the rest of the pregnancy after that super nauseous smelly day and chose in-house workouts and walks outside every day instead. I didn’t run back then as I do now but I did workout daily – I totally needed to modify my routine though rather quickly into the pregnancy, that I remember.
    meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted..Panera Bread For Lunch And Friday Links Of InterestMy Profile

  13. I think I only got dizzy once when exercising in the first trimester, but it was certainly a wake-up call to keep watching that HR! 🙂 Keep up the great work, Mama!
    Tiff recently posted..Happiness Is…My Profile

  14. When I was pregnant I got bonk-y even on a short run. I found I had to run with a GU for a 5-6 mile run. It helped a lot! Good luck!

  15. great tips for other pregnant runners. Congrats again on your pregnancy! I definitely run more when we have breaks in the cold weather. Next week is supposed be bad so I hope to run both days this weekend.
    Jennifer recently posted..tops for 2013My Profile

  16. I’m so glad that you are starting to feel better. I don’t think that I did much at the beginning of either of my pregnancies. I was so incredibly tired!! And yes, I do remember my breathing being off too. Here’s to the second trimester!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-UpMy Profile

  17. Once again, these posts are so interesting! Me and the husband-to-be (7 months to go!) are nowhere near kids right now, but it’s really interesting to hear the take of an active mom on running and listening to your body. Very cool!
    Cheri @ Overactive Blogger recently posted..On weight loss.My Profile

  18. Yes, DEFINITELY had a hard time breathing while running in my first trimester! Fortunately, the second trimester was easier for that, but third? Forget it. I’ve never been anywhere near your pace or mileage, but I think the second trimester was easiest for running for me.
    Betsy recently posted..30 week meltdownMy Profile

  19. This is so exciting! I can remember really having to tune into my body and it’s actually kind of cool. I remember thinking my 8:30 paces were “slow” until I got to 9:30 and was so fatigued!! I can’t wait to hear more on how you progress though this.
    Allie recently posted..Now Available On PinterestMy Profile

  20. So glad that you are starting to get your energy back again. Those first couple of months are rough!!! I did run through both pregnancies (the first one my DR made me stop because Chris kept telling him I was running too hard!). The 2nd pregnancy I actually did transition to the elliptical during the last part just because running was uncomfortable.
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  21. I’m glad you are starting to feel back to normal.From what I can remember, the second trimester was always the best. You leave the funky hormonal blitz of the first behind you and you are still not as big as your third when you start to get uncomfortable again. It’s a nice in between phase. I remember doing water aerobics and going to the gym with my first but I can’t remember my breathing.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted..Word Of The Year Part 2 – BalanceMy Profile

  22. Great job on staying active and listening to your body! First trimester running is HARD. I hope it only gets more comfortable for you in the second tri!
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  23. Oh wow first I applaud you for getting out there your first trimester. All I wanted to do for both pregnancies was SLEEP SLEEP and SLEEP some more! I was not up for it. I checked your 5-mile pace – AWESOME pace. I am not able to keep it going at that pace for that distance yet but I am working on it.

    I am inspired to hear you are keeping it going during pregnancy! I am sure that will help so many other women who learn they are pregnant but want to keep their fitness going! Checking you out from Fitness Friday Link Up.
    Diatta recently posted..Misty Copeland Breaking Ground – Ballerina AthleteMy Profile

  24. Pingback: 13 weeks pregnant update |

  25. What a great blog I’ve just discovered. Can I add that in the first trimester your boobs will hurt and they need to be well supported. There’s nothing worse than running with your arms crossed to stop them hurting. Cake Lingerie has a maternity sports bra specially designed for pregnant and breast feeding mums called “Orange Zest” with extra support where it’s needed.
    Also, if you’re out of breath in for 2 counts and then out for 1 to get your lungs full – well, it helped me.

  26. I am in the first trimester and DEFINITELY have trouble breathing during my runs. I also tire much faster and need to walk. I’m so thankful to have found your blog, I didnt realize this was typical. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Hi, I know you are long past your first trimester by now, but I was following you on your pregnancy journey. I am a runner and now 11 weeks pregnant with my first and I can hardly run at all. I feel like I have a different body and it has turned into something I do not even enjoy, it’s like I’m in quick sand! I saw that you wrote the 2nd trimester is much easier when it comes to running. I’m just so fearful of losing so much fitness and Ive been even too tired for cross training. Thanks for your blog, it’s very helpful and interesting!

    • Hey Sara! Congrats on your pregnancy!! Yes, I definitely felt that way in the first trimester… it does get easier! As your energy comes back you’ll have more motivation to keep up the cross training, too. Keep me posted if you have any questions, happy to help if I can!
      Laura recently posted..Fresh Fix Results, Workouts and Meal PlanningMy Profile

  28. I know I’m way late to this commenting party but am 7 weeks along and one of my first symptoms was feeling completely winded on a totally normal run. My sis remembered reading that it has to do with your body’s increased ability to process oxygen so you’re actually just perceiving yourself to be breathless while in fact you’re processing oxygen much more efficiently. So that’s good news!

    I look forward to continuing to read your blog and keep up running while cooking baby no. 1! Thanks for your posts!

  29. I was so happy to read some of these comments. With my first pregnancy (over 8 years ago) I gave up pretty much all exercise but this time I want to keep running and playing soccer as long as I can.
    Trouble is when ever I seem to hit the pavement I realise that I suddenly cant breathe, get a stitch straight away, my boobs are so sore and sensitive and my old “good” pace has now become a turtle speed.
    Oh well for now Ill just keep trying – lol

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