How Pregnancy and Motherhood Affected My Running Routine

how pregnancy and motherhood affected running routine



Today let’s talk a little bit about how pregnancy and motherhood affected my running routine.

Even if you don’t have kids or are past this point in your life, it’s worth reading along anyway.

I didn’t run while I was pregnant.

As you know from last week’s post, running did not become my fitness first love or priority until a few years ago.

I did however go to the gym five days a week for years and then attempted to keep up that fitness routine while I was pregnant.

They say you can maintain your activity level while pregnant as your body is already used to your fitness routine so long as you go by how you feel and make adjustments as your baby continues to grow in your belly.

Once I found out I was pregnant, I quickly stopped doing sit ups.  I stuck to thirty minutes on the elliptical machine or treadmill as my main form of exercise.

One morning at the gym before work (maybe I was eight weeks along?) the smell inside the locker room nearly killed me. Pregnancy hormones will do this to you.

I got myself out of that gym as fast as possible in order to take a shower at home. I was late for work (I am never late!)  but staying alive was more important than being on time that day. The stop at the bagel store for an egg sandwich was pretty important too.

I didn’t step foot inside a gym again for a good three years.

I always thought I would maintain my fitness routine while pregnant but my body told me otherwise.

I had a fairly easy pregnancy (aside from a bout with bed rest at 28 weeks) but I was nauseous a whole bunch in the beginning. I was exhausted by the end of the work day and as my belly got bigger, my back hurt too. Trying to function just to complete daily tasks was not easy.

When I felt well, which was really most of the time, I kept up my usual morning exercise routine by going for a walk before work. I also went for daily walks during my lunch break. Those lunch break walks often included a stop at TCBY for a shake on the walk back to work but hey, I was pregnant and hungry.

I still don’t know what I weighed or gained during my pregnancy since I never looked at the scale but I absolutely enjoyed myself. From what I now understand,  I gained at least the recommended 35 pounds (I asked the doctor afterwards if I met that amount) which all came off within the first year and then some.

My father only wanted to get me a treadmill right before my son was born so that I would be able to get back into my fitness routine without leaving the house.

But I didn’t want it.

I didn’t want a treadmill in my house because I didn’t need it staring at me each day as a reminder that I couldn’t find thirty minutes to walk or run on it.

I knew that having a treadmill in my house would make me feel guilty for collapsing into my bed at night, for choosing to shower for more than twenty seconds when I could or sitting down to eat when possible rather than use that time to squeeze in a treadmill run.

Some people can use their exercise equipment as a clothing rack but I knew that I couldn’t.

I would have viewed that treadmill as a responsibility and when you have a baby, the last thing you need is another responsibility.

Taking care of an infant is grueling. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

The first six weeks after pregnancy you aren’t even allowed to exercise because your body needs to recover. Your hormones need to stabilize, wounds need to heal and all that recovery requires some rest too. I never got around to that rest part.

My form of exercise was to simply survive taking care of a baby.

Just carrying that car seat, taking the stroller in and out of the car multiple times a day and getting through a 24 hour period was a daily marathon.

At the six-week mark, I did try to return to a fitness routine at home where I did sit ups and free weights but honestly, I was petrified about the lactic acid getting into my milk which was known to make a nursing baby fussy.

Trust me, I didn’t need another variable thrown into the mix as to why my baby was crying, screaming, fussing and up all night long.

Aside from driving, nursing was the only time I was able to sit down. Luckily, those rest moments were actually burning calories and tightening my stomach muscles. You know, you burn on average 500 calories a day just from nursing.

I didn’t belong to the gym anymore or schedule daily workout sessions but I sure did a lot of walking. We were always somewhere, always on a walk in the neighborhood or through a mall.

jeep stroller

I did have a jogging stroller but I think I bought it for the entertaining steering wheel thing rather than for its ability to help me run.

I honestly thought that the friendly dashboard would keep the kid humored and quiet <—new mother who knew nothing.

Nowadays they have fitness programs for moms called Stroller Strides.

I totally recommend this program and would have signed up for those sessions but really, I did those strides on my own everyday.

Key point here: You do not need to pay to attend a structured stroller fitness group to get moving.

Simply strapping your baby in safely and heading outside for a walk (or run) or even just walking the malls endlessly like I did is all you need.

Setting out for thirty minutes a day of stroller walking is enough to get the endorphins flowing, blood pumping, muscles working and hopefully, a baby sleeping.

Stroller walking is exercise. If you can run with the stroller, even better.

I learned rather quickly that the journey of motherhood means your life isn’t all that your own anymore.

sharing ice cream

You even have to share your ice cream.

I was a stay-at-home mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world but it wasn’t easy.

My husband worked beyond full-time so it was all on me, especially as a nursing mother. Let’s not get into my son not taking a bottle.

Those infant and toddler stages, the moments where your children need you every second are so short-lived and part of me knew that.

I chose to use the short breaks of time that I had to myself to get my nails done or go food shopping alone rather than head to a gym or out for a run.

I always figured that once I sent my son to preschool, I would rejoin the gym and have some regularly scheduled time to devote to my fitness routine again.

I also knew that I had to balance that return to the gym with knowing there would be days I couldn’t get there.

Days on end where my son would be sick which would keep us homebound.

Days where it would snow and driving us both to the gym just so I could take a kick boxing class or use the elliptical machine was not worth it.

Days where he would be off from school and sending him to the gym babysitting room wouldn’t fit into our schedule.

halloween party

I may not have been as fit as I am now but I was able to carry a baby in one hand, groceries in the other and somehow unlock the front door.

I could change a messy diaper on the fly and had the strength to somehow get my son who refused to bend when it was time to get into a stroller all buckled in.

I could give him a bath and wash his hair all while he insisted on standing yet unable to stand on his own which meant I had to hold him steady.

If you want to know the truth, the strength I had back then far surpasses my running endurance now.

I swear I don’t know how I did it all, all day long and then into the night to only start over again in the morning.

I would like to have another baby one day. I don’t know that I will but I do often think about it and wonder how I would handle things this time.

Running is my thing. I look forward to it each day (well, not every day since one needs a break but I hate those breaks because then I miss my run) but if I were pregnant, would I be able to keep it up this time?

Would I jump out the door six weeks post-partum?

Would my stroller walks be more like stroller runs?

I really don’t know.

I read many a blog about pregnant runners and mothers of young children running pretty regularly and even running races.

I have a feeling that if I were a new mom, reading those blogs would make me feel guilty for all of those days where the last thing I thought about was being able to run.


I found this picture in a photo album last night – I clearly wore my running shoes but the only running they saw was through Chuck E. Cheese.

I don’t think I would trade any of those runs through Chuck E Cheese for the world.


Did you keep up your fitness routine while pregnant?

Nursing moms- has exercised affected your milk supply?

Anyone ever try Stroller Strides?

Do blogs ever make you feel guilty or feel as though you need to run/workout more than you already are?








Author: The Cookie ChRUNicles

Hi! I'm Meredith. Join me while I run and cook my way through single motherhood. It is always an adventure trying to teach my 12 year old son the benefits of an active lifestyle combined with healthy eating while of course, still leaving room for dessert.

15 thoughts on “How Pregnancy and Motherhood Affected My Running Routine”

  1. Okay. This is actually one of my biggest fear. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, is having a baby worth putting my running aside – losing progress, PBs, and abs. I’m still 20 and selfish so in my mind, the answer is no, I don’t want to retire my running shoes but clearly your running shoes aren’t retired and you’re still running. You and other mommy/runner blogs give me hope that I day, I can juggle all of it haha. (PS, I can barely juggle my dog and groceries so you need to teach me your ways! Haha)

    1. One day in the next bunch of years you will find that having a baby is worth putting some things aside. But not yet. You will know when it is time. I was the most selfish person alive (only child syndrome lol) but once I was pregnant, my son was my main concern. I think there is certainly a way to balance it all but everyone is different and finds that balance on their own schedule. My body snapped back to normal, in fact, I ended up thinner than when I started which is really what worries people the most.

  2. I’m at that point in life where kids are definitely in the near future. Sometimes blogs give me inspiration (like, I CAB still be myself with children). Sometimes they just seem overwhelming. I avoid reading anything about babies on Pinterest for this reason.

    I appreciate the honesty in this post! <- For the record, I think that exclamation point was warranted.

    1. I totally hear what you are saying about finding things overwhelming and therefore avoiding altogether. I do the same thing. I don’t know how I would handle blog reading as a new mom. When my son was little, blogs weren’t popular and really, I hadn’t the time to get on a computer. Phones weren’t smart phones (amazing what has taken place in the last ten years) so my internet access was limited. Some people can certainly bounce right back to an exercise routine but I think it is important to realize that you don’t have to so quickly. I lost all of my pregnancy weight, my stomach snapped back to normal and I did pick up my fitness routine to an even higher level than before but it took some time. I was focused more on my son than working out at first. Which I think is a good thing looking back.

  3. Am I an over-punctuator? I’m just easily excitable! Also, you should also thank me for resisting the urge to text you a “!!!?!?!!??!!!” message 😛

    Obviously I have no advice to offer about the pregnancy and running thing… having never been pregnant nor a runner. BUT!… I can definitely speak to feeling guilty about exercise/food after reading certain blogs. It’s not really an issue anymore since I’ve been through hell with an ED, learned what works for me, and have no desire to go back to that kind of misery, but before that? Ugh… some people were pretty darn triggering. Now I just kind of feel bad for them 😕

  4. Just found your blog and wanted to say thank you for this post. I was also not able to run through my pregnancy and felt really badly and kind of lazy because it seemed like I was always readinf about women that didn’t have any challenge in keeping up their fitness. Now that I’m post-baby, that has presented it’s own set of obstacles and I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to get my mileage back up. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

    1. Take your time. It is just not that simple jumping back into the old routine, especially when your new routine involves a baby. Running and a true workout were the furthest thing from my mind in the beginning and really for a good few years. Each day was really a workout in itself. Make use of the stroller. That alone involves strength training and cardio.

  5. First let me say I was shaking my head the whole time reading this. 6 weeks after baby.. rest? HA! There’s no such thing. After my first I did NOTHING in terms of the fitness area. I was too wrapped up in my baby. After the second… who the heck has time! But then I started getting super depressed and lonely staying home every single day and like you said, husband working over 40 hours a week. I completely lost myself. I realized I did NOTHING that I used to enjoy doing. That’s when I signed up for a gym (bc I got it free for working there part time) it was a life saver. Just an hour a day getting out was the best thing for me. I’ve also really liked the jogging stroller for a SHORT time. I’ve posted many runs gone wrong on my blog! One thing I learned with kids though, is even though I loved running for me, I couldn’t take it too seriously. There will always be times your kids “get in the way” of runs and that’s okay. It’s a struggle for sure but I think it you LIKE doing something you can find time with kids. but if it’s something you feel pressured to do…. hang up the shoes for a bit.

    1. My thoughts exactly – running/ working out couldn’t be taken all that seriously because something with the kids would always pop up. Half of the walks I set out for with my son in the stroller left me walking back holding him and pushing an empty stroller.

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