Running with confidence

Lauren's Story

Meet Lauren, a postnatal trainer and spin instructor who is in her third trimester (with her 2nd!) and uses running, spinning, and teaching HIIT classes to keep in touch with who she is and what's important to her. 

What was the biggest myth told to you about pregnancy exercise, that you know (or now know) isn’t true?   

Being a runner, it would probably have to be the "effects" that running can have on the pregnancy and baby - primarily the idea that running causes miscarriage.

I have been told on numerous occasions that running will cause me to miscarry. I’ve experienced 2 miscarriages myself (remember, as many as 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage and upwards of 1 in 3 pregnancies, including those women aren't aware of, end in miscarriage), and I had people commenting on it of course and asking, “do you think your running and training caused it?”. Her answer: no, she doesn’t think running caused it. I train sensibly and listen to my body – whether I’m pregnant or not – and I ease off as needed while I’m expecting.


What was your exercise routine before becoming pregnant?    

Before my first pregnancy with my son, Jake, I was an avid runner and Triathlete, training 6 days per week, sometimes with 2 sessions per day. The month before I fell pregnant with Jake I was competing for Great Britain in my age group at the European Championships for Duathlon, and once I became pregnant I started and completed my training to become a Level 2 Triathlon coach. I quickly got back into running and competing after giving birth - winning my first Aquathlon when Jake was 3 months old.  Before I fell pregnant with my 2nd (currently 28 weeks!), I could be found running around our town with Jake in the running buggy and my Border Collie, Bear, alongside me. I think I'm known locally as the “crazy running lady”. In addition to my own training, I would typically teach 6 classes per week at the local leisure centre, including Spin, a class called Legs Bums & Tums, and HIIT. I also run my own Buggy Boot camp twice per week with local mums and some of my PT Clients.


What was your exercise routine during pregnancy?

Right now I can still be found running around the town with Bear and Jake, although possibly not as fast as before. I am still teaching 5 classes per week, though if I'm teaching a class I don't usually train myself that day to avoid fatigue. I definitely listen to my body more than before and do not train quite as hard. My programme is definitely more pregnancy-friendly than before, I have included more specific prenatal sessions and exercises, as well as some prenatal yoga and stretching. 


What was the biggest challenge in pursuing physical fitness and exercise during pregnancy?

I think there are lots of challenges that you face during pre and postnatal fitness, and a lot of it comes down to fear, apprehension, and lack of knowledge. During my first pregnancy I was a little worried about what types of exercises were safe and the possible effects it could have on my baby. As my bump is getting bigger this time around, I do feel the stigma around pregnant women training. I'll often get asked, "is that safe?" or "should you really be doing that?". It can make you apprehensive to train in public or in the gym at busy times. 

Of course, there are physical challenges that come and go with each trimester as well. The exhaustion in the 1st trimester makes it difficult to get out and keep active, although my 2nd trimesters have always been more smooth sailing – which is definitely welcomed. The 3rd trimester brings fatigue back and it’s harder to balance too. But those challenges are a bit easier to manage because I listen to my body and train based on how I feel, and it's under my control. If I am very fatigued halfway through a session, I’ll back off or end the session early.

How did you overcome this challenge to Shape Your Pregnancy?

I am now a qualified pre and postnatal trainer and my knowledge on the subject gives me the confidence to train and understand what is safe, and to know how I can train effectively during this pregnancy. In regards to the stigma I mentioned, that unfortunately doesn't go away, but I use positive comments and thoughts as much as possible to help grow my confidence.


What message would you want to share with other expecting and new moms?

Exercise is so good for you and your baby! It helps you keep in touch with who you are, both during and after pregnancy. It’s so true that training and exercise provide physical and psychological benefits, and it definitely gets you ready for labour and makes it easier to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness. More importantly, having a post-birth exercise routine gives you a chance to spend time on yourself and be someone other than "mum" – which is important.


Do you use Baby2Body?

I do use the app! I really enjoy the morning inspirations and follow their social posts to keep me inspired as well, and I’m very happy to be a part of this campaign to help other mums and mums to be.