- Recreational running is not a risk factor for preterm delivery or small for gestational age.
Why this matters
- Running is popular among reproductive-age women, but little is known about its effects on pregnancy; this study provides some reassuring data to use in counseling.
- Moderate exercise on most days during pregnancy improves gestational weight gain and reduces risks for gestational diabetes and hypertension.
- Recreational running may strengthen pelvic floor muscles, increasing the duration of the second stage of labor.
- No significant differences were found in gestational age at delivery or birth weight between groups.
- The rate of assisted vaginal delivery was higher in women who ran in pregnancy (OR, 1.32; P=.03) compared with those who stopped.
- Participants were recruited from the parkrun organization.
- Internet-based questionnaires were used to collect data on running habits and birth outcomes (n=1293).
- Women were further stratified into the following groups: did not run during pregnancy, stopped running in first trimester or when they discovered they were pregnant, stopped in their second trimester, and ran throughout all trimesters.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- Questionnaires are subject to recall bias.