Good gear makes running easier. GPS watches allow us to track distance and pace with the touch of a button. Running shoes are constantly updating their foam and introducing things like carbon plates to help you run more efficiently. During pregnancy, gear is just as magical; the right running gear for pregnancy makes a significant difference.
Every runner experiences pregnant running differently. I was able to run through my entire pregnancy due to having an easy, low-risk pregnancy. These pieces of running gear for pregnancy helped me run comfortably during all three trimesters.
Bao Bei Speed Bump Band
You would not run without a sports bra. A belly band functions exactly like a sports bra: it provides support and comfort for your pelvis and bump. The support can also reduce risk of diastasis recti, pelvic floor dysfunction, symphysis pubis dysfunction, and round ligament pain.
I started wearing the Bao Bei Speed Bump maternity band around 25 weeks of pregnancy. I started experiencing some minor round ligament pain on runs (I had round ligament pain throughout my entire pregnancy, but not on runs prior to ~24-25 weeks).
The Bao Bei Speed Bump band is a compression-style belly band with mesh paneling – like a sports bra for your baby bump. It’s comfortable, breathable, and stretchable. My bump often “grew” during runs, so I wanted the stretchable fabric rather than a velcro-adjusted band. Thanks to the breathable fabric, I did not feel overheated in summer weather nor did I experience any chafing.
This band made a world of difference for running. My bump felt supported and I did not experience any abdominal or pelvic pressure, even as I ran through my third trimester. You can read my full review here.
Along with a good support band, KT tape alleviated discomfort in the third trimester. I taped directly under my bump for a little extra support both for running and daily life. This reduced round ligament pain and supported the ligaments as relaxin kicked in.
I also used KT tape when random aches would occur. Right around the time my bump popped at ~22 weeks, I experienced some tightness in my calves and feet (problem areas prior to pregnancy). The shift in my center of gravity altered my gait, causing tightness as I adapted. KT tape minimized the tightness.
Ultimate Direction Hydration Vest
Thirst increases with pregnancy. Your blood volume increases, meaning you need more fluids. Most women are also more sensitive to heat and sweat more during pregnancy. You might find that you need fluids more often on runs or on shorter distances than before.
I found myself drinking fluids on hour-long runs, especially once the weather warmed up. I already owned the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta hydration vest, so I brought it more frequently on runs. I wore it on anything longer than 45 minutes when my third trimester coincided with summer heat and humidity.
The vest sits comfortably without chafing. The adjustable straps ensured it fit well, even as my bump grew. Unlike a waist belt, the Ultimate Direction Race Vesta hydration vest was comfortable throughout all three trimesters.
Around 23-24 weeks of pregnancy, my bump really popped and my waistbelt for holding my phone became uncomfortable. I typically wore this waistbelt if my shorts did not have enough pocket space for my phone. Even if I didn’t carry water, I would wear this vest on some runs to hold my phone and dog poop bags.
TriggerPin Vector Roller
Random aches and pains are part of pregnancy. While I truly believe an active pregnancy minimized back pain and pelvic pain, I did deal with random muscle tightness and aches. Around the time that my bump popped, I noticed significant tightness in my calves due to shifting weight. A good foam roller made the difference, especially since recovery is slower during pregnancy. The Vector Roller is contoured to allow you to apply firm and direct pressure to most muscles. I used it to loosen up my muscles before runs and release tight spots after runs.
Perform Better Mini Bands
As you gain weight and your center of gravity shifts, your muscles, bones, and tendons are stressed differently than normal. During the final few weeks, your body releases relaxin, which loosens ligaments in preparation for childbirth. The combination of these two factors can increase your risk of injury, so it is important to strengthen areas such as the hips and glutes.
I diligently completed mobility and activation exercises throughout my entire pregnancy. These exercises included monster band walks, lateral band walks, banded glute bridges, and banded clamshells to strengthen the hips, glutes, and pelvic floor. I used the Perform Better Mini Bands to do these exercises. The mini bands are more comfortable and versatile that tubed resistance bands with handles.
Likewise, my feet (always my problem area) took more of a pounding during pregnancy. I dealt with some minor tendon tightness at random points. To prevent this tightness from worsening into an injury and to keep my plantar fasciitis from flaring, I used these mini bands to perform various flexion exercises for my feet and ankles.
Thanks to the hormones and increased blood volume, you are prone to circulation issues and swelling. I experienced swollen feet, feet falling asleep, and other circulation issues in the second half of pregnancy. Elevating my legs up against the wall and wearing compression socks after longer runs helped alleviate circulation issues and aid in recovery.
(Note: always let your OB know about localized swelling such as ankles or uneven swelling since swelling can be a symptom of conditions such as pre-eclampsia.)
What about maternity running clothes?
I didn’t purchase any specially designed maternity running clothes. I did not show much throughout my pregnancy, so my spandex running shorts stretched to fit through the third trimester. I wore tanks that were a size larger than normal in the final ~15 weeks. Both prior and after pregnancy, I simply knotted the waist of these to wear them.
If you ran while pregnant, what gear helped you?