Six Best Pieces of Gear for Running While Pregnant, According to a Run Coach

Looking for recommendations for maternity running clothes and gear? Read the full article!

During pregnancy, gear is just as magical; the right running gear for pregnancy makes a significant difference. Whether you run for just a few weeks or your entire pregnancy, having gear that supports your changing body makes running so much more pleasant. These pieces of running gear and maternity running clothes helped me run comfortably during all three trimesters.

This article was originally published in 2019, when I was pregnant with my only child. This article contains affiliate links, but all items were ones I used without any association with or compensation from the brand.

Can You run While Pregnant?

You should always consult your OB/GYN or midwife for your unique situation. Unless medically indicated otherwise, running is safe during pregnancy. As long as you are comfortable, you can run with simple medications (often keeping runs shorter and easier). For a detailed approach on how to run while pregnant, you can listen to this episode of the Tread Lightly podcast.

Six Best Pieces of Maternity Running Clothes and Gear

1. Bao Bei Speed Bump Band

Out of all the maternity running clothes on the market, the most essential piece is a belly band for running. A belly band functions exactly like a sports bra: it provides support and comfort for your pelvis and bump. The support can also reduce the 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 Pro 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 belly band for running made a world of difference. 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.

2. Kinesiology Tape

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. 

3. Hydration Vest

Thirst increases with pregnancy, and 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 shorter distances than before.

I found myself drinking fluids on hour-long runs, especially once the weather warmed up. I already owned a 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. 

You want a hydration vest that can be adjusted for your changing body. During my pregnancy, I used an Ultimate Hydration Hydration Vest. You can read reviews of more hydration packs here.

Running Gear for Pregnancy

Some maternity running clothes do not have enough pockets – and a hydration vest solves this problem. Even if I didn’t carry water, I would wear this vest on some runs to hold my phone and dog poop bags. 

4. Foam 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.

While not an item of maternity running clothes, a foam roller is a helpful tool. 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.

5. 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.  

6. Compression Socks/Sleeves

When picking maternity running clothes, the socks you choose are important! 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.)

Do you need 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. For pregnancy running shorts, I wore older, stretchier shorts.

However, we only have one child, so I did not want to buy maternity running clothes for just a few months. If you are planning on having multiple kids, or you find you want more comfortable maternity running clothes, brands such as Senita and Nike do provide maternity options.

In retrospect, I do wish that I had purchased new and larger sports bras! Recent research demonstrates that too tight of a sports bra can impair breathing mechanics and actually make you work harder while running. When you are pregnant, you are already working hard enough to run! Larger sports bras can also be used during the postpartum phase.

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