Healthy Habits

Running Pregnant: Sports Supplements during pregnancy and Breastfeeding.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, midwife or nurse. The information expressed in the series “Running Pregnant – By” should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before running during pregnancy and postpartum.

So, since my first pregnancy I’ve been receiving allot of questions on what sports supplements I take to help me during my training when pregnant and when breastfeeding. And to be honest this was n bit of a question that I also had, so when I got pregnant again, I thought this is the time to do some proper research on the subject!

While I was pregnant and breastfeeding in my first pregnancy I continued running and taking part in races, but generally my usual sports supplement intake changed if there ever was any. I don’t really have any specific supplements that I take religiously, most of the time I just go with real foods and try and see how far I can go with that. Also, because I don’t like or have the money to spend on supplements that might for all I know just be giving me a ‘placbo’ affect and no real nutritional value? I dunno, I can be a bit of a skeptic sometimes.

But The question keeps getting asked so here are some of my basic tips, and please note I’m just covering sports nutrition, and not all the other general vitamins that your Dr should subscribe you.

First rule, anything you take baby takes too. Whatever feeling you get from the supplements baby will get too, when pregnant or breastfeeding. So, remember that any stimulants that hipe you up will do the same for baby, when pregnant and if you are breastfeeding baby will most likely become fussy irritable and it might affect the babies sleep cycle and can even upset their tummies and cause them discomfort.

I learnt this the Hard way while breastfeeding. I did a race about 7 months postpartum, it was a 22km Mountain Trail race and I had been drinking a stimulant gel every 45 min, I ran for about 3 hours – after the race I was very tired and baby was fussy and refusing the bottle and the pumped out breastmilk I left at the hotel for my husband to use. About an hour or two after the race baby became fussy again and being in a different town, away from my freezer stash of milk – the only solution I had was to breastfeed. Baby seemed happy no issues, so I breastfed again later the day thinking that my milk was safe as baby was not showing any signs of fussiness of an upset tummy. I did however realize that my babies spit up when he burped smelled of a strong vitamin smell… and then he got fussy around bedtime – and then he started having runny diapers and they also smelled strong. I then recognized the smell. It was the Energy gels I had been drinking during my race…

Needless to say, we had a very fussy baby and very tired running Mom and a very angry Dad in a small hotel room for a few hours until the stimulants worked out of my sons’ body. My Husband was very upset with my irresponsibility and I felt like to worst mother in the world to be honest! I would never make that mistake again!

So, remember what you feel baby will feel! If you are ever in doubt, always ask your DR first.

Whey protein : It is ok to drink a whey protein – generally these are no stimulants in whey protein, the only thing to consider when your taking whey when you are breastfeeding is that your babies’ system is tolerating the protein. It usually depends from baby to baby, but if your baby is experiencing severe fussiness, gassiness, diarrhea or any other changes in their diaper, then rather stop. This rule also applies for all food types. With Paul I was completely unable to eat peas while I was breastfeeding, it just made him so gassy and gave him tummy cramps. But always remember to try and get most of the protein from your real food and just add whey as a supplement.

Real Food For Protein.

Amino Acids : When your pregnant and breastfeeding your muscle recovery is much slower because your entire system is focused on taking care of baby so your muscle recovery generally the back seat here, so try to add some amino acids to help with this – but again try to get the most you need from real food and just add on as an extra.

Real Food for Amino Acids

Magnesium: This is my best-best Friend! This one is so important for me while you are pregnant and breastfeeding. And that is usually the first thing I ask ladies when they contact me for advice. In order that they function normally, our muscles need a balanced ratio of magnesium and calcium. They play a big role in the tension and relaxation of your muscles. If the calcium concentration in the muscle increases due to magnesium deficiency, the muscle can no longer relax, and cramps occur. Also, Magnesium helps other vitamins absorb better, and can help as an type of anti-depressant, so It’s a vitamin I strongly stand by.

Real Foods for Magnesium

When pregnant or breastfeeding NO:

Fat burners – there is no reason for you to try and burn fat when pregnant or breastfeeding, I’m not even going to explain this one.

Pre workout – Contains Stimulants and can give similar symptoms off as the fat burners.

Nothing with stimulants – Can be harmful to baby, what ever you feel the baby will also feel.

No to limited caffeine – limit your caffeine to less that 200mg per day. That’s about one cup of coffee. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, reduced fertility, and increase the risk of low-birth-weight offspring and other reproductive problems. Just remember, Caffeine in not just in coffee – it is also in most soda’s, chocolates and other edibles that you might not realize so just double check this!

I’m currently 13 weeks pregnant (2019-09-10) and I have a race on Saturday that I planned on doing before I knew I was pregnant, its actually the same race I ran when I made the gel/breastfeeding error. I’m gonna still do the race just take it easy, But I do still want to know if there are any gels I can take – So stay tuned for my next article on Gels During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding!

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Happy running!



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