Healthy Habits

Running Pregnant: Nutrition with Mariela Sawyer

A few months ago I started chatting to South African Pro Triathlete & Dietitian Mariella Sawyer. I had some concerns surrounding my diet while running pregnant and still training. My Blood sugar drops quite easily and during my second pregnancy it had become a bit of a challenge. Running after a toddler and trying to get in basic raining, oh and growing a human can become quite a challenge most days.

I’ve also gotten asked the question from other pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who run is what energy products they can drink or eat pre/during and post run.

The most important thing is to make sure you always have a look at the back of the ingredients if your going for something man made, Google it a bit, and make sure you understand exactly what your taking in, and whether or not its is actually gonna benefit you and baby, if not the rather just scratch it.

For most of my races during my pregnancy I just made sure I had enough breakfast, which was oats – and then I would snack on dried fruit, banannas and always had a chocolate or two with me just in case I needed that sugar. For longer races I would carry a gel or two, but always considered them as the last resort.

Mariella says most gels are fine to take during pregnancy –

 “The only thing you should maybe avoid are the ones containing caffeine. – this also goes for energy drinks. But generally speaking, products like your energize,Rehidrat, or powder based carb products are fine to consume.

Having said the above, you can get the same from wholefoods and generally I’d recommend wholefoods above gels etc as they provide you with a lot more nutrients than gels and other refined carbs etc.

Some nice wholefoods one could try are:

-dates, raisins, date balls, bananas/other fruit, peanut butter sandwich, fruit puree sachets (which moms probably have a lot of anyway)”

For me personally I’ve been taking my daily pregnancy vitamins, Preg-o-mega Plus or the standard Clicks pregnancy vitamins that look the same as Preg-o-mega Plus along with extra SlowMag and Vita-thion. For the vitamins, You can check the labels –  but they have the same stuff in them.

The Vita-thion is safe, once a day and it usually starts working well when you’ve been drinking it 3 days consecutively. This helped me allot with some sustainable long-term energy, rather than a burst of energy and then a fall again. This honestly saves me! Just don’t drink them too late in the evening, I have found they give me a bit of insomnia – or that could just as well be from the pregnancy.

The Slow Mag is an absolute must for me. Magnesium helps with the absorption of other vitamins and apart from helping for those third trimester leg cramps they can also help you feel better and somewhat less depressed.

If I felt like I had a very taxing workout I would have a High Five in a bottle of water just to replace somethings I lost when I was sweating and to ensure I stay hydrated

Along with this it is important to plan your meals accordingly as they also play a vital role in your enery.

Mariella says: “You want to make sure that your meals and snacks are balanced with regards to protein carbs and fat.

E.g. instead of snacking on just a fruit, pair it with some nuts or plain yoghurt for fat and protein. This ensures that blood sugar response is more balanced, keeping you fuller for longer and preventing a spike and dip.

I generally recommend 3 meals and 2-3 snacks in the day, depending on your personal requirements”

So if your planning on continuing your training to a degree that is possible whilst being pregnant, take into account the additional energy levels that you will be needing, and also remember – it is more that normal for you to feel tired, no matter how healthy, how many supplements and vitamins you are taking. You are making a human! And Some days you must just take it as it comes.

Speak to you Doctor and remember to enjoy it!

Don’t Forget to Follow my New YouTube Series!


In which I am currently training for the Otter Trail Race in October, Training from baby to birth to postpartum and everything in between! The first episode is up and the next episode will be all about training pregnant, so subscribe and don’t miss a thing!

Also if you are currently pregnant, check out the rest of my Running Pregnant series:


Happy Running!



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