Staying in Shape through Pregnancy: What to Wear in the Third Trimester

This post, and one more to follow, is sponsored by Under Armour and their “What’s Beautiful: A Competition to Redefine the Female Athlete” campaign. (See here for part 1.)

Friends, I have two words for you: compression gear. I think that’s the secret to running in relative comfort in the last trimester of pregnancy.

You see, the other week I ran smack-bang into the realities of third trimester running – namely, ligament pain and contractions. Ouch. It kind of hurt. Micah and I walked (him)/hobbled (me) the last mile and half of the “run” and by the time we got home I was a little bit cranky. If I felt like that on race day, tears would be shed.

I stewed a bit. I tried to brush it off. And I wracked my brain to figure out if there was anything I could do to prevent that from happening again, or at least from happening on race day.

And that’s when compression pants entered my mind.

I’ve always been a big supporter (ha!) of pants/shorts/skirts with a wide, supportive waistband to take some of the strain off your belly/uterine ligaments in late pregnancy. Through the past two pregnancies my pink shorts seemed to do the trick, but I’m stepping things up a notch this time around and wondered if my gear could be stepped up a notch, too.

So I squeezed my pregnant body into a pair of compression knickers and went for a lovely, contraction-free, 5.75 mile run in which the words “uterine ligaments” did not even cross my mind, let alone, “curse you, uterine ligaments.”

The next day I had no soreness of the underbelly, which has been an issue, and was, in fact, able to pretty much forget that I’d even run nearly six miles while pushing the boys in the jogger. Chalk one up for compression knickers.

I’m also going to chalk one up for these patterned shorts from Under Armour. They, too, have a tall, elastic waistband plus a tie so you can add even a little bit more support. I ran 5 comfortable miles in them and was even able to push my pace into the sub-8:00 range for about a mile.

So that solves one of the annoyances of pregnant running, but let’s talk briefly about another one: keeping the belly covered. I feel like every few seconds I’m smoothing my shirt down over my belly. Again. Or watching people stare at the gap between my shorts and shirt because, Whoa, she’s pregnant. And running.

The challenge here is finding something that is long enough, stretchy enough, light enough, and doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing a tent. And it turns out there are some good options. Under Armour’s semi-fitted HeatGear run shirt is long, stretchy, and super light. I got it in the size I normally wear and I’m sure it will keep me covered for the last couple of months of the pregnancy and be no worse for the wear when the baby is here.

Then there’s the stripy HeatGear tank, which is also long and stretchy, and stayed down around my belly during my 5-miler. And finally, there’s Under Armour’s Charm Banded tank, which is intended for yoga and has a band around the waist that keeps it from coming up, and because it is semi-fitted, it also has room for a growing belly. I think I’m going to wear mine on race day with the Escape skirt, just because I like to dress up for the big event.

The takeaway?: I was worried about being able to complete my What’s Beautiful challenge, but I’m feeling more confident about it now. And I highly recommend trying some compression shorts/pants/skirt if you’re serious about running through the third trimester.

But in the meantime, are you up for a challenge? Head over to and make a goal. Push yourself. Make it the summer to see what you can do. While you’re there, check out my profile, follow me, and see how things go when I run my 10K on June 9th.

Want to win a $500 Under Armour gift card? Leave a comment letting me know how you empower your workout. You’ll be entered for a chance to win! See the rules below for additional ways to enter.


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1 Comment

  1. Being prepared (clothes, hat, the right socks, etc), having a specific goal for the day, and then, when the hard moments come, reminding myself of my strengths (lots of positive self-talk)…that’s what works for me. 🙂

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