Running After Pregnancy: Mom Running Coaches Advice & Tips!
If you have been a lifelong runner, not much can derail your running. Am I right?
There is one thing for certain that can get you to slow down significantly and, for most runners, actually stop for some time. That is pregnancy.
Assuming you took some time off from running while you were expecting, and maybe even a bit of time while you adjusted to being a mom and having a tiny human to care for, you probably are wondering about running after pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Exercise
Just in case you are newly pregnant and can still heed this advice, here it is: don’t use pregnancy as an automatic pass on exercise.
Did you know that your doctor will probably want you to continue exercising? The rule of thumb is to do 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days each week throughout the pregnancy.
What kind of exercise can you do?
While some doctors disagree on this, most will say that you can keep doing things you did before pregnancy for a while. If you were running before, keep doing it. Just be cognizant of the jostling and jiggling that will take place.
When your belly starts to get in the way, or if the movement gets painful, it’s time to stop running and shift to something with less impact.
How Long Should You Wait Before Getting Back to Running After Pregnancy?
So are you asking yourself, “When can I start running postpartum?”
Most experts suggest you need at least 6 to e 8 weeks postpartum before trying to run.
If you had surgery for your delivery, you might even need longer than that. Your body goes through a lot, not just with the pregnancy but actually delivering the baby. This is no small feat, what you have just accomplished. Give your body time to heal.
No matter what kind of shape you were in before pregnancy, your body needs some time to snap back. Consider spending a couple of weeks on your midsection/abdominal muscles before pushing yourself out the door.
Time spent focusing on both the abs and pelvic floor muscles will be worth your while. Please hear this loud and clear: we are not advising you to jump into doing countless sit-ups, thinking you will strengthen your abs.
Find some gentle ab stretches and strengthening tools to start out.
Is It Safe to Run After a Pregnancy?
For almost all women, it is safe to run after pregnancy; just avoid high-impact activities. If you had extenuating circumstances, a very challenging labor, and delivery, or significant health challenges while pregnancy, your ob-gyn might advise you to take more than the 6-8 weeks off mentioned above.
Otherwise, get ready to transition into your workout regiment!
6 Common Issues When Running After a Pregnancy
1. Higher Risk for Stress Fractures: Breastfeeding women in particular are at a higher risk of experiencing stress fractures when running after giving birth.
2. Diastasis Recti: This is a split in the abdomen wall that can be difficult to remedy and can lead to incontinence in women if not taken care of. Some will need physical therapy to address this issue.
3. Weak Pelvic Wall: Have you ever sneezed or laughed hard and peed a little? Women frequently find themselves experiencing urinary incontinence after giving birth. You need to strengthen the pelvic wall to prevent further pelvic floor dysfunction issues.
4. Weight: Let’s face it, most of us are heavier even 8 weeks after having a baby. Lugging around the extra weight can cause us to run with improper form, leading to injury or aches. Take it easy, slow down, and think about your form.
5. Fatigue: One more thing to consider is how tired you are likely to be. Caring for an infant is exhausting. Give yourself grace and be patient with yourself.
6. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: When you do too much, too soon, after giving birth, it can lead to your body being unable to hold your pelvic organs in place. Caused by a weak pelvic wall, prolapse can cause significant issues.
6 Expert Tips to Follow
You need a running after pregnancy plan if you are ready to start.
1. Be Patient: Postpartum running requires patience. You cannot expect to immediately jump back to your pre-baby body, speed, or abilities.
2. Jogging Strollers: Depending on the type of jog stroller you have, your newborn baby should not be put into it (not if you are running anyway). Babies should have neck control before you run pushing the baby in the stroller.
Talk to your pediatrician to determine when your baby is ready. Seeking advice on running with a stroller? Here it is!
3. Posture is Important: Focus on your running form with particular attention to your posture. When pregnant, you may have had very poor posture to accommodate your big belly. It is time to start walking tall and strong again!
4. Stay Hydrated: Be certain you are drinking enough water. Breastfeeding women in particular need even more water in their bodies. If you are worried you are not drinking enough water, get yourself a nice water bottle as an incentive.
5. Don’t Ignore Pain: If you feel pain at the pubic bone, or feel like your insides are dropping, talk to your doctor and ask for a check-up. Your body went through a lot when you grew a baby. Give it respect.
6. Give Yourself Grace: Start out slow and be patient with yourself. If you have to walk some, go ahead. There is no rush.
Practical Advice From New Mom Runners
We asked some women for postnatal advice. First, let’s start with advice from a mom of six and a coach.
Carrie Miller, coach and owner of On Pace Coaching said this, “It’s so hard to get out there between taking care of the baby or kid(s), but if your doctor has cleared you and you are feeling like running – try to get out there! Listen to your body and take things slow.
Thanks to hormones at work, I find that many people tend to eventually run faster in the year or so after giving birth. Running strollers are great tools, but I also found that if I can get out there without the kids for my sanity, that goes a really long way to my being a better mom!”
Mom Kristen Korek of Runnerclick Pro, “Take it slow. Running is the best bang for your buck. You only need a short period of time to get that heart rate up and the endorphins s running. There’s minimal prep to get out the door, and as a new mom, time is tight, and some separation time is good! … it’s also a great activity to role model health for the kids.
I’m pregnant with my second in this picture, running a 5k race with my 3-year-old. Good fun for the whole family! Plus, when you finish a race with kids, they usually tell you to take extra snacks. Haha.”
Sub:30 Club member Lauren Wyckoff added, “After my first, I thought that once my OB cleared me, that meant I was ready to run again, nope, not the case. Take your time getting back into it. After my 2nd I saw a pelvic floor PT before getting back into exercising, and honestly, I tell all of the women I know to go to one if they have any concerns!
Another thing I wanted to add that I found interesting. Relaxin, the hormone that is produced during pregnancy to loosen joints and ligaments, stays in a woman’s body as long as she is breastfeeding if she chooses to nourish her child that way. So while you’re breastfeeding, your joints and ligaments may not be as stable as they used to be.”
Camille Giullian, another Sub-30 Club member, “Here’s me running a half marathon 6 months after my first was born! I would not recommend that again, hah. I just had my third 9 months ago and am barely doing a 5k (the whole c section thing was a doozy). Pelvic floor PT is AMAZING.
When I was pregnant this last time, I said I would take it easier than I had before, and again the cesarean helped because not being able to carry your 4.5-pound baby is really humbling!
So my point is – don’t jump back in just because you may have had an easy delivery or are antsy. Taking it easy and building up to your pre-baby self is never a bad thing!”
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