Use these tips to safely return to postpartum running!
*Note this blog is based on blogger’s experience as a new Mom as well as her professional opinion as a physical therapist.
As a new Mom and runner, I was excited and anxious to get back to running. I knew I was in no physical shape to compete after giving birth to my son but I was anxious to use running as an outlet to have some “Mommy” time alone. I can vividly remember my first run. I knew it was not going to be pretty and only set my goal to complete two miles. Little did I know that that was a lofty goal! I made it half way and was ready for a walking “break.” Since my first run postpartum, I have gradually increased my mileage. Below are some tips that I would like to share that have helped me get back out on the road (and treadmill)!
- Get your physician’s permission. Typically, you will follow up with your doctor 6-8 weeks postpartum. At this visit, ask your physician if it is okay to begin running again.
- Start slow, run a short distance, and remember, it is okay to walk! Did you run or work out during your pregnancy? If so, you may have a better base than someone who did not, but you should still take it slow as your body has gone through so many changes following giving birth. Most likely you were advised by your physician to not participate in physical activity six weeks after giving birth. Due to this inactivity, you have lost muscle mass (only takes 48 hours of inactivity or decreased activity to start losing muscle) and cardiovascular endurance, so start slowly. Walking is ok!
- Your body will feel different. While you were pregnant you had an increase in hormones: estrogen, progesterone, relaxin along with several other hormones, which lead to ligament laxity during pregnancy. You may continue to experience ligament laxity after pregnancy if you breast feed due to increased levels of progesterone. This increased ligament laxity creates more mobility in the joints typically in the pelvic area. This laxity may lead to pain in the lower back, gluteal area, pelvic, or pubic bone. Physical therapy can help correct this by strengthening the muscles around the pelvis.
- Possible urinary incontinence. Do not be afraid to talk to your physician or physical therapist about this! It is very common among new Moms to have complaints of urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises are very helpful in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which will help with urinary incontinence.
- Talk to your pediatrician about running with your little one in a jogging stroller. Generally, you are able to start jogging with your little one when they have good head control, which is anytime between 4-6 months. Try to stay on a smooth surface and minimize bumps as your baby’s head control is still developing, the lake path is the most ideal place.
- Remember to hydrate! Hydration is very important, especially if you are breastfeeding your little one. Many jogging strollers have a place for you to put a water bottle. However, if you are running without your little one, bring a water bottle with you or plan your route so there is a water fountain available.
- Last but not least, enjoy this time!
My little guy and I on a run out on the lake path! He looks thrilled, doesn’t he?!