Running postpartum is a very a realistic goal, and it is totally attainable moms who are experienced runners, or are new to running. Just know that running postpartum often feels different than running in your pre-baby state.
Oftentimes, postpartum seasoned runners get back into running too fast. Typically, if there aren't any medical issues, moms will get clearance to slowly resume "normal activities” at their 6-week, follow-up appointment with the OB-GYN. But do these activities include running? And what about any instructions on how to run, or how much to run after having a baby?
Just because you got medical clearance to resume normal activities, doesn't necessarily mean you should return to running, even if it doesn’t hurt. In general, researching is showing that in order to allow for pelvic floor healing, you should wait until about 12 weeks until you begin running again after baby. I know that to a runner, this sounds crazy! As a runner myself, I know that running is more than a physical activity, it is a mental one too. Often, runners need that run in order to decompress.
Short term rest, to allow for prevention of long term problems.
The pelvic floor stretched 300% during vaginal births, and Cesareans are MAJOR abdominal surgery. You wouldn’t rush back into running after an ACL injury, so give your body time to heal so that you can prevent pelvic floor dysfunction later.
Just because running isn’t suggested, doesn’t mean walking is out. Typically you can start on a light walking program once you feel comfortable, at around 4 weeks postpartum. In addition to walking, strength training is one of the best things you can do to help your recovering postpartum body.
There are several things that we like to make sure that you can do before starting to run again postpartum. With all of these, you don’t want to have any pain, heaviness, incontinence or pressure symptoms.These include:
If you just had a baby, you endured pelvic tissue changes and injury. And, just like an athlete who sustained a sports injury, you should have a specialist by your side to help you return safely to running and an active lifestyle. If you are having difficulty with getting back into fitness, postpartum, don’t hesitate to reach out!