A woman who wants to start running after giving birth needs to be aware of the precautions she should take. Postpartum exercise is a good idea, but it’s important to follow the right steps to ensure that mom’s body can handle the impact and stress of running.
Certain tips and techniques can reduce the risk of injury and help mom break into a running routine at the right pace.
The goal for any woman should be to make progress instead of expecting to jump right back into her old routine. Many factors have to be taken into consideration when running after giving birth.
Here are a few and their possible impact on running:
Vaginal Delivery Versus Cesarean Section
A woman who gives birth vaginally may be cleared to start exercising sooner than a woman who had a C-section. Six weeks is usually the period after which doctors release women who have vaginal deliveries, whereas moms who have C-sections will likely not be cleared for exercise until at least the eight-week mark.
A C-section is a major abdominal surgery. No matter how mom gives birth, her body is challenged and needs to heal. However, a woman whose abdominal muscles were cut open to retrieve the baby is going to need to wait longer. If she develops an infection or has pain due to scar tissue, her healing process will be affected, which can determine how soon she can run again.
The Effects of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is great for the baby and there are also tons of benefits for mom. Mom will burn calories, reduce bleeding after birth, and lessen her risk of certain types of cancer if she breastfeeds. Even so, it can be difficult to balance a breastfeeding and running relationship for many reasons.
First of all, mom will have to stay very hydrated to run and produce enough milk. It’s also important for mom to eat enough calories to support breastfeeding and running. If she doesn’t, her health and milk production can suffer.
Lactic acid in breast milk, which can build up when mom is running, may discourage the baby from nursing. Some babies will refuse milk that tastes strange due to mom’s running, and this can put an end to the breastfeeding relationship before mom and the baby are ready.
Finally, mom will have to be very careful when it comes to injuries if she chooses to run while breastfeeding. While making food for another person, mom’s body will draw from its resources, including her bones. Fractures may be more common if mom tries to run too hard or too much in the beginning.
Tips for Easing Back Into Running
Does this mean mom can’t run postpartum? Not at all, it’s just important to follow a few steps to make sure her safety and health are a priority.
- Start With Something Else – Runners want to run, and if mom was a runner prior to giving birth, she will likely want to feel the endorphins that running releases coursing through her body as soon as possible. Still, it is a good idea to consider other exercises that can prepare mom’s body for running. Yoga and certain pelvic exercises can strengthen mom’s pelvic floor. This will make her less likely to struggle with incontinence and pain when she eases back into running.
- Get a Checkup of the Pelvic Floor – A physiotherapist or physical therapist will be able to tell a woman how her pelvic floor is holding up after birth. Certain exercises may be prescribed to strengthen that area before mom starts running. Though most doctors don’t refer women for this kind of care, it’s never a bad idea to seek it out to avoid potential problems in the future.
- Beware the Stroller Run – Running strollers are great because mom can run and take the baby with her. However, it may not be as easy to maintain good posture, and the bulky size of running strollers will add pressure to mom’s body. If possible, mom may want to start running solo in the beginning so that she can master her form and build up her strength.
Running after giving birth is possible, but start only after healing. Even then, take small steps forward to avoid injury.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.