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Running after pregnancy – 10 rules for a safe returning to training

Publish date 02.09.2022

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Running after pregnancy – 10 rules for a safe returning to training

If you were a runner before you became pregnant and enjoyed outdoor training, you would certainly like to return to running after giving birth. You certainly don’t want maternity responsibilities to limit you, and you still want to be active. You certainly took a break for a few months, but now you want to start running after pregnancy. How to do it?

You need to remember that pregnancy has been a big strain on your body, and you certainly won’t be in the same shape as you were before. You also need to pay attention to the intensity of your workouts. How do you get back to your pre-pregnancy form and running? How to do it while putting safety first? Find the answers to these questions in this article! 

Postpartum running = learning patience and changing your mindset

Running postpartum involves two basic things. It is patience and a change of attitude. Many women think that after giving birth, they will no longer have time for themselves – time to take care of themselves. However, this is not true. A child is a wonderful gift that certainly changes life upside down, but for the better. However, you must also remember about yourself. That’s why you shouldn’t be negative about running and other workouts. 

What’s more, you also need to remember that your body has gone through a lot of changes over the past 9 months. This is why you need to be patient when it comes to getting back to your form before pregnancy. You should prepare for your workouts calmly and slowly. Don’t get heartbroken that you are no longer running as fast or long as you were before giving birth. 9 months is a long time, so you need to approach your workouts patiently. You must also remember to rest and recover. You need time to get back into shape.

What determines how quickly you return to running after childbirth?

How quickly you return to running is mainly an individual issue. Remember not to suggest women around you. For one, the return to an active lifestyle may take 2 weeks, while for others it may take 1 or 2 months. It all depends on how you endured the pregnancy and whether you gave birth naturally or by C-section. Remember not to rush anything or train by force. Such behavior can lead to serious complications and injuries. How soon you return to running also depends on: 

  • the course of your pregnancy, 
  • proper diet, 
  • physical activity before and during pregnancy, 
  • your body.

The most important thing about postpartum running is that you listen to your body. It is better to wait longer than to expose yourself to unpleasant consequences. 

1. Consult your postpartum running training with a specialist – gynecologist, and physiotherapist

If you want to return to exercising and running after pregnancy, it is important to consult a gynecologist or physiotherapist before you will do any of these physical activities. They will tell you whether you can already start running, and what exercises you can do to slowly return to your pre-birth form. Such consultations are important both after natural childbirth and after a cesarean section. 

It is best to consult with both specialists. 

  • The gynecologist will assess the general condition of your body, and if you are thinking about running after C section , also the condition of your scar – whether it is healing well. 
  • The physiotherapist will show you exercises to strengthen your muscles. The physiotherapist will also: 
  • will check if you have abdominal separation or not,  
  • will show you how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

If you want to return to running, the physiotherapist must check them, because, with abdominal separation and weak pelvic floor muscles, you can’t run. If you do, you may only aggravate the injury. 

2. Puerperal period – remember and don’t underestimate it

A Puerperal period is a time in which a young mother undergoes a period of intensive recovery from childbirth – no matter whether it was a natural birth or cesarean section. 

You are probably wondering: when can I start running after c section, and when after giving natural birth. After natural childbirth, puerperium lasts 6 weeks, while after a cesarean section it lasts from 4 to 12 weeks – it all depends on the woman’s condition and her body. During this period, many changes take place in the body, so women may feel severe fatigue and be without energy. 

This period should not be underestimated, as it is very important to fully return to pre-pregnancy condition. Sometimes this time is treated as the fourth trimester. This is the time that you should fully devote yourself and your little one. 

During this period, you can do light exercises, but you should avoid dynamic and heavy workouts (such as running). All because you are not ready for it in terms of respiratory capacity, endurance and stability. 

During the puerperal period, take care of yourself and slowly return to your pre-birth fitness. Remember what we mentioned earlier: be patient, don’t give up, and think positively 🙂

3. Run after breastfeeding

After pregnancy, the best time to go out running is when you feed your baby. 

Why?

  • emptied breasts = more comfortable while running, 
  • lighter running,
  • training with full breasts has a bad impact on their firmness, 
  • training with full breasts can contribute to inflammation,
  • you can run without thinking about the fact that you already have to go back and feed the baby. 

As you can see, there are many arguments for running after breastfeeding. Sometimes it is difficult to schedule your workout with feeding your toddler. However, it is worth taking care of. 

Running postpartum - after breastfeeding

4. Running after giving birth – strengthen muscles 

As we mentioned earlier, pregnancy and especially childbirth are very tiring for all women. At this point, however, we will focus on the physical aspect. Muscles are no longer as strong, through a shifted center of gravity or enlarged lordosis. 

What muscles become weaker during pregnancy? 

  • pelvic floor muscles, 
  • core muscles,
  • gluteal muscles. 

Remember to strengthen these muscles before you start running regularly and for longer distances. 

As for pelvic floor muscles, Overloading these muscles is also caused by running. Every runner should take care to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, after having a baby. 

5. Start with marches and fartlek

Don’t start with hard workouts. After pregnancy, look at yourself as a beginner runner, even if you have run before. Dedicate your first workouts to observing your condition. If everything is fine while walking, then move to a light jog. However, don’t run, even at this leisurely pace, for too long. Do not march for more than 30 minutes. When it comes to trotting, it should be much shorter. 

Do this type of training for about 3 months. Observe your progress and fitness, and gradually lengthen the route of your run. 

6. Running postpartum and even more

You will certainly not run on all days. Your body needs time to recover. During this period, you can do other light exercises to strengthen your muscles. 

Such a variety in your workouts will certainly make it more fun for you to return to full form. What’s more, you won’t get bored with constant running. 

You can use not only strengthening exercises, but also yoga or Pilates to add variety to your workouts. 

7. Buy an appropriate running bra

Running after pregnancy also involves a good selection of underwear. After childbirth and during nursing, breasts are more sensitive and full of milk. Therefore, it is important to purchase a suitable running bra before starting training. It will ensure that your breasts are protected and stabilized during bouncing while running. 

A badly selected running bra during lactation can not only decently harm the firmness of the breasts, but will also contribute to painful inflammation.

8. Running with your baby? Yes, it’s possible!

Sometimes you want to go for a run, but no one in the house could take care of the baby. What to do in this situation? You can take the baby with you! 

Nowadays, you can see more and more parents, who are running with small children. On the market, there are special three-wheeled strollers that are adapted to the physical activity of running. 

This additional equipment will not only give you a breath of fresh air, but also your baby. This is often a very effective way to get your baby to sleep.

Women with baby - running postpartum

9. Recovery is also important

As we mentioned earlier, start with slow, not intense, and short running. Do not run every day, and after every workout take your time to recover. 

How do to it? 

  • After training, stretch your muscles – thanks to that you will avoid soreness, which can occur the next day.
  • Enough sleep – it may be hard with a small baby that often wakes up, cries, and needs a lot of care. However, take advantage of the moment when the baby is sleeping and do the same. 
  • Take a nice, cold shower to relax your muscles – by cooling down the muscles, you create better conditions for regeneration.

10. Do you need help? Do not hesitate and ask for it

Mothers also need time for themselves. When you feel that you want to be left alone, do not hesitate long and ask a family member to take care of your newborn. Thanks to that, you will be able to gather your thoughts and gain energy and patience. 

Everyone needs some time alone. It’s also a good thing for the baby because it will learn that mum is not always around and can go out sometimes. 

Running = endorphins

The period after giving birth is very often hard for women. New situations, responsibilities, a lot of stress, lost energy, and sleepless nights. 

With help comes physical activity. It is worth it to leave the house and catch a breath. It will speed up the recovery process, improve your mood, and will have a positive effect on your physical and mental state. 

It is very often said that the baby feels their mother’s emotions. Remember that – happy mum = happy child. 

Running after giving birth – when to stop training 

You should know that your body may not be ready for physical activity. When during your first training you:

  • will have dizziness, 
  • will start bleeding, 
  • will have back pain, 
  • will feel pain, when your scar after the C-section is

stop your training and consult your gynecologist or physiotherapist and give yourself more time to recover. 

Running postpartum is something that every active mother needs. However, you have to be careful. You may not be ready to do exercises. If there is any medical contraindication, wait. Be safe and train when you are fully recovered after birth. Take care not only of the baby, but also of your health. 

Now you know about running after C section and natural birth. Running postpartum definitely will give you a lot of benefits, but remember to first consult this with your doctor. Ask him important questions to feel safe!

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