Running after Baby
Running is a great way to get active. You can get outside on the road or in nature on the trails. You can bring your child in their running stroller or go out solo. It is incredibly beneficial for you but can also be very hard on your pelvic floor.
Running is considered a high impact sport which means that it is putting a more stress on your body than lower impact activities. After having a baby our pelvic floor needs to heal and function correctly and in conjunction with our other deep core muscles in order to be able to do its job. If it is not functioning properly this can lead to issues down the road or current issues getting worse.
When can you start running post partum?
It is very tempting to jump right back into running after having your baby but you need to give yourself ample time to heal. Your body has spent nine months growing, carrying and then birthing your child and it needs to recover before
returning to running. A pelvic floor physio can do a full assessment and tell you when you are ready to get back at it. Every woman is different so there is no real timeline however I would recommend planning for it to take at least 3 months. Walking is a great alternative until your are cleared to get out and get moving.
What to watch out for?
When you go for your first run really listen to your body. If you experience pain, leaking of urine (any amount) or feel pressure in your pelvis that is a sign that something isn't working right. It may mean that your body just needs more time to heal and you can come back to it after more rest. It can also be a sign of a bigger issue like prolapse so it is important to get it checked out. Ignoring these issues can lead to bigger problems that may have your sidelined for a long time. It is better to take a break and do the work now than have to deal with it down the road.
Form, Form, Form
Running form is important anytime but especially in terms of protecting the pelvic floor. Try to maintain proper posture with arms slightly bent, not crossing the center of the body and feet landing directly beneath you in short quick strides. Keeping a slight tilt forward at the ankles helps the pelvis support your pelvic organs and takes some of the strain off the pelvic floor muscles. Keeping the pelvis in a neutral position and not clenching the glutes and tucking your bum under also helps with this.
Don't overdo it
When returning to running ease back into it. Plan to go slow and short and build back up. Just because you were running marathons before baby doesn't mean you can start back where you left off. Give yourself some time to get the feel of it again and you will be back to your usual training before you know it and more importantly injury free.
It can be stressful with all of the information out there to start running again after baby. Some of the things that you hear can be downright scary. It doesn't have to be! By seeing a physio and knowing what is going on with your body you can be confident in your return. Running is amazing and having a baby definitely doesn't mean having to give it up!
Whether you have ran for years or are looking to start take the time to heal and rehab your core and pelvic floor. The more you know about your body and what is going on the better prepared you will be. Running is one of the best ways to get fit, build confidence and attain goals. So lace up those shoes Mommas and get started!