It is generally recommended that women wait at least 6-8 weeks after giving birth before returning to running or other vigorous exercise. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine what is safe for you, as every woman's recovery may be different. It also depends on how the delivery went, if you had a cesarean section it may take longer to recover.
What if I had a natural birth?
If you had a natural birth, it is still recommended to wait at least 6-8 weeks before returning to running or other vigorous exercise. This allows your body time to heal and recover from the physical demands of childbirth. It's important to start slowly, to avoid any injuries and then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your runs. It's also important to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are cleared for exercise and to develop a safe and appropriate plan for your postpartum recovery.
What if I had a casarean section?
If you had a cesarean section, it is recommended to wait at least 6-8 weeks before returning to running or other vigorous exercise. This allows your body time to heal from the surgery and recover from the physical demands of childbirth. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine what is safe for you, as recovery from a c-section may take longer than recovery from a natural birth. It's important to start slowly, to avoid any injuries and then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your runs. You should also pay extra attention to your abdominal muscles, which may have been cut during the surgery, so your abdominal muscles recover properly before starting to run again.
When can I start training my pelvic floor?
It is safe to start training your pelvic floor muscles as soon as you feel comfortable doing so after giving birth. However, it's a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to make sure you are ready for exercise and to develop a safe and appropriate plan for your postpartum recovery. In the early postpartum period, it's recommended to start with gentle exercises such as pelvic tilts, and breathing exercises before moving on to kegels.
It is important to note that some women may have diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles, which can make traditional pelvic floor exercises difficult or even harmful. In this case, it's best to consult with a physiotherapist who specialises in women's health, or a postpartum recovery specialist who can guide you through exercises that are appropriate for your individual needs.
Should I follow a couch to 5k programme when cleared to start running?
It is possible to follow a "Couch to 5K" program after giving birth. Since every woman's recovery may be different, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your runs, as well as pay attention to your body's signals.
It's also important to note that a "Couch to 5K" program is designed for sedentary individuals who have never run before, it might not be appropriate for someone who has been running regularly before pregnancy. In that case, you might want to start with shorter runs at a lower intensity and then gradually build up the duration and intensity.
It's also important to consider your pelvic floor health, if you are experiencing any issues, it's a good idea to speak with a physiotherapist who specialises in women's health, or a postpartum recovery specialist who can guide you through exercises that are appropriate for your individual needs.
When returning to running after giving birth, it's also important to consider the following:
Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after your runs. If you experience pain or discomfort, slow down or stop and consult with your healthcare provider.
Hydration and Nutrition: Running requires a lot of energy, so it's important to make sure you are properly hydrated and nourished before, during, and after your runs.
Sleep: New mothers often have disrupted sleep patterns, and lack of sleep can affect your energy levels and overall recovery. Make sure you are getting enough rest and try to schedule your runs at a time when you are most likely to be awake and alert.
Emotional well-being: Being a new parent can be challenging, it's important to take care of your emotional well-being, and make sure you are doing something that you enjoy.
Childcare: You might need to make arrangement for your child care, in order to make time for your exercise. You can also invest in a running buggy for when your child is around 6months old.
Weather: Consider the weather conditions, especially if you have a small baby, be sure to dress yourself and your baby appropriately for the weather, and avoid running in extreme temperatures.
What is a running buggy?
A running buggy, also known as a jogging stroller, is a type of stroller that is specifically designed for running and jogging with a baby. Running buggies typically have the following features:
Three wheels: Running buggies usually have three wheels, with two larger wheels in the back and one smaller wheel in the front. This configuration allows for better stability and manoeuvrability while running.
Fixed or swivel front wheel: Some running buggies have a fixed front wheel, which is designed for running on straight paths. Others have a swivel front wheel, which allows for more manoeuvrability and is better for running on uneven or winding terrain.
Suspension: Running buggies usually have a suspension system to absorb the impact of running and provide a smooth ride for the baby.
Locking brake: Running buggies usually have a locking brake to keep the buggy in place when stopped.
Adjustable handlebar: Running buggies usually have an adjustable handlebar to accommodate different heights of runners.
5-point harness: Running buggies usually have a 5-point harness to secure the baby in the stroller.
Weather protection: Running buggies usually have a canopy or weather shield to protect the baby from the sun, wind and rain.
It's important to note that a running buggy is not the same as a traditional stroller, and it's not always recommended to use it for everyday use, as it's typically heavier, larger and not as easy to manoeuvre as a traditional stroller especially if the front wheel is permanently locked.
Using a running buggy is a great way to incorporate running into your postpartum exercise routine. However, it's important to consider the following:
Safety: Make sure the running buggy you choose is designed for running and meets all safety standards. Also, be sure to properly secure your baby in the buggy before starting your run.
Weight limit: Be aware of the weight limit for the running buggy, as it may vary depending on the model. Be sure that the buggy can support your baby's weight.
Stability: Some running buggies are more stable than others, so consider your own running style and the terrain you'll be running on when choosing a buggy.
Weather protection: Look for a running buggy that provides adequate weather protection for your baby.
Training: You may need to adjust your running style when using a running buggy. Start by running on flat and even surfaces and gradually progress to more challenging terrain.
Return to running checklist:
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Ideally clearance from a women's health physiotherapist (Mummy MOTs)
- Time allocated to go for a run child free if your baby is under 6months
- A running buggy if taking your baby with you over 6months old
- Hydrate and fuel yourself before and after
- Running leggings you feel comfortable in that support you