When is the right time to return to running after a baby?

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running after a baby

Have you been told not to return to running for 12 weeks after having a baby?

These are the last words you want to here when all you want to do is get back out there and start to feel like yourself again. We love exercise and want you to get back to exercise no matter what!

It can often be difficult to adhere to some advice, particularly if you are usually very active. If you are someone who needs the extra time for their body to recover after having a baby, understanding the reasons for this advice can make it a little easier to follow.

Returning to high impact exercise too early and without proper preparation can impact your pelvic floor and abdominal control long term.

Physios are experts at assessing this risk and helping you work through solutions to get you back to doing what you love as soon as we can.

Caesarean birth

A caesarean is major abdominal surgery. These days, surgical techniques are so advanced that within 2-3 weeks after birthing a baby via caesarean, your scar will look almost fully healed and you will be tempted to think that this means your abdominals are good to go!

However, the skin heals quickly and a well-healed external scar is therefore not indicative of the tissue healing that has occurred underneath. Your muscles, fascia and uterus can take 6 weeks to heal and need another 6 weeks to gain adequate strength. This is why we suggest not lifting anything heavier than your bub in the first few weeks so that you don’t unnecessarily strain your healing abdomen.

To start with, focus on:

  • Not over loading your abdominals (try to outsource heavy lifting to friends and family, and take regular rests)
  • Breath work (when breathing in, focus on gently expanding your lower ribs outward)
  • Core activation
  • Pelvic floor activation
  • Posture

A graded abdominal strengthening program can generally be implemented from 6 weeks after bub is born after clearance from your health care provider.

Vaginal Delivery

It is no surprise that your pelvic floor is put under a lot of strain and stretch during a vaginal delivery. Returning to running too soon can put a lot of pressure on a weakened pelvic floor. Any urinary leakage, difficulty with bowel control, pain or feelings of downward pressure in the pelvis should not be ignored. You should seek advice from your women’s health physiotherapist or health care provider should these symptoms occur.

To start with, focus on:

  • Resting your pelvic floor (take regular breaks throughout the day to rest horizontally to take pressure off your pelvic floor)
  • Pelvic floor activation
  • Breath work (when breathing in, focus on gently expanding your lower ribs outward)
  • Core abdominal muscle activation
  • Posture

Not sure where to start?

Advice on returning to exercise can vary depending on numerous factors such as: type of delivery, if forceps were used, your activity prior to giving birth, your pelvic floor strength, any trauma from birth, your age, your baby size… the list goes own.

We approach all of our patients as individual’s and find the advice best for you.

If you are not sure where to start, or don’t know how to reach your exercise goals after having a baby then give the Women’s Health team at SquareOne a call. Our team of women’s physiotherapists are trained in pre and postnatal care and pelvic floor assessment. Book online here or call us 99683424.

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