Getting Back Into Running After Having A Baby
When I was pregnant with my first child in 2015 I stopped running at about 3 months in due to pelvic discomfort. I was told that I’d be able to start again after my 6 week post-natal check. However when I queried this with my GP at the check I was advised to wait even longer – at least 3 months due to the hormone ‘Relaxin’ (this is the hormone which during pregnancy relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix) still being present for up to 6 months after you’ve given birth. If you are breastfeeding then the pregnancy hormones remain in your body even longer, for up to 4 months after you have stopped feeding.
So I waited about 4 months in total carrying on with my walking and gentle stretching routine in the meantime, then I took the plunge and got out there for a short run. I took it nice and gently and managed 20 minutes in total- a combination of running and walking. Everything felt slightly stiff, and the action of running felt very strange after not doing it for so long.
I will never forget the effect that short burst of physical activity had on me physically and mentally!
I felt so alive and FREE. Moving freely after so many months of taking care with every step, thinking about how every single thing I did would affect my growing baby. The baby that was now safely tucked up at home with Daddy while Mummy got to run around Horsforth on an epic adventure!
I continued to get out for a few short runs a week for a while. To be honest, this was all I was able to spare anyway in-between the relentless feeding schedule of my baby.
But those short runs felt amazing, they really lifted me out of the post-birth fuzz and made me feel like ‘me’ again.
After 6 months I was back to doing my usual exercise routine including bootcamp, yoga and of course running. When I headed back to work after almost a year, I felt confident enough to tackle the 5 mile run home a few times a week. A great way of fitting exercise into a busy schedule!
So, I’m now seven months pregnant with my second child. Will I do anything differently after this second pregnancy? My plan is to just listen to my body and go from there. The rest of my pregnancy, the birth and post-birth recovery will all factor in to when I am able to start running again. But one thing I’ve learned from the first time around – time really does fly by. I won’t be rushing, I’ll be taking it nice and slow and at my own pace. Who knows, there might even be potential for the setting up of a post-natal running group. I will keep you posted!
In the meantime check my top tips for getting back into running after pregnancy:
- Get clearance from your GP/Midwife – this could be after your 6 week check or you may have to wait longer.
- Take it slowly, do not rush – everyone is different so you need to be aware of what feels right for you.
- Suitable running shoes and a well-fitting sports bra which provides adequate support are absolute must-haves.
- Start off with some gentle walking and stretching – remember that your ligaments and joints will still be loose following the birth.
- Follow a gradual plan and build up slowly. You could try something like the Couch to 5k plan to ease you back in.
- STOP if you feel any discomfort or pain or anything doesn’t feel right.
- Do your pelvic floor exercises (we all know what will happen if you don’t!).
- Enjoy! Whilst it will feel mildly challenging, as your fitness improves it should not feel exhausting.