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When Can I Run Post Baby?

We are asked this all the time and it’s not hard to see why.  For the time poor mum, a half hour jog and 30 minutes precious “head space” can seem like the ideal exercise to fit in between your baby’s demands and begin to regain your pre-baby physique.

If you were sporty or a keen athlete before motherhood then returning to sport and fitness can be an important part of re-establishing your own identity rather than simply being “someone’s mum.”

Trust us, we get it.  But woah there.  Your body has just spent 9 months performing the most amazing transformation and has created a new human – this takes a bit of recovering from.  Whether you are a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior or are starting from scratch with exercise the combined effects of 9 months’ worth of hormonal change, stretching and the nature of your child’s birth mean you need to take some time to establish that you are healing properly from the inside out before hitting the gym or the open road!  Even experienced athletes can have very poor control or their deep muscles so it is worth starting gently with low impact exercise before progressing to running.

When any mum is ready to return to exercise is infinitely variable but in theory as an absolute minimum most mums are recommend to wait at least 6 weeks after a straightforward vaginal birth and 12-13 weeks after a complicated vaginal or c-section birth before starting more significant exercising.  Personally,  I recommend waiting at least 6 months before adding high impact exercise to your routine and potentially up to a year if you are still breastfeeding as this can contribute to greater flexibility (and reduced stability of your supporting structures).

For any mum at any point in her recovery I would also ensure the following before beginning more strenuous exercise:

  • That you don’t leak at all from your bladder or bowel before starting exercising – these are signs of pelvic floor weakness indicating that your pelvic floor is not ready for the strain of running.
  • That you do not experience any bulging or heaviness in the vaginal area with a cough, sneeze or picking up your baby.
  • That you do not have any bulging or “doming” of your tummy muscles when doing things like sitting up, rolling over or picking up your baby that increase the pressure in your abdomen.
  • That you haven’t got any back or pelvic pain with exercise.
  • That you don’t have any sense of lack of support around your tummy or pelvis.

If you don’t have these, have had 2 periods since you finished breastfeeding and you feel ready then you MAY be ready.  But go gently, perhaps invest in some decent support shorts and stop and seek help if you notice any of the symptoms above.

Please also read our article about “How To Check If You Are Ready To Return To Exercise After Giving Birth”.  If you have the signs above call us on 01548 852355 or email info@quayphysio.co.uk requesting a postnatal check.  Alternatively go to see your GP and ask to see a Pelvic Health Physio on the NHS.