How to return to running after having a baby

After pregnancy, the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are weak and in some cases injured. Running, like other high-impact activities, causes a sudden rise in intra-abdominal pressure. There is also a lot of force going through the lower limb each time the foot impacts the ground, and some of this will be transmitted to the pelvic floor. It is therefore really important that we make sure the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are able to handle this increased pressure before going back to running.

Running too early can actually lead to further issues with the pelvic floor, including urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and pelvic organ prolapsed. At EDY Yann, I can assess the abdominal wall and pelvic floor, providing an individualized rehabilitation program to help prevent these complications.

Give it time
It takes time to heal and regain strength, and therefore returning to running is not recommended before three months at the earliest. For some women, it can take much longer before the body is ready. This does not mean that you can’t do any exercise at all before though.
We can guide you through a low-impact exercise program that starts with the pelvic floor and basic core exercises while gradually increasing your walking.
As your fitness starts to improve you can then begin to introduce other low impact cardio exercises such as cycling on a static bike and swimming, as well as some bodyweight strengthening exercises, progressing to exercises using light weights.
You need to know if you’re doing too much too soon though.

If you notice any of the following symptoms it is important that you seek advice from us:

  • Pelvic or lower back pain
  • Leaking of urine or loss of control of bowel movements
  • Heavy or dragging sensation in pelvic area
  • A gap or bulging in your tummy

Walk before you can run

Starting with a simple run/walk – running for just a minute at a time at an easy pace, it is best to gauge how the body is feeling. Then, you can work on gradually increasing the time/distance you are running for.
If any issues arise as you start increasing the training volume then please do book in to see us for an assessment and program to get you where you need to be. You will need to walk before you can run!

My top tips:

  1. Start doing your pelvic floor exercises straight away and do them every day.
  2. Walk rather than use the car whenever you can. It’s much easier than getting the baby in and out of the car too!
  3. Do not rush into running. Listen to your body, you will get there.
  4. Set a goal to keep you motivated.
  5. Make sure you have the right gear – good trainers and a supportive sports bra are a must.
  6. If you’re breastfeeding, time your runs so you can run soon after feeding.

Rest is important too – especially when you are sleep deprived so be realistic and stick to 2-3 runs a week.