When I was pregnant with both my children I had to give up running due to the growth weight of my baby. I remember dreaming about getting back into running, and I looked forward to hitting the pavement after my births.
But I knew I needed to listen to my body, ease back into it and take one step at the time.
I am often queried by mums about the effects of running on the post pregnancy body and here’s what I say:
- If you are experiencing any signs of leakage (stress incontinence) then perhaps it is too soon for you. Consider backing off the pace and do fast paced walking instead.
- You need to strengthen your muscles from the inside & out with regular pelvic floor exercises. Almost 2 in 10 women have a naturally weak pelvic floor before even having babies. All women should exercise their pelvic floor and as tedious as the exercises are, they are important especially if you are going to try some higher impact sports like running.
- Before you head out for a jog go to the bathroom as you don’t want any extra pressure down south.
- Again I mention your pelvic floor but this time in relation to ab work. Avoid doing situps as they strongly increase the pressure within the abdomen which pushes down on the pelvic floor muscles. One of the key roles of the pelvic floor is to hold up the bladder against downward ab pressure. If you are looking to improve core strength try exercises like prone hold, balance work on swiss balls, bosu balls, wobble boards, 4 point kneels (opposite arm / leg holds), heel slides (we do all these at Baby Boot Camp) where you are concentrating on pulling you belly button in.
- Try jogging on softer surfaces, grass is good, less impact.
- If you are breast feeding your baby YOU must wear a protective sports bra. You don’t want to be boucing all over the place, plus it’s painful. Don’t wear wired bras though as they cut off your milk supply. You may find you need to wear 2 bras…I did!
- You need to drink a minimum of 3 litres of water per day if you are breast feeding your baby and exercising. A midwife once told me 2 litres for you and 1 litre for your baby. Very easy to remember.
- If you are experiencing any post pregnancy niggles with your knees while you are running, you need to incorporate some strengthening exercises into your fitness regimen. In particular, you need to be targetting your upper legs and glutes (or butt). Or you might need a new pair of runners if you have knee pain. Best excuse to give to your hubby anyway. I have knee pain babe I need new shoes!!