Why wait to run?
So, the 6-8-week GP check usually clears you to exercise. To exercise by which we mean? Run?
Running is a high impact exercise. The impact is transferred through your lower limbs to the pelvic floor and all the connective tissues and muscles of the abdominal wall. These all need to be sufficiently recovered from birth to withstand the load you are putting them through. Pregnancy is 9 months of hormonal changes, of increased weight bearing down on the pelvic sling, and the stretching of the abdominal muscles. Over this time your posture changes due to the bump’s weight, and there is a resulting shortening and lengthening of other muscles. Taking it easy is the standard advice due to the increase elasticity of the joints, but this is not the only reason to take your time to hit the running trail. The other concern is breast feeding, as exercise increases acid production in the milk. This has not been proven and should not be the reason to not run. Many women breasts feed for a year and you can get back to running when breast feeding, just feed before running and invest in a good running bra. My main concern is the pelvic floor. The thought of incontinence was the main phobia of mine. You are either in total control of your bladder or not, there are no half measures. A dribble now can mean issue later in later life when we hit menopause. So never be tempted to wear a pad and go for that run before you are ready. It is your body’s ways of saying I am not happy, stop, help. It can be as simple as just letting the muscles and connective tissue have a little more time to let mother nature heal, and for this period switch your mindset off high impact exercise as a necessity. Spinning classes are great at burning calories and offer a great low impact alternative. Low impact exercise can be a work out and allow you to gain strength, and get you to a better base level to get started when you are ready. There are enough options to keep it varied, fun and challenging! Let your body guide you and if anything feels wrong, then stop. There is no set time, and 6 months is the industry standard. It can be longer or shorter. After my third child it was a year before I felt ready to run again and it is always hard starting back, but it gets easier and I feel confident that my core is keeping everything in and that my pelvic floor can withstand the pressure running puts on it, and I’m glad I appear to be safe from my main phobia.