The Truth About Running After Childbirth
There are countless stories in the media about famous women regaining their pre-baby bodies months or even weeks after giving birth. Usually a sign that the woman in question is about to release an exercise dvd, these sorts of stories have had a big effect on how ‘normal’ women feel about their bodies.
But what if your reason for wanting to hit the gym isn’t to slim down, but because you genuinely love exercise?
If you’ve already had to gradually scale down your exercise routine while you were pregnant you’re probably itching to get sweaty again. The advice most doctors give is that it’s ok to resume exercise 6 weeks after giving birth. But is this true?
The Risks of Running After Pregnancy
As frustrating as this is to hear, your body will probably take more time than you think to get back to how it was before you were pregnant. We don’t mean in the tabloid ‘pre-baby body’ way – your muscles, ligaments and bone structure have all been massively altered by carrying a baby, making it a lot more vulnerable to injury.
The reason that your body can take so long to recover is the effect of post-pregnancy hormones, which increase the ‘laxity’ of your pelvic floor muscles. This makes it a lot easier for them to become overstretched and strained, leading to pelvic floor disorders. Hormones also make your joints hypermobile, which increases the risk of sprains and breaks. You can start doing low impact exercise like swimming from 6 weeks. However, it’s important to be patient when it comes to running.
The idea that we can’t exercise because our bodies are ‘weak’ isn't something most female athletes want to hear – even if it’s temporarily true. Our friend Yvonne over at EVB Sportswear has tackled this in a recent blog called What Fear Looks Like? Yvonne was spurred on by an article in the Irish Times that scoffed at the idea of running causing a risk to the pelvic floor, suggesting that it’s a sexist myth. The fact is, running post-partum will damage your pelvic floor if you’re not careful.
As a company who are all about empowering women, we definitely don’t want to dissuade you from running if it’s something you love to do. We know that if you’re a dedicated athlete even medical advice won’t keep you away from your trainers for long. But please consider the following advice for exercising responsibly; consequences like incontinence and prolapse just aren’t worth it!
Are you a new mum who’s struggled to get back into exercise?
Or maybe you’ve managed it and have some tips to share with other mums? There’s not enough info out there for women like you, so leave a comment below and let’s start the conversation!