Running Back To Running After Having A Baby
My happiness is measured in weekly running mileage, not daily diapers changes. So after having a baby, I was eager to get back to running as quickly as possible. Running gives me back my sanity, helps me through the fatigue of a newborn, provides structure during my days on mat leave, and helps get me back to pre-baby weight. But it’s not without its challenges- wardrobe issues, blocked ducts, maintaining milk supply, timing between feeds, and being so tired I can barely make a cup of coffee. But now that I’m running with my 4th baby, I’ve ironed out some tips and tricks to make a quick and smooth return to running. I have learned that each pregnancy and delivery is different, so it’s important to discuss your return to running with your doctor (they usually recommend waiting at least 6 weeks). And although I am talking about returning to running, this can be applied to any exercise or sport.
My happiness is measured in weekly running mileage, not daily diapers changes.
In most cases exercise for pregnant women is possible, as long as you were previously active and you get your doctor’s ok. Some women are able to run right throughout pregnancy! The goal is not losing weight during pregnancy, but rather keeping fit and reaping all the rewards that exercise has to offer. If you are going to run during pregnancy, take your pregnancy day by day and reassess how you feel to ensure safety for you and your baby and no injuries.
The goal is not losing weight during pregnancy, but rather keeping fit and reaping all the rewards that exercise has to offer.
How do I begin?
- Speak with your doctor to decide WHEN to begin
- Check for a Diastasis Recti. If your abdominals have split more than 2cm, begin exercises to improve this first
- Start at a level that you might have been at around 6 months pregnant
What about breastfeeding?
- Drink water (twice as much as you normally would)
- Wear additional bra support (2 sports bras)
- Run right after nursing so your breasts won’t feel heavy and full
- Take off your sports bras AS SOON as your done. This will help prevent blocked ducts
- Keep the intensity moderate to maintain adequate milk supply
What do I wear?
- Don’t expect your old workout clothes to fit or be comfortable when you first get back into it. The most important thing is to be comfortable. I was self-conscious about my larger-than-life chest, so I would throw one of my husbands t-shirts over my 2 layers of sports bras. You won’t be stylish those first few months, so throw on a hat and sunglasses and go incognito.
- Wear shoes that are slightly more supportive than you would normally wear to counteract any increased weight and decreased ligament strength in your feet
- With a Diastasis Recti, consider wearing an abdominal splint such as the FitSplint
How do I find the time between feeds and diaper changes?
- Prepare your workout clothes and equipment, nurse the baby while drinking water, burp and change baby, pump if you need to, then head out for your run.
- Use a running stroller! No need for childcare, it is quality time with your baby, great for napping, and baby will never go hungry (I’ve had to nurse a few times mid-run!), and super toned arms!
- Check with your doctor that your child is old enough to accompany you on a run, and that your stroller is supportive enough for small necks.
Wear comfortable and supportive clothing
You can run/exercise AND breastfeed
Do not do high intensity
Stay well hydrated
Use a running stroller
Are you an addict of stationary bike workouts like Dr Dina?
Learn some diastasis recti exercises here.
Want to know how to reduce tummy fat?
Jody is a mom of 4 boys under the age of 4 and lives to tell about it! In her ‘spare time’ she works as an Orthopaedic Physiotherapist (treating athletes and pre/post-natal women), competes in triathlons, and drinks lattes!