Did you know, you shouldn’t exercise until at least 6 weeks post birth, longer if you have had a c section or other complications have occurred. However high impact exercise including running should be avoided for up to 5 months post delivery
Other high impact exercises include aerobics and basically anything which you jump around in such as plyometric exercises like jump squats, box jumps, etc.
Why is this?
The effects of relaxin (the hormone which relaxes joints in the body during pregnancy) can stay in the body for months after birth, longer if breastfeeding, so will effect joint stability including knees and ankles. High impact exercises are also stressful to the pelvic floor and can increase the risk of prolapse.
What can I do instead?
Within 24 hours of giving birth you can actually start performing certain abdominal exercises and pelvic floor. Even though it may feel uncomfortable doing your pelvic floor exercises straight after birth it will actually help with the healing and any discomfort you may have.
Within the first 6 weeks you can also stay relatively active day to day with walking, increasing this each week to build up your cardiovascular fitness levels.
After the first 6 weeks, as long as you have been ticked off and have been given the okay to go back into exercise with no other complications, then certain exercises can be started such as strength exercises, swimming and low impact cardio exercises.
It takes 9 months for your body to grow a baby, thats quite a long time with your body going through a lot of changes so why do women not think it could take that long for their bodies to fully recover? It can take months if not a whole year to be back at pre pregnancy state.
My best advice is to be patient, give your body time, focus on strengthening up your pelvic floor and your abdominals, focus on postural alignment and build up some strength everywhere else before you rush straight into running.
Most importantly give your body the rest it needs. Then when the time is right start with a achievable goal such as a parkrun or couch to 5k.
Your body and fitness will not be the same as it was pre baby so don’t assume you can go straight back to how you were, it will take time.
Please remember every single person is different and there are sooo many factors to take into consideration when it comes to post natal exercise, so it can be very individual.
This is not to say that if you go straight into running sooner and decide to go for a big running goal that something will happen – the risks are just higher and can have complications for the future.