Running Postpartum: How Soon After Childbirth Can I Begin?
How soon after birth can I run? Hold up. Running postpartum can look and feel entirely different compared to prepregnancy. Your body has gone through a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally. Running postpartum requires a solid foundation as well as compassion and grace for your physical body. Slow is fast for running postpartum.
While you may feel great at two weeks postpartum, we want to remind you that soft tissue structures inside your body are still healing.
Thinking about an ankle sprain, which is a soft tissue injury, it takes four to twelve weeks, or even longer, for a ligament to heal based on the severity of the situation.
In order to support and hold up the uterus inside your pelvis and core region there are three pairs of ligaments: cardinal, pubocervical, uterosacral. Your uterus grows to the size of a watermelon during pregnancy—almost 500 times its original size. I’m going to venture out and say that birth would fall in the category of “severe sprain” and a minimum of eight to twelve weeks of intentional healing is necessary before running exercises.
Have you heard about our Postpartum Timeline?
Before stepping foot on a trail, treadmill, or the street, we encourage everyone to engage in a lying in period. This is 30 days of bonding with your baby and nourishing yourself. After the lying in period, we recommend the BIRTHFIT Basics: Postpartum to everyone. This can either be done 30 days in a row or every other day for six days (and walking on the alternate days). After completing the BIRTHFIT Basics, only then do we give the green light to use our Return to Running Program or our Postpartum Training, which has dynamic movement and running sprinkled throughout.
Notice that only after eight or twelve weeks do we “give permission” to begin running. We feel like eight to twelve weeks is what should be the minimum recommended time for healing before returning to or trying running, jumping, and other dynamic movements. This includes your CrossFit class, Orange Theory, and even triathlon training or power yoga.
When you start dynamic movement like running and/or jumping again, you are exposing your body to a possible ceiling or threshold. You may be fine the first week or on runs of 1 mile or less. Then when week two rolls around or you run 2 miles you may reach your current threshold with urinary incontinence or new bleeding or pain anywhere in your pelvis. Stop what you’re doing. Rest, recover, and reflect. You may need to go another two weeks without dynamic movement. You may need to get more intentional with your breathing and practicing your stability breath when warming up with the BIRTHFIT Basics. And/or, you may need to visit a pelvic floor PT and put exercise on a pause. All of this is okay. Nothing is wrong with you. You are healing.
A 2012 University of Salford study, conducted by Dr Julie Wray concluded that women need a year to recover both physically and emotionally after childbirth. (Huffington Post Article). Keep in mind that every birth experience is different and everyone’s healing timeline varies.
Dynamic movements in the initial year postpartum may feel like two steps forward and one step back. It’s okay. Show up, be present, and work with the version of your body that you have today.
If you want to check your postpartum core for diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) read this post for step-by-step instructions.
Get Started Below
B! Community: https://birthfit.com/b-community/
Prenatal Programs: https://birthfit.com/about/pregnancy/
Postpartum Programs: https://birthfit.com/about/postpartum/
BIRTHFIT Education: https://birthfit.com/education/birthfiteducation/