- Nov 21, 2022
A study of 110 postpartum runners states that only 32% of women waited a minimum of 6 weeks to return to running after birth.
With that being said, I thought I’d share some tips to bear in mind when returning to exercise after giving birth.
You might be asking yourself “When can I start running and working out again?”.
I know how it feels to be told “No, not yet” when asking your doctor about starting exercise again, but it’s important to listen to their advice.
Here’s 5 things to consider before you return to running after pregnancy.
Check in with your pelvic floor
Throughout your pregnancy, your body has been pumping around a lot of different hormones to prepare you for labour. Even after your baby has been born, some of the hormones are still present and will affect your exercise regime.
The hormone “relaxin” is still present for up to 8 weeks postpartum and even up to a whole year for mothers who breastfeed. For this reason, it’s important to strengthen your pelvic floor before starting any new or high-impact exercise.
Our experts say “During pregnancy, relaxin has a softening effect on the pelvic floor, due to it being 70% connective tissue. The pelvic floor muscles and vagina also stretch considerably during childbirth, and the pelvic floor may experience tearing.”
Read the full article: Lola&Lykke Experts Answer: What Happens to Your Core After Pregnancy
We also recommend wearing a postpartum support band to assist you with strengthening your core muscles and pelvic floor after birth. You can start wearing a postnatal band straight after birth, regardless of whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section.
After using the Core Restore Postpartum Belly Band, Jodie says, “I experienced abdominal separation while pregnant with Noah so the extra support to my core has been a big help with my recovery. It's recommended by my physio, and it definitely helped me out on my walks, especially in the early weeks.”
Start with gentle exercises before you run
I know you want to start hitting the pavements and clocking up the miles, but the best thing you can do before you run is to walk. Walking is a great way to exercise and it’s easy to implement with young babies. You can walk with a stroller or a baby carrier or alone, but each one will feel completely different and it’s important to be aware of your body’s limitations.
Wearing a belly band postpartum while exercising will encourage your posture to align correctly and relieve you of discomfort* while your body adjusts to its pre-pregnancy self!
*Please note, if you persistently experience pain or discomfort whilst exercising, you need to consult your physician or doctor before continuing.
You can start by wearing your postpartum band and walking on flat surfaces. When this feels easier, you can gently increase the incline. Walking downhill puts more pressure on your pelvic floor, so this is something to consider if this is what you’re working on.
We took the liberty of putting together this helpful exercise guide for new mums to follow postpartum.
Listen to your body
Mums, I’m sure you won’t need me to tell you twice.
Your body needs sleep.
It’s easy enough to say but in practice, these babies can make it quite challenging sometimes! Especially now that you’re working out, it’s even more crucial to get the rest you need.
Having the right attire can help you a lot in terms of comfort while you work out. As well as the postpartum belly band, check if you have comfortable clothes, a supportive bra (or two!) and that your shoe size is still the same as before. Your feet may still be swollen after birth or changed shape which can result in needing new shoes. If you needed an excuse to shoe shop, there it is!
Set your fitness goals postpartum
Before pregnancy, you were probably timing your workouts and stretching your runs further each week. However, when you return to exercise after childbirth, your fitness goals and priorities will look much different.
Your main priority is to regain your muscle strength, especially in your core, and match this with the right nutrition your body needs to recover. This is no time to be setting weight-loss goals or signing up for races!
Simone told Lola&Lykke after wearing her belly band, “I am now 8 weeks postpartum. I had an emergency c-section and also have diastasis recti. I have always had to work relatively hard to stay in shape pre-pregnancy. So when I saw the postnatal belt, which has been approved by physios and midwives... I knew it was something I wanted to try. I mainly wear the belt when gently exercising, it gives me the peace of mind that my core is correctly supported.”
If you’re starting exercise to regain your former shape and get rid of the “mum tum”, you can achieve great results whilst wearing a belly band postpartum. To get the best results, we recommend wearing it soon after delivery (including C-sections) or giving yourself a 24-hour rest period before wearing it.
If you choose to start wearing your back support band 3 months postpartum, you won’t necessarily get the “tummy shrinking” effect, but you will benefit from the extra support it gives to your body.
Wear a postpartum back support belt
The benefits of wearing a comfortable postpartum belly band during exercise speak for themselves with the number of women raving about how much it’s helped them in their recovery.
Daisy shared her experience after having twins, “Pregnancy puts your body through a lot of changes, and carrying twins was HARD! I've been wearing my core restore band to readjust and recover, it has really helped me to get back to me. I can now go for walks and get myself out of the bath. My posture is probably the best I've ever been.”
Wearing a post-pregnancy band gives your body that extra nudge to target areas of your body that may have weakened due to hormones and pregnancy.
Exercise is a great way to get you feeling like you again after pregnancy, but we can all agree, that slow and steady wins the race (no pun intended)!
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- Expert Advice
- Oct 6, 2022