Running after pregnancy

Back in the olden days, being pregnant meant hanging up your running shoes and sitting very still until the arrival of the blessed bundle. But today keeping active while pregnant is encouraged by doctors. You just need to know how to go about it safely.

Today we’ve teamed up with the wonderful Jill of Running With Curves to bring you two helpful posts, written by Julia who’s not only coached a gazillion pregnant women but also ran during her own two pregnancies.

Firstly over on Jill’s blog, Julia shares all her wisdom on how to run safely during pregnancy. Meanwhile right here, she tells you how to ease back into running after the baby arrives.

. . .

After months of walking around with the biggest pregnancy belly ever, the day had come to finally to get back to running.

Coach Julia Jones training while pregnant
Julia and bump, about to bust out some gentle step ups.

I’d dreamed of this moment and couldn’t wait to get out the door. After dutifully breastfeeding my newborn and leaving her with the anxious Daddy-O, I dug out my stretchiest running clothes and set off for my inaugural post-pregnancy workout.

I hadn’t even reached the corner of the block when I had to turn around and head back home. It wasn’t so much the flopping breasts in need of more serious scaffolding so as much as the capri pants that were … um… soaked all the way down to my knees.

I needed a new plan!

Getting back to running after a pregnancy is almost never how you imagine it to be. Your body has temporarily changed and feels unfamiliar. You’re not used to your new sleeping schedule of snoozing in two to four hour bursts. You might not even want to get back to running right away, especially if the birth didn’t go as planned.

Getting started

Don’t feel like you need to rush back into training. Start out with short walks with your newborn and wait until you’re absolutely ready. When that moment appears here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your obstetrician will most likely give you a timeframe for returning to physical activity, depending on whether you had a c-section or vaginal birth. Use those first weeks to get as much rest as you can. If you feel anxious to get moving go for some easy walks.
  • If you’re breastfeeding you’re going to need a good running bra, even using two at the same time! I used a simple bra with a running bra over it so everything stayed in place while I ran. After about two months, when my baby had established a breastfeeding schedule, breast volume decreased and one sports bra was enough.
  • If you had a vaginal birth you might live with an incontinence problem for a few months. Start your Kegel exercises right away, practice them as often as you can… or forever. In the meantime use a extra absorbent pad when you run.

On running and breastfeeding

  • I made it my personal goal to run a marathon within a year of my children’s births. I’d heard that babies had sensitive palates and didn’t particularly like exercise tainted breast milk. So in the beginning I was very careful to breastfeed before a run. Then one day I walked in the door after a run and my daughter, who recognised me as the human milk machine, wanted to eat NOW. That’s when I learned that it really didn’t matter whether I fed them before or after a run. For them it was all the same.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to compensate for your workouts and to help keep up your milk supply.
  • If at any time your supply temporarily diminishes, cut back on the running and take naps with your baby. Sleep and rest is the fastest way to return to normal. Plus, who can turn down an invite to nap with a sweet newborn?