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How soon can i run after giving birth
Postpartum exercise: When it's safe to start running and lifting after pregnancy | Your Pregnancy Matters
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Your Pregnancy Matters
May 11, 2021
Your Pregnancy Matters
Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, M. D. Obstetrics and Gynecology
Most patients should wait at least 12 weeks after giving birth to resume running or lifting weights.
Cardio exercise and weight training are two great ways for women to clear their minds and build strong, healthy bodies. It's normal to want to hop back into your regular workout routine – or start a new one – after your Ob/Gyn clears you at your six-week postpartum checkup.
But your body will still be healing for at least six more weeks for a typical vaginal birth. Most new moms should wait at least 12 weeks before easing back into more intense workouts, such as running or lifting weights.
The 2019 postpartum exercise guidelines, endorsed by the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine, shows that waiting can reduce the risk of serious health conditions such as hernias, muscle tears, falls, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse – when the bladder and uterus droop into the vagina.
The 12-week milestone is geared toward patients who had a normal pregnancy and vaginal delivery. Your doctor may suggest waiting longer if you had:
A cesarean section (C-section)
Obesity prior to pregnancy
Diastasis recti (improper healing of the abdominal muscles)
Excessive scar tissue in the pelvic area
But having to wait doesn't mean you can't do any exercise. In fact, staying idle will further delay your return to more intense workouts.
Most moms can start walking up to 30 minutes at a slow to moderate pace a few days after delivery. The best way to know what pace you need to go is to listen to your body. When walking, you should be able to easily carry a conversation or sing a song on your playlist.
Yoga is another great choice to improve flexibility, balance, and overall strength. During the postpartum period, it's also important to rebuild a strong pelvic floor – the muscles and tissues that hold up the bladder and uterus.
In a previous article, my physical therapy colleague Taylor Price, P.T., D.P.T., C.A.P.P., explained 10 pelvic floor strengthening exercises most patients can safely do two to six weeks postpartum. Now, she'll discuss how to safely return to running or lifting weights after having a baby.
Running after pregnancy
Why do I have to wait 12 weeks to start running?
Even if you had an easy pregnancy and delivery, your muscles and ligaments were stretched beyond their normal state, causing instability and weakening. These tissues take a long time to strengthen and heal – approximately 16 weeks at minimum, though many women need up to six months for complete healing.
How do I know I'm ready to run?
After 12 weeks, you can gauge your strength with a few physical tests. If you're ready to run, you should be able to:
Complete your pelvic floor strength circuit without difficulty.
Jog in place for one minute.
Balance steadily on one leg (each side) for 10 seconds.
Hop on one leg (each side) 10 times without pain or loss of balance.
Perform single-leg "running man" moves (opposite arm and leg extension) 10 times on each side.
Do 20 each of these single-leg exercises per side:
Bridge while lying on your back.
How much running is safe at first?
We recommend patients start with no more than three 20-minute sessions a week. Those should break down into intervals of 20 seconds jogging, followed by two minutes of walking. You'll run about three minutes and walk about 17, laying a solid base of continuous movement.
The next week, add 10 seconds to your running intervals, then 10 more the next week. In five weeks, you'll be running a full minute at a time. Over the next few weeks, you can gradually cut down your walk breaks and increase your run time until you're running a solid 20 minutes.
It's best to start without a jogging stroller, which requires a little more effort. If you choose to bring the baby, you'll want to progress even slower. Pay attention to your body mechanics – don't slouch as you run and remember to breathe as you rebuild musculature and endurance.
Related reading: 3 exercises to avoid during pregnancy – and 7 that are safer
Lifting weights after pregnancy
Why do I have to wait 12 weeks after giving birth to lift weights?
It only takes two weeks for the body to lose endurance and muscle. Even if you were working out until the day you delivered, you likely stopped during the postpartum period – that's a good thing.
In that time, your muscles likely lost some strength. It can also take up to 12 weeks for the muscles, vaginal tissues, and ligaments to completely heal. If you try to jump back in where you left off, you'll be at increased risk for injury.
But you can get your muscles back – safely – if you work toward incremental goals and listen to your body.
How do I know I'm ready to start lifting?
You should be able to complete your pelvic floor workouts with little or no difficulty. You should also be able to do at least 10 squats and 10 deadlifts (with a PVC pipe or broomstick) with no weight and proper form.
When starting to add weight, you should start with dumbbells (10-20 lbs.) then progress up to the weight of a barbell. Then, transition to the barbell. If at any point you are unable to maintain proper form, move back to the previous weight and try increasing repetitions.
Most importantly, you must be able to do all these things without holding your breath, which increases your risk of injury, such as pulling a muscle or falling. It also increases pressure on your pelvic floor, which can lead to developing pelvic organ prolapse. Breathing is key to healthy blood flow and oxygenation.
How much lifting is safe at first?
For most patients, we recommend resistance training 2-3 times a week for the first four weeks you return to exercise. Start by squatting without weight. Once that is easy, start using either a 10 lb. kettlebell or dumbbells.
Once you have worked up to 40 repetitions, you can consider increasing the weight by 5-10 lbs. From there, you can continue increasing until you reach your desired weight. Once you start getting into more challenging weights, you may only want to increase 2.5 lbs. at one time.
Forty repetitions is a general guideline. If you are:
Training more for power, such as lifting large bags of soil a few times from the car to the garden, you may want to decrease with repetitions and increase the weight.
Training to improve endurance for daily tasks, such as lifting laundry, your children, or groceries, you may want to increase the reps and maintain a lower weight.
Signs you might be overdoing it
If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Doing too much too fast can increase your risk of injuries such as hernias, torn muscles, falls, or pelvic organ prolapse.
Stop your workouts and contact the doctor if you experience:
Sharp, sudden pain anywhere
Pain or pressure in your pelvic floor
Keep tabs on your mental health, too. Call your Ob/Gyn if you feel overly stressed or irritated about missing a workout or feel as if you aren't doing enough. You may be experiencing a form of postpartum anxiety.
Related reading: Urinary incontinence is not ‘normal’ – but it is treatable
When to see a pelvic floor physical therapist
If you are breastfeeding, your joints may be "looser" due to hormonal changes. The laxity may increase your risk of injury, such as overextended knees or rolled ankles. Before you start running, check with your doctor to make sure your body is ready to support your workouts.
If your Ob/Gyn has signed off on your health and you feel ready to ramp up, you can get started after that 12-week milestone. However, if you have pelvic health concerns or just want to get the healthiest start, consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist first. We can help you strengthen weak areas and create a plan to safely reach your goals.
As you resume intensive exercise, keep two things in mind:
Your body just made and delivered a baby. That takes a lot of work, and almost no one bounces back overnight.
Don't compare yourself to elite athletes or celebrities. They likely had extreme fitness training and medical supervision during pregnancy and postpartum, which is an unrealistic scenario for most people.
If you’re ready to get back to working out, visit with your Ob/Gyn or a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you rebuild a solid and safe foundation.
Call 214-645-8300 to request an appointment, or you canuse our online form.
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How to Start Running Postpartum
Many new mother runners have two things in common: 1. They are tired. 2. BUT, they aren’t too tired to want to run ASAP. But running postpartum requires a bit more than finding the will and the way. (Usually, that’s the hardest part for starting a running habit, right?). No, it requires ensuring your body is READY when your head is. Jump in too quickly and we could get seriously hurt — not ideal when we’re trying to care for a tiny human.
I remember wanting to run a couple of days after I got home from the hospital. Like many new moms, I wanted to feel like my old self again. I wanted that time to myself. I wanted to be outdoors and feel free! And, sure, like many new moms, I wanted to lose the baby weight and LOOK like my old self again, too.
And, I wish I could tell you I was responsible…that I saw a pelvic floor specialist, diligently strengthened my floor and deep core, and walked for weeks before starting to run again.
No, I did not do that. Why not? Because no one told me to. After I got the all-clear from my doctor about one month postpartum, I started running again.
Thankfully, medical professionals are now filling in the gap around postpartum health. Physical therapists worldwide are clamoring to be heard loud and clear that women are returning to running postpartum TOO SOON and it is creating a host of issues related to pelvic floor health and running injuries. They want more information available about our floor and core, and a better rehab plan standardized so that we can return to running postpartum safely.
Related: Postpartum Running Plan
Pin these postpartum running tips for later!
When can I start running after having a baby?
It is common for most women to return to exercise between 6 and 8 weeks after having a baby. Around 6 weeks postpartum, most women are no longer bleeding and their uterus is back to its normal size (especially if you’re breastfeeding).
Related: 8 Clever Tips for Running While Breastfeeding
However, the timeline varies widely for women and it can be confusing:
Some moms may hear, you can run after giving birth as long as you are no longer bleeding. Some moms may hear you can run after giving birth 3 weeks postpartum. Many moms get the all-clear to resume exercise at their 6-week check-up as long as everything is feeling good.
But, many professionals advise doubling that number. A 2019 study by famed UK physiotherapist Tom Goom (who has incredible information for runners), and colleagues Grainne Donnelly, and Emma Brockwell, strongly suggest women wait 12 weeks before resuming running. (Walking and other lower-impact impact activities are encouraged!).
Why the new timeline? Well, the truth is, many of us are mentally ready to run before our bodies are. Some may be ready before that 12-week mark but it’s important to be screened for readiness. The researchers explain what happens biologically that needs to reverse before we hit the pavement or trails:
“The levator hiatus widens during pregnancy and increases significantly during vaginal birth. Recovery time for the tissues is understood to be between 4-6 months, well beyond the traditional concept of full recovery by the 6-week postnatal check,” states the study. “If we consider cesarean section deliveries, we understand that abdominal fascia has only regained just over 50% of original tensile strength by 6-weeks post abdominal surgery and 73%-93% of original tensile strength by 6-7 months.”
The researchers note that pelvic health physiotherapists around the world are passionate about raising awareness of the extended recovery period that is actually needed. Indeed, soft tissue is only about 75% healed at 6 weeks.
“Often for litigation purposes, the 6-week milestone is one that serves as a tick box confirming readiness and suitability to return to an exercise class, sporting activity, or elite training. The healing process, however, extends well beyond this, and it is essential that the narrative on this subject changes and adapts to better serve our sporting women.”
It is now recommended that new moms wait at least 12 weeks before resuming running postpartum.
How do you start running after giving birth?
Here’s your step-by-step guide to start running postpartum.
Step 1: Assess your pelvic floor health
First thing’s first, you need to figure out if your body is ready to start running postpartum.
Dr. Carrie Pagliano, a physical therapist and pelvic floor specialist, just released a free at-home 10 step screen based on the new UK guidelines that help assess whether you’re ready to return to running. The exercise test can help you pinpoint trouble spots to work on so that you’re using your time most productively.
Signs you should see a doctor when resuming running after pregnancy
Some warning signs that you may have pelvic floor dysfunction include if you:
leak when running or sneezing, coughing, or jumping (which is common among 15-30% of first-time moms)
have pressure in the pelvic area
have low back pain or lumbar pelvic pain,
or have pain during intercourse.
Even if you don’t have these issues, it’s important to see assess your pelvic floor health for hidden or underlying issues.
“How much you ran during pregnancy or how you delivered does not necessarily dictate your postpartum pelvic floor health,” shares Dr. Pagliano, who has helped hundreds of moms with postpartum rehabilitation. “I actually worry more about those that don’t have early symptoms. They push too early and end up falling backward fast sometimes…It’s harder physically because they didn’t take the time to build a foundation and mentally because they feel like the rug was pulled out from under them.”
A pelvic floor specialist can examine you for diastasis recti, a separation of the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, which meet at the midline of your stomach. Diastasis recti is very common postpartum because the uterus stretches the muscles of your stomach as your baby grows.
A specialist like Dr. Pagliano is available for further guidance virtually or you can seek a local pelvic floor specialist.
Related: A practical guide to stop leaking
Step 2: Strengthen your core & pelvic floor
A pelvic floor specialist will give you exercises to address issues and restrengthen your core and floor postpartum.
“The muscles, ligaments, and tendons stretch out a bit during pregnancy,” explains Celeste Goodson, founder of ReCORE Fitness, who has helped practically every elite mother runner return to running postpartum. “There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, including hormone levels, genetics, how much room the baby has, how big the baby is, carrying multiples, etc. This makes the muscles lose neural connection and strength.”
Doing a program like ReCORE or tapping into the ReCORE YouTube program will help you strengthen that core. (I recommend this program for my pregnant and postpartum athletes.) Specifically, look at videos that teach inner core basics (like the Ab Sets) and how to engage the core and pelvic floor.
and bridges are sample exercises to work that core.
A pelvic floor specialist or a program like ReCORE will also teach you good breathing mechanics, core control (not letting the belly bulge during an exercise), and rotational resistance exercises. These are excellent strengths to enhance your running and prevent injury. Additionally, a specialist or therapist will be able to release tired muscles readying them for strength work, instead of having them to over-fatigue instead of getting stronger.
Step 3: Assess your alignment
Many pregnant women have an anterior pelvic tilt which is when your pelvis is tipped forward and downward.
Many mother runners have an anterior pelvic tilt postpartum. Simple exercises you can do at home can correct your alignment and save you from injury.
Dr. Lauren Levko, doctor of physical therapy and founder of PhysioLab PT, says this is common because during and after pregnancy the core stabilizers, primarily the transverse abdominus, are weakened and the pelvis has more laxity due to hormonal changes allowing for a forward tip of the pelvis and a C shape of the spine.
This can lead to increased risk of a hamstring strain, hip flexor tendinopathy, gluteal tendinopathy, and could exacerbate diastasis recti if present. You can tell if you have an anterior pelvic tilt if you have a protruding lower abdomen and tight back and hamstrings. Your pelvic floor specialist can also assess for this and give you exercises you can do at home.
stretching hip flexors,
performing deep core stabilizing movements,
performing diaphragmatic breathing exercises,
strengthening the external and internal rotators of your hips, and
Once again, all these exercises are important for runners to perform anyway.
Step 4: Work on your breath
With your body properly aligned with your ribs over your glutes, it’s time to work on diaphragmatic breathing. (You feel your breath coming from your ribs as opposed to your tummy). This type of breathing aids in running while strengthening and healing your inner core and pelvic floor.
“Breathing is the secret sauce to energy efficiency,” explains Melanie Connell is the owner of Remedy Physical Therapy & Wellness. “You can learn simple breathing techniques like diaphragmatic breathing to regulate your breath during a run as well as downregulate your body during recovery.”
Diaphragmatic breathing strengthens the diaphragm, thereby decreasing oxygen demand, slowing your breath, and using less effort and energy to breathe. Melanie adds that with breathing “when you breathe well during running, you can trust that your pelvic floor will work alongside the breath pattern. It happens automatically but where some people make mistakes is when they try to kegel and tense up when they run.”
Here’s how to do diaphragmatic breathing:
Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage.
Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.
Do this exercise 5-10 minutes about 3-4 times per day.
Related: How to breathe when you run
Walk before running. Then begin a walk/.run program.Step 5: Walk before running
Practically every running coach, pelvic floor specialist, and physical therapist agree that before you run you better WALK.
“Walking is great,” says Dr. Pagliano. “There’s a huge difference between walking with a stroller versus walking with a baby carrier. Both are great but walking with a carrier will obviously be slower and have more pressure and weight. Watch for red flags such as pressure, pain, and leakage of urine, stool, or gas.”
Begin with flat even surfaces. When that feels comfortable, progress to uneven surfaces, and hills. Hillwalking repeats are tremendous for restrengthening that core.
“Going uphill is easier on the pelvic floor than downhill. This gives a chance for the pelvic floor and leg and core muscles to get stronger and prep for impact,” explains Celeste. “Then do walk/running intervals, then running. This can be several weeks to a few months of gradual progression depending on the issues women are dealing with.”
Related: After-baby return to running plan
Step 6: Resume running & pace yourself
Running coach Bobby Holcombe advises to gradually increase mileage, pace, terrain, and the number of days you run gradually.
Generally, you should aim to introduce a new variable or increase the distance every 2-3 weeks to allow for the soft tissue to become stronger from the new stimulus. You can increase distance 10-30% every 3 weeks, just as you would when rehabbing a running injury. And just as you would with physical therapy for an injury, as you return to running after having a baby, it is incredibly wise to continue your pelvic floor and core exercises.
Here are 5 steps for returning to running after having a baby:
Walk before you run. Walking is the best XT to ready your body for running. As long as you’re cleared by your doc, you can start walking right away. When you’re able to walk for about a half-hour without pain/discomfort, you’re ready to try a run/walk. (This will likely be between 6 and 12 weeks postpartum).
Start with short run/walk intervals on a flat, level surface. Gradually elongate the time you run and shorten the time you walk so that you work up to consistently running for a half-hour. At this point, you can segue to running.
Alternate run and cross-training days. Do not run consecutive days yet.
Meanwhile, work on your core and pelvic floor! Consider doing the 6-week Recore Postpartum Plan.
Reduce your mileage by 30 percent every third week to absorb the stress and build back stronger!
Related: How the Pros Return to Running
Throughout this process you should:
Listen to your body
You can safely and comfortably start running after having a baby if you follow these tips.
If something feels really uncomfortable, don’t force it. Back off for a couple of days and try to ease back in again. If something’s really hurting, talk to your doctor.
Eat & drink wisely
Up your iron.What’s the biggest mistake new moms make? They cut back calories while simultaneously upping mileage—that’s a recipe for injury, says nutritionist Betsy Johnson.
In order to be healthy and energized, new moms need to focus on eating the right foods, like those containing iron. In fact, one in five women is iron deficient. Focus on eating iron-rich foods like meats, fish, leafy greens, and chocolate.
Drink that milk. Be sure to get enough calcium—especially those of you who’re breastfeeding which requires extra calcium intake. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women who breastfeeding consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day.
Ask your doctor if it’s a good idea to take a calcium supplement. Consider continuing to take your prenatal vitamins as well if you are still nursing.
Shake up that protein.Breastfeeding moms also need to make sure they’re getting enough protein. After growing a baby for 9 months and then supplying it with protein-rich breast milk, it’s necessary to replenish your own.
Aim for five to seven servings of quality protein every day.
Stay hydrated. You need to stay hydrated but don’t gorge yourself on water. Drink what you would normally drink if not breastfeeding (which should be about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water per pound that you weigh – so 65 ounces for a 130-pound woman) and then more to thirst after that.
Related: The Best Foods to Eat Postpartum
Get the right running gearA splint like the Fit Splint from ReCORE can aid in optimal postpartum recovery.
Support your middle. ReCORE’s Post-Natal FITSplint supports your abdominal muscles without restricting movement or breathing. It keeps you from getting injured and allows you to safely work on strengthening stretched-out muscles.
Make sure the shoe fits. Ensure your running shoes fit your post-partum feet which may have enlarged post-pregnancy. If your shoes still fit, ensure your shoes don’t have too many miles on them and provide plenty of support. If the soles are worn around the sides and on the treads, it’s time to get new ones.
Get the right bra. Chances are your prepartum sports bra isn’t going to fit your postpartum chest. You need more support and room. Popular running bras with “mother runners” are the Motherhood Maternity racerback nursing bra and the Lululemon’s Enlite bra for their support and comfort.
Related: The 4 Best Nursing Sports Bras for Runners
If you’re nursing, be sure to nurse or pump before you head out the door to be more comfortable and bide more time being away from your baby. Also, don’t stay in your sports bra. It could lead to blockage or worse, warns The Mother Runners Co-coach Laura Norris: “The compression of sports bras can block milk ducts which can lead to mastitis,” she explains. “Only wear sports bras to run in. Change in and out of them quickly to avoid blockage.”
Sleep as much as possible!
Make sure you get as much sleep as you can. Your body and mind are working overtime. Sleep experts recommend an extra minute of sleep per weekly mileage. So, if you run 20 miles a week, you need an extra 20 minutes a night to repair from the stress of running. Throw in caring and feeding a baby, and that number goes up. If you have an opportunity to rest, take it. It will help your body recover much faster!
I know many of us are itching to get back to running as fast as possible but patience will pay off! And, thankfully there are plenty of resources out there for you to rehab at home while spending time with your new love.
I offer specialized running coaching for new moms and moms-to-be. Check out my Coaching Services page!
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How to return to running after childbirth, and is it possible for a nursing mother to run
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The birth of a child is a long-awaited moment in a woman's life. With a storm of emotions and love, a new stage begins, and the usual things fade into the background. Among them are sports, for which there is often simply not enough time.
But many of us still think about physical activity and wonder when it is possible to resume activities (in our case, running training) after childbirth, and whether they are compatible with breastfeeding.
When can I return to running after giving birth?
Before going out for your first run, you need to visit a gynecologist. Each woman is individual, and the state of the body after childbirth is different. Someone is ready to run only after being discharged from the hospital, and someone will not be able even after six months.
If the examination by the doctor showed that everything is in order, then after 6-8 weeks you can start training.
Doctors set such a period due to the fact that the woman should end up with postpartum discharge. It is also the minimum period that the body needs to recover and not be in a tired and exhausted state.
Women who have given birth by cesarean should abstain from physical activity for at least three months. You can resume training only with the permission of a doctor.
You need to start lightly and gradually, do not set serious goals right away. Just enjoy every run, even if it's the slowest pace you've ever run.
Also do stretching and gradually connect exercises to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, which are in a weakened state after childbirth. If possible, it will be useful to take a course of massage.
What kind of discomfort can you experience when running after giving birth?
Shortness of breath and bitterness in the mouth
It seems as if you did not run a kilometer at the slowest pace, but did a good tempo work for acceleration. What to do? Start very slowly and feel free to take a step to restore your pulse and breathing.
Pain in the lumbar region
Discomfort is associated with the fact that during pregnancy there was constant fetal pressure on the back, and the muscles gradually relaxed under the influence of relaxin.
The muscles of the pelvic floor function as a kind of straps that hold the bladder and its neck in a "suspended" state. In addition, they form an external sphincter.
After childbirth, these muscles often weaken, leading to prolapse of the pelvic organs and, as a result, urinary incontinence.
To return the pelvic floor muscles to their previous state, the so-called Kegel exercises are recommended. This is a set of movements that alternately contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles. After regular performance of such exercises, urine output during incontinence decreases.
Pain in the pelvic bones
During pregnancy, a woman's pelvis changes to make childbirth easier. The pelvic bones separate. The strongest change affects the pubic symphysis. Blood flow to it increases, ligaments and soft tissues swell, and thus a discrepancy of several millimeters is formed.
Excessive development of the pubic symphysis leads to changes in the osteoarticular system of the body. This takes on the appearance of a pathology, and the pelvis after childbirth brings discomfort and pain.
In such a situation, a doctor's consultation and treatment is required. To prevent discrepancy, micronutrient-enriched nutrition, light physical activity, and a course of physiotherapy are recommended. But intensive loads at first will still be banned.
Pain in the joints
Pain in the joints after childbirth occurs due to a large load on them during pregnancy, or due to a lack of calcium in the body. It can also be just the process of restoring the body, which occurs in each woman individually. In addition, a woman with a baby spends a lot of time on her feet, which also leads to fatigue and pain in the joints.
Standard advice: take your vitamins, take time to stretch, and get as much rest as possible. In case of pain and fatigue, it is better to postpone training.
Unstable emotional state and hormonal background
During pregnancy, the hormonal background changes greatly, and it takes a certain time to restore it. To make the process faster and easier, it is recommended to eat well, get enough vitamin D, engage in light physical activity, and improve your emotional background.
Adjustment of the hormonal background directly affects the condition of the baby and lactation in a woman. If running brings you pleasure, and there are no contraindications to it, then this is a good way to help the body during this period.
Is it possible for a nursing mother to run, and does training affect lactation?
There are many myths about how running affects the amount of milk, its composition and taste. We found out what scientists and breastfeeding experts think about this (links to studies are at the end of the article).
Studies have shown that moderate exercise does not affect the amount and composition of milk.
A familiar sight in Central Park (New York): young mothers actively use jogging strollers to be with the baby even during training. Photo: flickr.com/photos/yourdon
What happens to the composition of breast milk?
According to one study, after intensive training in milk there is a short-term decrease in the content of IgA (immunoglobulins) and there is a certain effect of lactic acid, but there are no differences in immunological factors.
In 1997, a study found that during intensive training, the level of microorganisms in breast milk decreased within a short time (10-30 minutes), but within an hour these levels returned to normal.
The study also showed that IgA levels increased after feeding, regardless of whether the mother had exercise.
In 2003, Loveladdy et al., studying immunological factors (IgA, lactoferrin, lysozyme) in the breast milk of physically active and inactive mothers, did not find any differences between them.
Does the taste of milk change?
A study was conducted on the taste of milk and the effect of lactic acid on it, which did not show a noticeable increase in lactic acid after moderate-intensity exercise.
The content of lactic acid in breast milk increased slightly for 90 minutes after intense training, when the exercises were performed at maximum effort. However, this did not affect the quality or the difference in the taste of breast milk in any way. Most studies have shown no difference in a baby's intake of breast milk, even after intense exercise.
If the child still refuses milk and behaves restlessly, this is most likely due to salty sweat getting into the milk ducts and onto the very surface of the chest. Therefore, if it is not possible to take a shower immediately after a workout, it is important to at least wipe the chest and express a few drops of milk.
It can be concluded that physical activity does not affect the quantity and taste of milk in any way. The main factors of its quantity and quality are the frequency of application of the baby to the breast, high-quality nutritious food and control of water balance.
What else should a breastfeeding mother take into account?
When you start exercising, don't forget to drink more fluids. Train only for pleasure and with a moderate load.
To support breasts while running, breastfeeding mothers need to choose the right sports underwear so that the breasts are securely fixed. There are sports models adapted for feeding if you are exercising with your child (for example, using a jogging stroller).
The main obstacle to physical activity can be health conditions after childbirth, ruptures, poor healing after cesarean, weak joints due to loss of trace elements during pregnancy, fatigue and poor sleep. Therefore, always consult a doctor and approach each workout with responsibility and understanding that health, yours and your baby's, always comes first.
Personal experience of mothers
I resumed training 1.5 months after giving birth. I ran until the 37th week of pregnancy, but despite this, the first training session was quite difficult. I ran 6 km at once, but at a very slow pace.
I try to run three times a week. Thank you for having someone to look after the baby. After a month of regular runs, I connected a training plan that was written for beginners from the KMRC club. There is definitely progress, but you still need to get into shape.
Training had a positive effect on my breastfeeding. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or it’s still due to training, but my lactation has improved, although before that there were some problems.
I try not to forget to drink more, but this is also not an indicator, as it turned out from experience. Milk always arrives, regardless of whether there was a workout or not, and sometimes even more than I expected.
My daughter refused to eat only once, but a quick shower fixed everything. Perhaps that day there was an intense load and a hotter day, which led to more sweating. Although there were days when she ate immediately after a workout, and I did not have time to immediately go to the shower. Once I had to feed after the competition: all I did was wipe my chest with a damp cloth. Running is my place of rest, which I cherish very much.
The training started as soon as the child was one month old. The state of health, given the constant lack of sleep, was superb, but the energy is almost zero.
Physical activity did not affect lactation, there was even more milk.
So far this is one workout per week (the baby is not yet two months old), but I want at least 2-3. Progress is changeable: when there is more strength, when there is less, as always, we are talking about not a very complete sleep for mom.
The child never refused milk, but on the contrary, after a short separation, he ate even more and with pleasure.
She started running when her son was four months old, from one to five kilometers. It was a little hard, but with each workout it became easier.
There was no less milk after the run, the son feels well and did not refuse milk. I train 2-3 times a week, it becomes easier to run, and the pace increases.
After a normal birth, I resumed training in a month. When I had a caesarean delivery, I returned to running no earlier than three months and after a mandatory consultation with a doctor.
It is best to start training under the guidance of a trainer who specializes specifically in postpartum recovery.
The first run was very slow and only 2 kilometers long. After cesarean, I was worried about the lower abdomen.
I train 3 times a week to make progress.
Milk was not negatively affected by physical activity. On the contrary, during training, blood circulation increases, and more milk is produced. When I fed twins, there was not enough milk and I had to feed with a mixture (but this is not due to the fact that I resumed training). Children never refused to eat after training.
Be sure to choose good sports underwear to support your breasts so that there is no undue hesitation.
A randomized study of the effects of aerobic exercise by lactating women on breast-milk volume and composition
Breast milk composition after exercise of different intensities
Elite Distance Runners and Breastfeeding
Effect of exercise on milk immunoglobulin A
Effect of Exercise on Immunologic Factors in Breast Milk
and exercise and how to do it safely
Reader Stories: "I'm happy to be a pregnant runner"
How is it in general: to run in the first months after childbirth
What is the specific training for women
A few tips about jogging during critical days
how and when to start exercising
In this article, we will talk about whether it is possible to run after childbirth, and what to consider when deciding to start running training.
When going in for sports, most people adhere to a certain plan that allows them to harmoniously incorporate physical activities into their lives. And this plan is based not so much on life opportunities as on the physical resources that a person has at the moment.
Among amateur and professional athletes, women, due to their physiological characteristics, are most susceptible to physical changes that have a direct impact on sports, in particular, running. And one of the main factors that change the established system of training in the bud is pregnancy and childbirth.
For every woman, the birth of a child is not only a long-awaited and joyful event, but also the strongest physical stress, which entails both internal and external restructuring of the whole organism. Those who ran before pregnancy or want to get in shape as soon as possible often wonder how soon and to what extent they can start running again.
Is it possible to run after the birth of a child? Gynecologists in general do not prohibit jogging after childbirth, but they unanimously recommend not to rush into physical activity, allowing the body to recover after childbirth.
When can I start running after childbirth
In gynecological practice, there are general medical recommendations regarding the optimal timing of postpartum recovery.
In natural childbirth
In the case of natural childbirth, gynecologists recommend refraining from running and other physical activities for 6-8 weeks. This is the minimum period, called postpartum, necessary for the body for primary recovery, cessation of postpartum discharge (lochia), in which running is contraindicated. Early jogging can provoke uterine bleeding and further weaken the body, already weakened by childbirth.
During postpartum surgery
If there were small tears or incisions during childbirth, then you can start training only after the damaged tissues have completely healed. On average, small wounds heal within a few weeks, and 1.5-2 months after the birth of the baby, light running can be introduced.
With multiple perineal injuries and large tears, the recovery time will be longer. It is impossible to go jogging until the wounds are completely healed, as this can lead to repeated ruptures or complications in the tissue repair process.
For caesarean section
For operative delivery, you can play sports again after the tissues in the suture area have completely healed. The recommended period of running abstinence is 2.5-3 months, and the transition to active training is not earlier than 6 months from the date of birth. Earlier physical activity can cause rupture of the sutures in the uterus or provoke uterine bleeding.
What changes occur in a woman's body during the postpartum period
Gynecologists warn new mothers against early physical activity, as a number of important changes occur in a woman's body in the first weeks after the birth of a baby:
the uterus contracts, gradually taking on normal dimensions;
there is an active healing of the wound inside the genital organ, formed after the separation of the placenta;
pelvic organs, displaced by the enlarged uterus during pregnancy, return to their previous position;
there is an active restructuring of all body systems: nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, urinary, digestive and immune.
How to decide if you want to start running
When thinking about running again, you should first of all visit a gynecologist. Only a specialist after conducting the necessary examinations can make an informed decision on the admissibility of physical activity. Despite the fact that every woman feels her body, imperceptible processes can occur in it that prevent jogging.
In this matter, the main principle is trust, but verify. It is better to check once than to face the negative consequences of a rash decision later. In addition, a woman who has given birth to a child is, first of all, a mother, who is now responsible not only for her own life, but also for the life of the baby. In this regard, it is necessary to exclude possible unjustified risks or reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.
What examinations should be done before running: the opinion of a specialist
M.V. Timofeeva, practicing doctor of the highest category, obstetrician-gynecologist, gynecologist-endocrinologist, reproductologist, ultrasound diagnostics doctor, founder of Femina33 antenatal clinic.
“In the first year after childbirth, women should visit a gynecologist as needed, but at least once every 6 months.
Women, especially those who want to run, need to visit a gynecologist 6-8 weeks after giving birth for an examination, an ultrasound of the pelvic organs and microscopy (smear analysis). Ultrasound examination allows you to assess the condition of the pelvic organs and uterus, which is especially important for cesarean section, in order to detect possible internal disorders (during cesarean section, in particular, the state of the sutures) that can lead to postpartum complications.
Microscopy is performed to analyze the state of the microflora and epithelial cells of the vagina, the internal mucous membrane of the body of the uterus, endometrium, cervical canal. This study makes it possible to determine the hormonal level of the reproductive system, the amount and composition of vaginal discharge, the bacterial content of microflora, prevent inflammatory processes, identify developmental pathologies, the presence of neoplasms and infections.
Since running is an additional physical activity that carries, in addition to benefits, the risk of adverse effects, especially after childbirth, it is also advisable to take a general blood and urine test, as well as to do duplex scanning of the veins of the lower extremities (ultrasound). A blood and urine test allows you to assess the general condition of the body, identify the inflammatory process and other deviations from the norm.
Ultrasound of the veins makes it possible to assess the state of the venous system and exclude vascular obstruction due to blood clots. The fact is that in pregnant women the level of blood clotting increases by 9 times, which persists in the postpartum period for 6-8 weeks. And running puts an additional strain on the venous system, increasing the risk of thrombosis.”
Nutrition for running after childbirth
For a speedy recovery, women after childbirth need a balanced diet that includes multivitamins for pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements to strengthen muscles and bones. After the examination, the doctor may prescribe additional dietary supplements and vitamins.
Training principles for running after childbirth
When resuming jogging, the following training principles should be followed at first:
The most important principle of running after childbirth is to help the body recover as quickly as possible. And a huge role in this process is played by a woman's physical and emotional satisfaction. At first, exhausting workouts that expose the body to additional stress are unacceptable.
Start playing sports gradually. The quieter you go, the further you'll get. You can not immediately try to return to the previous level of training. Not only childbirth changes a woman's body, but the entire period of pregnancy, when physical activity becomes different, and for some women, for medical reasons, it is minimized or completely excluded.
The task of running after childbirth is to restore the body and re-adapt it to minimal physical exertion, gradually increasing the established minimum. It is optimal to start with light 10-20-minute runs, systematically increasing the running time and only then its intensity.
In the event of physical discomfort, training should be stopped, and if any complications occur, running should be completely abandoned until a visit to the gynecologist.
Postpartum nutrition should be balanced and contain all the necessary vitamins to help the body recover quickly. Depending on the results of postpartum examinations, doctors prescribe vitamin complexes and dietary supplements to the usual diet.
When running, mothers should remember that their physical and emotional well-being directly affects the emotional state of the baby. From now on, the training process will have to be adjusted to the life rhythm of the child, given the instability of his sleep and wakefulness, especially in the first months of life.
Possible negative consequences of running activity after childbirth
Despite the sports background, most mothers experience unpleasant sensations after childbirth during the first runs, namely:
dizziness and shortness of breath;
pain in the lumbar region;
pain in pelvic bones;
unstable emotional and hormonal background.
Therefore, women who start running after giving birth should be prepared for the fact that running will be more difficult at first than before pregnancy. But this is only a temporary effect, which will pass as the body recovers and returns to its previous physical state.
The benefits of running after childbirth
Reasonable jogging can bring invaluable benefits to the female body. Regular and moderate jogging will speed up blood circulation, provide a full supply of oxygen to tissues and organs, strengthen the heart and blood vessels, reduce the synthesis of the "stress hormone" (cortisol), while simultaneously increasing the production of "happiness hormones" (endorphins), increase immunity, help get rid of unnecessary kilogram, returning the body to its former attractiveness.
I returned to jogging 2.5 weeks after my operative delivery (second caesarean), having only run 4 km in my first workout. However, after two weeks I ran my first 10 km since giving birth, and was also able to return to everyday runs.