A whole lot of biological changes occur in the body after having a child, these changes range from hormonal to physical changes including weight gain amongst others.
Life after childbirth doesn’t have to be so different than it was before and studies show that most women can continue physical activity in no less than six weeks after having a baby.
There are several factors that play a role in how soon or how much exercise you can undergo immediately after childbirth and this is based on
• Your activity level before giving birth
• Type of delivery (vaginal or C-section): women who undergo vaginal birth can resume physical activity much sooner than those who had a C-section. This is due to a longer recovery period for the incisions to heal.
• Your body: everyone is different, so it could have taken a friend of yours 6 weeks while it could take you 10 weeks or less than 6 weeks to get back on your feet. So try not to use other new mothers as guides rather listen to your body.
How does running affect breastfeeding mothers
Thankfully, breastfeeding goes down really well with new mothers who would like to get up off their feet to start some form of exercise. Exercise is no way affects the quality of breast milk produced for your child except that with an increase in physical activity a nursing mother would have to take in more water to ensure an adequate amount is produced for the child.
Breastfeeding comes with its perks like being closer to your child and the downside of the full breast which may be problematic while working out. So a good solution would be to buy a supportive bra, preferably a sports bra equipped for nursing mothers.
In certain cases, it would be better if you fed your child prior to a workout, or use a pump to set some milk aside before strenuous workouts. This will keep your breasts lighter and avoid the build-up of lactic acid in the breast milk which may give it a bitter taste. The lactic acid build-up is normal in the body and increases with more strenuous activity but gradually disappears during rest.
When can I get back to running
Running unlike walking or yoga is quite strenuous and a whole lot of consideration goes into knowing when exactly you are ready to start but if you really need or want to start running here are a few things you can do to get you ready in no time
Guidelines for running after having a baby
• Do light Core and pelvic floor exercises: the pelvic floor is stretched to a certain degree in new mothers during pregnancy and after delivery so to avoid pain or leakage while running, do pelvic exercises to make your runs all the more pleasurable. Also, doing a few core exercises to help tighten up your abdominals will make you feel fitter and better when you finally go for a run. Take about 6-8 weeks doing light core, pelvic floor, and hip exercises before you prepare to go on a run.
• Check in with your doctor: it’s a very good idea to have regular postnatal checkups to avoid and check for any complications of childbirth. Another good reason not to miss your postnatal exams is to let your doctor successfully analyze your state of health and give you advice on how to get back on your feet.
• Start slow: As with resuming or starting any form of physical activity after a long period of rest/inactivity you have to start slow. Start by calm walks before going on walks at a faster pace then graduate to power walks, then finally slow runs before picking up the pace.
• Give it time while listening to your body: you need to give your body as much time as it would need with an emphasis on not pushing your self too hard. If you feel any pain while taking a run or a walk, stop immediately and go back home. Even if you don’t feel any pain try as much as possible not to run daily, keep at least a day interval between each run session so you can rest.
No matter your level of activity before or during pregnancy, care has to be taken to ensure proper recovery after having a baby to avoid undue to stress before your ready for it. By following some of the guidelines listed above, you can be sure that you can get back to running sooner and better than ever.