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Return to running and sport after a baby: How hard can it be?

October 17, 20234 min read

Are you a new mum, eager to return to running or high level sport or simply feel strong again?

There is so much conflicting information out there making it easy to feel confused and overwhelmed about what’s safe or not after giving birth. Some of the common questions are;

  • To crunch or not to crunch?

  • Should my tummy still look and feel like this?

  • Should I be getting these sensations in my pelvic floor?

  • When can I return to the gym?

  • Can I get back on the netball court soon?

  • If I run slowly is that 'taking it easy?'

That’s what we’re here for. We strive to help women feel empowered, strong again and get back to doing what they love.

So, the little human has just arrived, now what? For some – Sore/cracked nipples, troubles feeding, sleep deprivation, low energy/mood, feeling frustrated and angry, not feeling like yourself and feeling overwhelmed with the demands of early motherhood.

For others – Absolute bliss and awe. Loving every moment and can’t get enough.

For most, it’s a combination of the above.

"There is no one way you ‘should’ feel and that anyway you feel is OKAY"

Early motherhood brings a whirlwind of changes, on top of the hormonal shifts from during pregnancy to postpartum.The first step to returning to exercise is feeling ok with yourself now and checking in that you ready to return to sport or activity.

For some mum-athlete's this timeline is a little outside there control due to team/competition selection schedules. However, even with this, if you are not ready, whilst it is a hard decision, you may need to consider what is best for you in the long run.

So how do you return to high level activity after a baby? These are our top tips;

  1. In the weeks leading up to the birth of your baby ensure you arm yourself with your 'early post natal advice and exercises' from your Vital Core Physio. We have a great ebook for this.

  2. Post natal - see your Vital Core Women's health physio as early as you feel able (anywhere from 3-6 weeks) so that together you can go through your birth history, you and your baby's immediate recovery and health now. This will help screen for any potential pelvic floor or other concerns. Your physio can then give you the next stage of your exercises. These will start to address specific pelvic floor, tummy and gluteal strengthening as well as general cardiovascular. It is important that this is individualised.

    "We strongly advise that you have your pelvic floor muscles assessed by a Vital Core pelvic health physio at about 6 weeks post partum and that you follow an individualised pelvic floor exercise program for at least 12 weeks after having a baby"

  3. You will continue with weekly or fortnightly sessions with your ' health physio to progress your exercises slowly working towards your goals. The introduction of a post natal specific exercise class can be great here to push you further whilst having an awareness of the post natal recovery process. Check out our class timetable. We take this recovery very slowly for many reasons but one is that if you are breastfeeding you have a decreased oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is essential for tendon, muscle and bone development. Pushing your rehab hard can easily lead to injuries to these tissues.

  4. It is important to continually reassess how you are going. The post natal recovery process is not linear. That's because babies development is not linear. If you having a week where the little one isn't sleeping or feeding, or you develop mastitis, then your physical rehab will need to take a break. Once everything settles again you will need to wind back up very slowly.

  5. Once you are around 3-4 months post natal AND you have built up incredibly slowly with your rehab AND you are not having any pelvic floor concerns (leaking, urgency, heaviness) then you will be able to start on a gentle run-walk program that your women's health physio. This will likely take another 6-12 weeks to build up to being able to run comfortably for 30 minutes. So if you do your maths you can see that a return to comfortable running or simple HIIT, or a return to basketball/netball training for 30 minutes will take about 6 months minimum, usually longer. This allows for a safe recovery process and decreases the risk of further problems.

If you would like to know more than contact our friendly admin team on 83310552. We can't wait to help you through your return to sport journey.

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Vital Core Physiotherapy

Vital Core Physiotherapy

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