I remember when I had just had my last baby all I wanted to do was get back out running. I didn’t stop to consider that I was only 8 weeks postpartum and what my body had gone through pushing out a 3.6 kilo baby boy!
As an aerobic manager of the Health & Racquet Club I felt that I had something to prove.I could feel people judging me that I hadn’t sprung back into my pre-baby body especially as I was such an intense gym bunny. I loved all the high intensity classes as well as running, especially half marathons. On my first attempt at running I felt peculiar, like all mushy, and felt like all my insides were falling out. I felt frustrated and that my body was letting me down. I ended up causing damage to my lower back and sacroiliac joints which then delayed my return to running and gym.
What Do The Experts Say?
According to a recent study that was published in the UK we need to have a more tailored approach to returning to running in the postpartum period. We tend to forget that birthing a baby is a traumatic event and that our bodies need time to recover.
A team of physiotherapists who specialize in pelvic floor health got together to write a set of guidelines to help the NHS and fitness professionals. Thanks to this we now have an indication on how to advise new Moms to return to fitness.
This has really influenced my work with postpartum Moms, especially the ones that are keen to get back into running or general fitness. Now that these guidelines have been published we have evidence based research that can support new Moms get back into it whilst preventing unnecessary injuries.
What Are The Guidelines?
We need to make sure that the new Mother has no risk factors before returning to fitness and this can be done with a simple screening process. They need to start with low impact exercise first, then aim for a slow return to running between 3-6 months (such as the “couch to 5km programme”).. The new Mom also needs a load and impact assessment, which involves a series of muscle strength tests, plus a look at her breathing and posture. For moms who’ve had C Sections, scar mobilisation is recommended. Other things to look at are supportive clothing, and to take into consideration if the new mom is breastfeeding, getting enough sleep, and her emotional well being.
Check out my website for more info: www.core-restore.co.za