Get Ready... Set... and GO! How to get ready for your first RUN after CHILDBIRTH!
You are ready to start running after the birth of your child, but is your body?
Written by Better Backs: Your Bedfordview Chiropractor 12th June 2019
After a long and tortuous 9 months, your little bundle of joy finally arrives and blesses your life with smiles, hugs and more love than you could have ever imagined. Little does your baby realise, but mommy is very relieved to have her body back. After a few weeks of getting in to a new routine at home, you start to feel that it is time to get back into shape and you feel ready to start exercising again. But is your body really ready to get back into the high impact, high intensity training, such as running?
During pregnancy and childbirth, your body goes through many changes. After contraception, your body will expand, especially in the abdominal area, as your uterus enlarges to accommodate for the growing baby. This will stretch structures in the abdomen and may put pressure on the muscles (which act like a tent) to hold these structures in place. This can cause them to stretch and become weaker as they have had to support a heavy load during pregnancy and can possibly tear during vaginal childbirth. (Journal of Prenatal Medicine).
Average recovery and healing time for these tissues is between 4 – 6 months, compared to the traditional recommended 6 week period that is advised by most attending physicians. It is important to remember, that although you may want to accelerate your return to sport, it is the long term side effects that may impact negatively, on your premature return to sport. It is recommended that you take at least 12 weeks to recover, before starting to return back to exercise or sports. (British Journal of Sports Medicine).
A following is a guideline for women, who wish to return to sport, following child birth.
Weeks 0 – 2
Progression has to be slow and movement must be controlled.
Start with low impact exercise: slow and light walking
It is advisable that pelvic floor exercises and abdominal brace positions be performed. On average, 3 sets with 12 – 15 repetitions are performed, 3 times daily.
Weeks 2 – 4
Increase the time, speed and distance in walking.
Core stability exercises can now be incorporated: planking, bridging, lunging and squats (but the abdominal brace position must be maintained at all times during these exercises).
Weeks 4 – 6
Start with low impact cardiovascular training: cycling or using the cross trainer.
Limit the time on these machines to just 15 – 20 minutes, with low level settings.
Keep a proper posture and do not allow your upper body to move or bounce around. Control the movement.
Stretch after training: Quadriceps, Hamstring, Calf and Gluteus Muscles.
Journal of Prenatal Medicine 2009, Yleni Fonti; Rosalba Giordano; Alessanda Cacciatore; Mattea Romano; Beatrice La Rosa, accessed 12 June 2019 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279110/> Hyde TE; Gengenbackh, MS 2007, Conservative Management of Sports Injuries, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Massachusetts.
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