NEW YORK – A new study has confirmed what many moms have already discovered: Running just ain’t the same postpartum as it was before pregnancy.
The study, which is fairly small in scale and was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, showed precisely what happened to some runners’ bodies during and after pregnancy.
To summarize: Because the abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate the baby, the pelvis can tilt and move much more postpartum, which causes lower back and hip pain when you run.
In some women – especially women who have big babies, multiples or are on their second or third kid – the parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of your stomach can even separate completely. This condition is called diastasis recti.
In her writeup of the findings, New York Times fitness reporter Gretchen Reynolds suggests a series of ab exercises to help knit together your poor postpartum tummy.
The following suggestion may also help:
Get a really hardcore bra. The Enell sports bra is not pretty, but it will strap you in and keep you bounce-free.
Roll your hips out with a foam roller. Before I had a kid, I was running 15 to 20 miles a week and barely stretched. That’s just not an option anymore.
Do intervals. I started increasing the amount I ran by a few minutes each time. But instead of running straight through at a moderate pace like I used to, I would do intervals of sprinting and walking. This somehow put less pressure on my still-healing body than running for a long period of time without breaks to walk.
It’s worth noting that I had a vaginal delivery. I don’t know the best methods to start running again when you’ve had a C-section. Also I’m not a doctor, so make sure to check with yours before you start exercising.