16 Reasons Not to Start Running Before 12 Weeks Postpartum

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Have you heard yet that you should wait to start running postpartum until 12 weeks? Not 6 weeks, like was previously thought and recommended?

I’ve been a runner through 2 of my 3 pregnancies and postpartum experiences. After I had my second, I was itching to get back to running sooner than what my body was ready for.

I started too early. I was only 8 weeks postpartum, but I hadn’t run since 6 months pregnant because of some serious, and I mean serious, pelvic girdle pain/symphysis pubis dysfunction.

So I essentially had not run for 5 months!!

Not only did I start running too early, but I did too much, too fast. 

And it did not feel great on my body: I had achy knees, my belly felt wiggly and jiggly, my low back and SI joint sometimes clicked and I still had pubic joint and groin pain before, during and after running!

Guidelines to Start Running Postpartum

Guidelines came out a year after I had my second baby on when it’s recommended to get back to running post-baby.

3 months postpartum.

MINIMUM!!

You should be waiting 12 weeks, or 3 months, at a minimum before beginning a gradual return to running!

You bet your bottom dollar that I waited the 12 weeks to start running (and then a little more, to be completely honest!) before getting back to it after I had my 3rd!

By waiting longer and by doing the right preparation for it, my transition back to running has been like night and day compared to the last time around.

It has been such smooth sailing. No issues and no setbacks. I’m running regularly and comfortably now. And that is SUCH a good feeling.

I’m literally training for a half marathon in half the time it took me my last postpartum!!

16 Reasons to Wait to Start Running Postpartum

Many moms are eager to get back to it before 12 weeks, however, here are 16 solid reasons why you should definitely wait to get back to it:

  1. Healing after having a baby takes an average of 3-6 months.
  2. The 6 week “all clear” is outdated advice.
  3. You risk developing pelvic floor issues.
  4. You risk worsening pelvic floor issues you might already have.
  5. For a vaginal delivery, healing time for all the muscles, soft tissue, joints, nerves, etc. is 4-6 months.
  6. If you had a C-section, your abdominal tissues take 6-7 months to regain 73-93% of their previous strength.
  7. Because of relaxin still in the body post-birth (and even longer if you’re breastfeeding), you’re at a higher risk for injury.
  8. You’re at risk for joint pain, especially of the knees and hips, if you start too early.
  9. You need time to heal your diastasis recti.
  10. You need time to prepare your pelvic floor for the huge stress and impact of running.
  11. Even if you delivered via C-section, your pelvic floor has undergone A LOT during pregnancy, so you STILL need to rehab it!
  12. You need time to heal your SPD, SI Joint, low back, or pelvic pain.
  13. You don’t want to cause or worsen a prolapse.
  14. You don’t want to cause leaking with activity.
  15. You should heal your leaking/incontinence issue BEFORE starting to run again.
  16. You *just* delivered a baby that you grew for 9 months! Your running will be there waiting for you when your body is ready!

Prep to Start Running

I also want to put it out there that just because you can’t start running before the 12 weeks, doesn’t mean you should be doing nothing. 

There is a TON of stuff that you can (and should) be doing BEFORE that 12 week mark to make sure you are run ready when the time comes.

Interested in hearing about what those things include? Email me for details on my Postpartum Return to Run Program so you can start running postpartum with ease:

rachel.pope@runyogatherapy.com

Questions? Comments?

I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know your thoughts about getting back to running after having your baby. Did you wait 12 weeks, or are you planning to? Why or why not?

FREE One-on-ONE Session!

Need more guidance on what exercises specifically you can or should be doing postpartum? Email me at rachel.pope@runyogatherapy.com to set up your FREE virtual one-on-one session. During that session, We can talk about where you’re currently at and where you want to be as far as your exercise and recovery is concerned and how I can best help get you there!

Other Articles of Interest:

Prepare for Running Postpartum: 3 Steps to Build Aerobic Capacity

4 Tips on Returning to Running Postpartum Successfully

FREE Guide to Pelvic Floor Exercises after Baby!

Is Breastfeeding Affected by Running?

How to Run with Baby in Winter

8 Ways to Make Time for Your Runs

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