Running After a C Section – When to Start Exercise After C Section
With running being one of the most popular forms of exercise, it is not uncommon for women to wonder when they can start exercising after birth.
It doesn’t matter if you had a natural birth or a C section. You will need a little downtime after pregnancy before you can even think about running or exercising again.
In this article, we look at when you should start exercising after birth and when you can start running after a C section.
When Can I Start Exercising After Birth?
The postpartum period should be spent focusing on recovery and healing. It is also known as a time important for bonding with your newborn. But for many new mums, getting back into exercise or running is an important part of their life.
So, when should you start exercising after birth?
First, before you tie up your running shoes, you must put in some foundation work before heading out on that first run.
That means before the first 6-week postpartum check,you will need to start working on abdominal activations and pelvic tilt exercises. This will help strengthen the stomach muscles and prepare your core muscles for exercise again.
Once you have passed your 6-week check-up, you should be able to begin walking 30 minutes without any symptoms.
In general, Cioce says it’s wise to wait 12 weeks after birth to start running. However, you can start the active recovery and training process beginning at 6 weeks postpartum.
Once you are comfortable walking for longer than 30 minutes, you should slowly introduce running again. This should be around the 12th week after pregnancy.
Once you are at the 12th week you will be able to slowly introduce running segments into each walk.
Finally, you are at the point where you can start to increase each running segment, and slowly start to remove the walking sections. Typically it should take you around 4-6 weeks to start running 30 minutes without any walking in between. Remember taking your time building up the running again will pay dividends in the long run, and the body will thank you.
Running After A C Section – When Can I Start?
Just like a natural pregnancy, your will need some downtime before starting running after a C section. Since a c-section is abdominal surgery you will need slightly more time to recover before you hit the pavement again.
Typically the first 6 weeks should be spent recovering. That means staying away from exercises like sit-ups, planks, push-ups, and any testing movements. This also includes most endurance activities like running, swimming, and cycling.
Once the 6-week mark has passed your doctor should be able to give you the all-clear to start some light exercises to strengthen the stomach muscles. Sometimes, however, there may be complications such as slow healing at the incision site or an infection.
After 6 weeks a physiotherapist will be able to assess your strength (abdominal and pelvic muscle tone and strength) through a series of tests (Straight Leg Raise Test). This will give you a good indication if you are ready to start some light cardio exercise (such as fast walking).
While it’s not imperative to see a physiotherapist, it can be a good idea if you are looking to get back into running after a c-section.
What Happens If You Exercise too Soon After C-Section?
If you start to exercise too soon after a c-section you will prevent the fascia from healing properly. this can lead to a hole forming in the fascia which can lead to an incisional hernia.
So it is important to take your time starting with abdominal exercises and then moving into walking and then finally running. This whole process should take around 12 weeks before you can run without any side effects.
However, it is not uncommon for people to place a lot of pressure on themselves to get back into shape again. This can often lead to unrealistic expectations and can sometimes lead to other complications. Dragging out the healing and recovery process. So, take your time before starting to run after a c-section. Your body will thank you.
When to Start Exercise After C Section
Just like running, knowing when to start exercise after a c section is vital to your recovery and well-being. Since running is generally hard on the body and requires a lot of core functionality, it often takes the longest to get back into. Luckily there are some other exercises that will help you get back into exercise quickly after a c section.
Some of these exercises can include walking, cycling, and light weight sessions. However, just like returning to running after pregnancy, it will take some time and it is recommended for the first 6 weeks to focus on recovery and healing rather than any form of exercise.
After the first 6 weeks and the clearance from your doctor, you will be able to start some light exercise. This will include walking, light gym sessions, but nothing that puts stress on the stomach muscles. After around week 12 you can start to include some cycling, or gym work into your training.
Exercise After Pregnancy – The Do’s and Don’ts
After reading this article you may have figured out that both running and exercise after pregnancy is not a straightforward thing. For most people they can be back to some form of light exercise after 6 weeks, however, there are some that can take slightly longer.
This is where it is important to listen to your doctor’s recommendations and after that first 6 week check-up, speak with a qualified physiotherapist. Doing so will help to test your strength post-pregnancy and give you a timeline for when you can start your exercise regime again.