Should you jog after childbirth?

Women wishing to jog after giving birth should exercise in a way that is suitable for their physical and emotional states, avoiding unnecessary stress that could impact their health.

An exercise regime or jogging routine post-childbirth not only aids the body in quick recovery but also helps to reduce stress. Some studies suggest that appropriate jogging and exercise can be effective in preventing depressive disorders in women after childbirth. Regardless of whether one was a runner before pregnancy or is just starting, women still need a recovery period for their bodies.

When can one jog after childbirth?

This greatly depends on whether one had a natural birth or a cesarean section. The timing for postnatal jogging also relies on an individual’s physical condition. Some experts believe it is safe 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth. However, others advise that women should only start jogging 12 weeks after giving birth. Pelvic floor physical therapist, Kristin Sapienza from New York, USA, suggests: “In the first 12 weeks postpartum, women’s bodies are still undergoing significant changes due to fluctuating hormone levels. Jogging can cause stress and strain on the body. They need an appropriate time to recover and regain strength, especially in the pelvic floor area.”

However, this does not mean that women should be inactive during the first three months postpartum. Light exercises such as short walks and stair climbing are generally encouraged. To accurately determine if one’s body is ready for jogging, medical check-ups can be performed by a pelvic floor specialist.

Although individual conditions vary, women can assess their ability to return to jogging by performing certain movements without feeling pain or discomfort: jogging in place for 1 minute, standing balance and contraction of one leg for 10 seconds, hopping on one leg 10 times without losing balance…

Muscle cramps can occur during jogging and cause pain. Women who had a C-section may feel a bit sensitive at the incision site if they jog frequently. If you experience any symptoms such as urinary leakage, vaginal pain, or a feeling of prolapse, you should stop immediately. Continued exercise could harm the body and prolong recovery.

Typical signs like urinary leakage, muscle pain, bone pain, vaginal prolapse, vaginal bleeding, difficulty breathing, pressure in the chest or upper abdomen, swollen legs… indicate the body is not ready for postnatal jogging. If any of these signs occur during jogging, one should stop and seek medical attention promptly.

When starting to exercise, the body might feel slight pain in the joints that will subside after a few days. However, if the pain progressively worsens or persists, it might indicate that you need to decrease the time or intensity of your workouts.

Tips to effectively jog after childbirth

Postnatal jogging is not like running a marathon or sprinting. Women need to work to regain their endurance and speed. This process can take time, so the following tips may help women get a better start:

Walk before jogging: Low-impact exercises such as walking will help the body feel comfortable and gradually adjust to this new activity after childbirth. Move on to the next stage if walking does not cause any pain.

Strengthen the pelvic floor: This helps women return to exercise more effectively. The pelvic floor controls the bowel, bladder, and vagina in women. Improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles will make women’s jogging experiences more comfortable.

Breathe evenly while running: Breathing techniques are also essential for regaining shape while running. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing or deep abdominal breathing can help mothers run more effectively.

Alternate other exercises: Alternating jogging days with yoga, light weightlifting, etc., allows the body to better adapt to postnatal physical activities.

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