10 Weird Things No One Tells You About When Returning to Running Post-Baby

Weird aches, leaking, and extreme thirst—helpful tips to help you overcome these new hurdles.

BY BLANE BACHELOR. AUG 7, 2017

https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20866684/10-weird-things-no-one-tells-you-about-when-returning-to-running-post-bab

At my six-week doctor’s appointment after my son was born, I had plenty of questions, the most pressing of which was this: Was it okay for me to start running again? After a brief examination, the midwife told me I was good to go, but to take it easy.

I left the hospital elated—and later that day, headed out on my first run in about six months.

Being out there again felt great, but everything else felt, well, not so great. My lower back ached, I gasped for breath, and I was so parched I guzzled about a gallon of water afterward. On subsequent runs, a dull, new-to-me pain nagged in my pelvic area.

As is the case with so much else about first-time parenting, I had no idea about any of these challenges until I faced them. Furthermore, I discovered a surprising lack of information and resources for postpartum women trying to get back into shape. Here, 10 things no one tells you about getting back to running after having a baby—and how you can cope.

1. Your pelvic floor needs lots of attention, stat.

You may not hear about it in your post-birth doctor’s appointment, but your pelvic floor—the group of muscles, tissues, and ligaments that act as a sling holding up the uterus, bowels, and other organs—plays a critical role in returning to normal exercise. Wellness professionals like yoga teachers, Pilates instructors, and physical therapists put a primary focus on healing and strengthening the pelvic floor, which becomes stretched out and weakened during pregnancy and can lead to a whole range of problems.

“Without taking the time to rehabilitate your pelvic floor properly, you’re going to have potential injury, muscle pain, and incontinence issues, especially for women who are runners,” says Laura Arndt, a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor in Fairfax, Virginia, and CEO of Matriarc, an app focused on wellness for postpartum women. (It is expected to launch this month.)

To help strengthen the pelvic floor, Arndt recommends starting with exercises like pelvic tilts, which involve lying on your back and lifting your pelvis, and incorporating squats into your routine a couple of months post-delivery. Postpartum yoga classes also concentrate on the area. And don’t forget about those all-important Kegels: You can start them immediately post-birth, eventually working up to two sets of 10, holding for a few seconds, every day.

2. You’ll be seriously thirsty.

As any breastfeeding mother knows, making milk makes you crazy thirsty. And for breastfeeding moms who are also runners, that thirst can kick up to stratospheric levels.

“The rule of thumb is to have your regular eight glasses of water daily, and every time you breastfeed that’s another eight ounces, and every time after you exercise, drink another two or three glasses,” says Crystal Widmann, a fitness trainer and owner of Y2B Fit, a Philadelphia-based company that specializes in helping women gain postnatal fitness. “If you’re running and cardio training, you’re looking at three times the water intake of your pre-baby self.”

3. Expect aches and pains in weird places.

On my first few runs postpartum (read: 15-minute-mile slogs), I’d come home with aches in my pelvic area, the likes of which I’d never experienced before. It hurt deep in my bones, like someone had put a vice on my pelvis.

The likely culprits, according to Widmann: those aforementioned weakened core and pelvic floor muscles, as well as my pelvis’s anterior tilt from pregnancy, still shifting back into its normal, neutral position.

“Usually by about six months postpartum, the pelvis is back into a neutral position,” she says. “But if you didn’t run through your whole pregnancy, starting to run again too soon, with those tight hip flexor muscles, can aggravate it and make it worse.”

Also, relaxin, a hormone that develops in pregnancy to soften joints and ligaments and prepare the body for birth, can be present for up to a year postpartum, says Alexandra Sowa, M.D., an internist and obesity medicine specialist with MyMD Medical Group in New York City. As a result, many mothers experience exacerbated joint pain—often in the knees and ankles, but also in the hands and wrists—while exercising in the first few months after having a baby.

4. Your posture may be screwy for a while, too.

Everyone thinks about our posture changing when you have this big belly, but as soon as the baby comes out, it doesn’t all go away,” says Sowa, who’s also a mom of two. When you’re hunched over breastfeeding or picking up your baby, there’s a lot of forward flexion and rolling of the shoulders, which weakens your core and can lead to a lot of neck tension and back problems.”

To combat those challenges, experts recommend incorporating strength conditioning and stretching into your running routine, as well as focusing on strengthening the core muscles. In addition, at the first sign of pain during a run, stop and walk—that’s your body telling you you’re pushing it too hard.

5. It can take a lot longer than you think to bounce back.

While some moms can snap back into their regular running routine in a few months, many need up to a year—or more—to start feeling normal.

However, “take it slow” is something that many runners don’t relish hearing.

I always tell my clients: give yourself a year. After a year, 95 percent of women say they’re starting to feel like themselves again,” says Widmann. “If you get back to it before that, great, but if you have the mindset that it can take a year, it will be much easier on you mentally.”

What that meant for me: scrapping the idea of running a spring half marathon with my husband, and instead focusing on slowly building up my mileage while letting my body heal.

6. A jogging stroller takes some getting used to.

Don’t get me wrong: I love taking my little ankle biter on runs, listening to his cooing instead of my usual music mix, as our secondhand Bob Revolution SE glides along the asphalt. But after nearly three decades of running unencumbered, adding a 25-pound, decidedly non-streamlined contraption—not to mention a demanding little human—to the mix has taken some getting used to. Relatively flat, smooth pavement is a must, and I’m hyper-vigilant, constantly on the lookout for potholes, cars, or scary-looking dogs heading toward us.

New moms should also pay attention to proper form when running with a jogging stroller. Most importantly, says Eric Orton, a running coach, author, and father, is to try to maintain as normal of a gait and arm swing as possible.

To do this, he advises keeping your stride short and your feet under you, and not leaning on the stroller, instead keeping the handle closer to your body versus way out in front of you. “To help with this, experiment with pushing with one arm for a few minutes and then switching to the other, versus always holding the handle with both hands,” he says. “Allowing one hand to remain free to swing is better than none.”

7. Two words: diastasis recti.

One of the least-discussed postpartum conditions is also one of the most common. The majority of pregnant and postpartum women have some degree of diastasis recti, which, in short, is a gap between the left and right abdominal muscles as a result of the growing uterus that can cause a protruding belly “pooch.” For some women, it can be so prominent that they feel self-conscious about wearing workout gear, and it can also lead to abdominal and pelvic issues.

RELATED: Flex, bend, and stretch your way to better running with RW’s Yoga for Runners.

Many yoga and Pilates instructors who specialize in pregnancy can easily check for diastasis recti (it’s indicated roughly by a gap of more than two to three fingers’ width). Several specific programs focus on addressing it (MuTu and Y2B Fit, for example); keep in mind that traditional crunches and planks can make the problem worse.

8. You might have to bump up a shoe size.

That extra pregnancy weight, along with the hormone relaxin, can do a number on your feet, causing arches to flatten and feet to widen. The result? Your favorite running shoes might not be a good fit anymore. If your sneakers feel especially tight, it’s a good idea to head to a reputable running store, where staff can help you find a shoe that’s better suited to your post-baby foot.

9. Breastfeeding and running are a tricky balance.

Remember those carefree days when you could just lace up your sneakers and head out for a run whenever you felt like it? Yep, they’re all but over now, especially in the early days when your little one needs to breastfeed.

For some women, running can trigger the letdown reflex, adding yet another complication to what used to be a convenient outing. Here’s how your runs may look for a while: Between feeding your baby, wrestling yourself into a sports bra, shoving some food and water into your mouth, and emptying your bladder one last time, you finally get out the door. Twenty minutes down the road, you find yourself leaking milk and starving again.

Defeated, you walk home, wipe the sweat off your boob (or not—I like to ask my little guy if he’s ready for a salty milkshake), and start feeding your baby (again).

10. You might leak when you run.

For many women, the delight in returning to running is replaced by dismay upon discovering that, whoops, they’re “spritzing” as they stride. According to a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, up to 40 percent of women experience urinary incontinence after having a baby. For many, it’s a relatively minor (yet embarrassing) inconvenience that eventually resolves itself, but for others, it’s a debilitating problem that can require surgery.

PODCAST: The Pitfalls and Joys of Running While Pregnant

After her first two children, Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, a writer and editor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, noticed that she leaked urine not only while running, but also while sneezing, laughing, and even standing. “I stopped having fun,” says Pagel-Hogan, who ran track and cross country at Salisbury University in Maryland. “I almost stopped running.”

But after the birth of her third child, and five years dealing with the problem, Pagel-Hogan decided to have surgery to correct what ended up being a displaced urethra. Four months later, she was on the starting line for a 10-mile race with her college teammates. “At the finish line I was only wet with sweat—not a drop leaked!” she says. “It was miraculous.”

RELATED: 8 Practical Ways to Deal with Pee Problems on the Run

Many women can combat urinary incontinence with exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor, such as Kegels. But Sowa says when the problem is severe, women should seek out pelvic floor therapists and urogynecologists who have a variety of treatment strategies, all the way up to surgery. “The take-home point here is that there are specialists for this,” she says. “You don’t have to spend the rest of your life dealing with it.”

Chocolate Dipped Apple Pops

Chocolate Apple Slice Pops 🍎🍫🍎Recipe ➡️ cleanfoodcrush.com/chocolate-apple-slice-pops/#more-

This recipe is easy a pie!! Reasonably healthy and so much fun to make with kids. Ingredients and directions below. Have a ball this fall!!

Chocolate Apple Slice Pops

Makes 10-12 pops

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples of choice, washed and dried completely. sliced
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, or raisins
  • 10 -12 wooden popsicle sticks

Instructions:

Slice your favorite apple into 10 – 12 good sized slices. Incert popsicle sticks.

Add coconut oil to the chocolate chips and place in the in the microwave, on high.

Melt in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until fully melted and smooth. Transfer to a shallow plate that will allow you to easily dip your apple slices into.

Alternatively, you may melt your chocolate over a double broiler on the stove, stirring constantly.

Prepare your chopped pecans, cranberries and get 10-12 popsicle sticks, set them out in your workstation.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Choose Joy!!!!

Life has been a circus for a while now. The norms have been turned on their ears. Everything has been up in the air for way too long. Folks find it difficult to function when there is much change. They are uncertain and afraid.

There are those who believe the powers that be are maintaining the unrest for a purpose. In America this is foreign. We have not lived under tyranny. We have enjoyed peace and trust in the consistency of our government.

If you are one of those who has lost much because of the government shut downs and the uncertainty, find hope. This is not forever!!! Life is returning to normal. Jobs and consistency are returning.

Look to the future and know good things are ahead. Make plans to enjoy time together with your family and friends. Thanksgiving is coming, Plan to celebrate in a big way, As we come out of the darkness there is so much for which to be thankful! Good things are ahead! Be encouraged!

Choose to see the good in those around you! Look for smiles and sunshine! They are much closer than you think! I wish you blessings and joy as you navigate your life!!! So much of the way things will turn out depends upon the way you choose to see it!

I am reminded of a song from the play Carousel. It has been recorded by too many performers to count. It is an inspiration and encouragement! Listen and find hope and joy in your next step!!

Josh Groban – You’ll Never Walk Alone [AUDIO] – YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1WpGqEOCOg

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone

Molded Ornaments of Baby’s Hand and/or Foot

These ornaments are especially sweet for baby’s first holiday. I encourage you to mold these ornaments the week baby is born. Her hands and feet will never be this small again! If you are able, you can put a hand and foot on the same side of the ornament. Or, you can put one in front and one in back. As your baby grows you will be amazed at how small she was when she arrived!

Grandmas and Grandpas especially love these as gifts because they remember you when you were a newborn. As a grandma I am amazed at how the same overwhelming feelings of love and protection I felt when my own were born returns with grand babies!!!

The kits for these ornaments are available on Amazon, Esty, and other websites. They are not even a little bit messy as the clay is premixed and fairly dry. There are links below to purchase them. Enjoy!!!

Baby Handprint Footprint Keepsake Ornament Kit (Makes 2) – Bonus Stencil for Personalized Newborn New Mom & Shower Gifts.

Baby Ornament Keepsake Kit (CIRCLE & HEART) Clay Handprint and Footprint Casting for Newborn – Best New Mom Gift and Shower Gift – Hand Imprint Mold – Foot Impression for Girls & Boys Print

$15.95$15.95

Bubzi Co Baby Handprint and Footprint Kit Ornament for Baby Girl Gifts & Baby Boy Gifts, Unique Baby Shower Gifts, Personalized Baby Gifts for Baby Registry, Keepsake Box Nursery Decor


Easy Holiday Photo Ornaments

These are my favorite gift ornaments. All year I save the photos I take or receive of my grandkids. As Christmas draws near I watch the ads for Michaels ornament sale. Right now these are $5.99 each. There are probably ten different styles from which to choose. Before Christmas they will go down to $4.00. Closer to Christmas they could go as low as $2.00. After Christmas who knows? I send each grandbaby a photo ornament for their collection. This is a keepsake for them to enjoy through out their lives!

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Silver Square 2.5″ x 2.5″ Ornament Frame by Studio Décor®

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Red Heart 2.5″ x 2.5″ Ornament Frame by Studio Décor®

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Red Dotted Square 2.5″ x 2.5″ Ornament Frame by Studio Décor®

Our family’s most favorite ornaments are of our kids, now in the 30’s as babies. So much fun to pull those out each year and remember those pudgy smiling faces!!! All it takes is a little diligence and a shoebox! Ha, yes, we store them in our favored shoe box. I keep them in my closet so I always know where they are! These are literally one of the few things I would save incase of a disaster! They are irreplaceable!

As you see, the date is already on the ornament! Important, because you will forget which photo is from which year. The date makes a world of difference. Always write the first and last name of the child photographed on the back of the photo along with the date. Again, life continues and our memories fade. You want to get it right, be sure to label each photo.

Having may ornaments on the tree allows all to see the progression of each precious child. It is truly amazing! Making these photo ornaments for your folks is a priceless gift to them. Nothing is more precious than a grandchild.

I have also begun making these for relatives as they become grand parents. Again, photos have a hallowed place in our hearts. They allow us to remember those first moments of life. They are priceless.

I am a bargain hunter so I have not checked these out at other sites online. That may be your thing. Starting at this time of year takes the pressure off you as you organize. Figure out which photos you want to use. Print them or have somewhere like Costo print them for you. Have them ready to go when you find the frames you like. Put them together and send them off.

Have a wonderful holiday enjoying your friends and family. This year this time will be more precious than ever!!! JUDY

Home Decorated Wooden Ornaments

20% OFF ALL Regular Price Items
Same Day Delivery

3.5″ Wooden Unfinished Ornament by ArtMinds™

Item # 10641124 ★★★★★ No rating value for 3.5″ Wooden Unfinished Heart Framed Ornament by ArtMinds™

Here is another fun idea for you to create for your friends and family. Each year Michaels Craft Stores have great sales on creative ideas. This week their unfinished photo frame ornaments are $.60 – $1.60 each. They some as unfinished wood, which I love just the way it is! They can be painted, stained, or left in their natural state. There are several styles available: round Christmas ornament style, hearts, gingerbread man, stockings, and more.

They are darling simply with glue, glitter, or buttons glued on. Some have windows for photos, some are more simple. You will need to act quickly, but these will be fun projects and lovely gifts!

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20% OFF ALL Regular Price Items
Same Day Delivery

Early Ideas for Life Long Gifts for Baby

Personalized Gold/Silver/Rose Gold Plated Bell Ornaments

Engraved Silver, Gold, or Rose Colored Bells with baby’s name and birth year. These specific bels are selected from the Miles Kimball Catalogue. There are many places you can find them. Solid gold and sliver bells are also available if you wish.

https://www.mileskimball.com/buy-personalized-gold-tone-plated-christmas-bell-ornament-353280?query=gold%20bell%20ornaments

We have these for each year of our children’s lives.  In addition each, of our grandkids has them from the year of their birth.  These are a special holiday memory for them from us.

Advantages of Tummy Time

Babies Need Tummy Time!

A mother and her baby lying on their stomachs while on the floor.

Tummy time is not only an important way to prevent flat spots on your baby’s head, it is also an important part of your baby’s normal growth.

What Is Tummy Time?

Tummy time describes the times when you place your baby on his or her stomach while your baby is awake and someone is watching.

Tummy time is important because it:

  • Helps prevent flat spots on the back of your baby’s head
  • Makes neck and shoulder muscles stronger so your baby can start to sit up, crawl, and walk
  • Improves your baby’s motor skills (using muscles to move and complete an action)

From the day1 they come home, babies benefit from 2 to 3 tummy time sessions each day for a short period of time (3 to 5 minutes). As the baby grows and shows enjoyment of tummy time, you can lengthen the sessions. As babies grow older, more tummy time helps build strength for sitting up, rolling over, crawling, and walking.

Tummy Time Tips

These suggestions1 can help you and your baby enjoy tummy time:

Mother and baby enjoying Tummy Time
  • Spread out a blanket in a clear area of the floor for tummy time.
  • Try short tummy time sessions after a diaper change or after your baby wakes from a nap.
  • Put a toy or toys within your baby’s reach during tummy time to help your baby learn to play and interact with his or her surroundings.
  • Ask someone you trust to sit in front of your baby during tummy time to encourage interaction and bonding.
  • As your baby gets older, your tummy time sessions can last longer, and you can have them more often throughout the day.

Other Ways to Help Prevent Flat Spots on Your Baby’s Head

In addition to tummy time, parents and caregivers can try these other ways to help prevent flat spots from forming on the back of baby’s head:

  • Hold your baby upright when he or she is not sleeping. This is sometimes called “cuddle time.”
  • Limit the amount of time your baby spends in car seats, bouncers, swings, and carriers.
  • Change the direction your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next—for example, have your baby’s feet point toward one end of the crib one week, and then have the feet point toward the other end of the crib the next week.
  • https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/safesleepbasics/tummytime
Illustrations of a baby lying on his back in a crib.

Prenatal Exercise

There are endless resources for exercises, outdoor groups, online chat rooms, and prenatal workouts on line. I have found prenatal pilates classes and wonderful instructors who will individualize workouts for your particular needs. Local community centers and colleges offer specialized exercise programs for you. Most moms do better with the encouragement of other pregnant women. Plus it is so much fun to connect with those going through the same process as you. Sharing ideas and suggestions they have come across are a great benefit. As we are moving out of coved restrictions these opportunities are opening up.

Staying active during pregnancy prepares you for both delivery and recovery. Over the next few entries we will look over several different exercise programs suggested for pregnancy. Please let me know which ones you enjoy most! JUDY

Pregnancy Birth and Baby

Exercising during pregnancy

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/exercising-during-pregnancy

Doing regular physical activity has health benefits during pregnancy and also helps to prepare the body for childbirth. However, it is important to modify or choose a suitable exercise program because pregnancy affects the body’s response to exercise.

Pregnant woman exercising
Exercising during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Be sensible about the level of exercise that you do. Consult a doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional to make sure the exercise routine is not harmful for you or your baby. If the pregnancy is complicated (such as expecting more than one baby, high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-eclampsia, or risk of premature births) it is best to talk to a doctor.

Exercise tips 

Don’t exhaust yourself – a light to moderate exercise program should be the aim. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your maternity team advises you to. If in doubt, consult your maternity team. As a general rule, a light to moderate level should allow you to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless as you talk, then you’re probably exercising too strenuously.

If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you start an aerobic exercise program, tell the instructor that you’re pregnant and build up say begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, 3 times a week. Increase this gradually up to 5 30-minute sessions a week.

Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Exercise tips when you’re pregnant: 

  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
  • Try to keep active on a daily basis; 30 minutes of walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing. If you haven’t been active or are overweight, start with 3-4 days spread across the week.
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot or humid weather.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • If you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher is properly qualified, and knows that you’re pregnant and how many weeks pregnant you are. 
  • You might like to try swimming because the water will support your increased weight. Some local swimming pools provide aquanatal classes with qualified instructors.
  • Walking is a great exercise — it is a moderate aerobic activity but will have minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices are swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike.

Be sensible about the level of exercise that you do. Consult a doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional to make sure the exercise routine is not harmful for you or your baby. If the pregnancy is complicated (such as expecting more than one baby, high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-eclampsia, or risk of premature births) it is best to talk to a doctor.