I am sure that if you are a runner, or were a runner, and have recently had a baby you would be aware that a high profile trainer (Michelle Bridges) was back running just 3 weeks after having her first baby. Michelle seems like Super Woman and all of us would like to be like her! Why would her pelvic floor be different than ours?
Surely we can all run 3 weeks after giving birth also!
We contacted expert physiotherapist, Angela Melit, of Graceville Physio. With her expertise in women, well-being, and fitness, she was able to aptly help us with three useful tips for getting back into running after having a baby.
Let me introduce you to a client of mine. Her name, too, is Michelle.
Michelle had her first baby at 30 years of age. She used to run for fitness semi-regularly and played touch football once a week. She always found that other forms of exercise just didn’t do it for her so after having her baby she was keen to start running as soon as she could.
Michelle ran through her pregnancy, all the way up until about 6 months. She stopped after noticing some lower abdominal pain and leakage showed after running less than just 2km.
Michelle had the normal issues that come along with pregnancies - vaginal tears and such. She had some urinary incontinence immediately after birth which lasted about a week. She noticed it when she laughed, coughed or sneezed.
Michelle had her abdominal checked for separation after birth and was told that she had only one finger separation between her muscles. Because she only had slight separation she was told that there was no need to wear any form of support garment.
Our Michelle decided if Michelle Bridges could start running again so soon after giving birth, so could she.
She was fit and healthy and so decided when her baby was 4 weeks old that she would start running just 2km.
After her first run Michelle felt a little “weird” in the lower back but did not think much of it. Two days later she went for another run, however once again felt the discomfort.
With Michelle Bridges as her motivation, she decided to keep going.
As happy as she was to be back running, she stopped after her third 2km run. It was at this point she realised the running could be the source of the pain. Michelle was understandably devastated.
It was an exercise she loved doing and importantly it a great stress reliever for her. With worries about her lack of fitness, weight gain and the stress of being a new mum, it wasn’t long before the whole family unit suffered. She felt unhealthy, unfit and fat.
Michelle happened to see one of our posts on Facebook about getting back into shape after having a baby and thought that one of our “Body Fix” programs could work for her. Michelle booked in for an appointment. We helped Michelle develop a plan which directed her towards her end goal of being able to run again without damaging anything in the process. She could see that there was light at the end of the tunnel!
Initially we were able to work out that Michelle needed to strengthen certain muscles, relax other muscles and allow her pelvic region to heal before embarking on an exercise program involving running. We gave Michelle a step by step program and educated her so that she was empowered to make decisions about her plan that suited her best.
So what are our 3 top tips?
Six months after the birth of her baby, Michelle was able to run 3 times a week.
Now, 6 months seems a long time to wait, but Michelle was running better than she had been running even before her pregnancy! Her body was working efficiently, she had a strong core and a strong pelvic floor.
She even started to play touch football again.
Michelle was happy that she could eat without feeling concerned about putting on weight, her husband was thrilled because she was so happy and her baby thrived because his mum had plenty of energy and spent a lot of time playing with him. Everybody benefited because Michelle did not settle for being in pain, unfit and depressed.
It may not be running, it might just be getting Strong, Active, and Pain free.
You can book an appointment with a Graceville Physio 'Pain Slayer' online or call (07) 3278 1186.