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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Body after baby

This isn't a post about snapping back to pre-baby weight or anything, so don't get scared...not that there is anything wrong with that kind of post; I wish I could write one, I just can't because I'm still not there yet! This post is actually about those changes that are impacting my running, and how I am dealing with them.
I started back running just shy of two weeks after delivery. I've now been running for about 3 months, and have started to feel somewhat back to normal (if a bit out of shape), so it's a good time to look back at what has changed, what never changed, what has improved, and what needs work. 

1. Pelvic floor. This is the #1 hot topic for postpartum runners it seems! There is a real risk for urinary incontinence in postpartum runners (or non-runners!), and many women try to prevent this with preventative exercise during pregnancy. I am lucky that this was not a problem for me at any time, pre- or post-birth. And honestly I never did any of those exercises, either! I am sure this is a mix of luck, genetics, and form/posture that naturally tightens all the right muscles; regardless, it allowed me to return to running quickly and with few issues. 

2. Lower back. My lower back started hurting at the end of my pregnancy and it got so bad at 40+ weeks that not only was running completely out of the question, I was in pain all the time unless I was in the pool. I would jog in the pool to allow the water to support my extra weight and it was heavenly! While the severe back pain went away the minute I gave birth, lower back pain crops back up at the end of long runs and after hard workouts. I think this might be related to overall reduced core strength, plus plain old damage to my back. I have been terrible about getting core work in, honestly, but I plan to do better! I dropped abdominal workouts entirely for my whole pregnancy and for the weeks following birth because I was afraid of diastasis recti. And then I just got out of the habit. I need to do exercises like planks, supermans, and pilates 100s to strengthen that whole area. 

3. SI joint. I stopped running a few weeks before giving birth because of left SI joint pain. And the weird thing is that my left side never hurt again...but my right side has started inexplicably falling out of place. I will pick my leg up to take a step, and I feel the SI joint slip out of the correct position! Not at all pleasant. I can usually get it back with some stretches (a great one is squatting with one knee bent and the affected leg straight out to the side, foot flexed; bend at the waist with a straight back and rest your forearms on the ground in front of you. You can move your arms closer to the affected side as tolerated). I have no idea what the best long term treatment for this is and I'm kind of just hoping it goes away! 

4. Core. Probably the culprit here! As I mentioned above, I've slacked off here majorly. And my muscles are still trying to return to normal. I really need to just buckle down and do the core work! I know I have some damage to watch out for - I don't want to worsen it - but overall it's just weakness causing the slack muscles.

Any tips for strengthening lower back and core? Any SIJ exercises or tips? 


  1. I also did not have pelvic floor pain/incontinence. I carried really small with Paul so I am sure that helped. I was so out of shape after pregnancy since I wasn't able to be active during pregnancy due to all the RA flares. And I am still out of shape, honestly, as I have struggled to fit intense exercise into my life. Of course now is when I would be able to do a lot of exercising since I'm WFH so have gained a good 1.5 hours back in my day. But I am on very limited activity because of my SCH. So I keep walking and dream of a day when I can run again! Honestly, my biggest challenge after having Paul was dealing with my huge chest. I vehemently disliked being so big chested. I am usually on the smaller size so all the bouncing felt so so awful when I would try to run with the stroller. I probably just needed better sports bras but I didn't want to invest money in them since I knew my chest would go back to normal once I stopped pumping. Totally can not understand why any woman would get a breast augmentation. I hated having big boobs sooooo much.

    1. Could not agree more. They feel awful and frankly, I don't like how I look. I feel like I look sloppy and messy!

  2. Great post. As for the core, I have been doing compound exercises which require you to engage your core so that you are stable to do the exercise. Do a YouTube search for Bird Dogs - same arm and leg. I do that one a lot!