I feel like I need to say something….

Happy Sunday!

 

The internets/blog world is going a bit nutty lately after one of the more popular bloggers has started doing heavy workouts really soon after giving birth. It is like another Mommy-Wars, but on when to start working out again.

Obviously, everyone can choose when they can begin working out again, with consultation with their doctors. There is nothing wrong with starting light to moderate exercise as soon as you feel up to it, actually it is encouraged. You can go for walks, do modified crunches, push-ups – light to moderate activity. If a couple of weeks go by and you are feeling fine, then perhaps a light run is in order (after checking with your doctor). Many elites do start training again fairly soon – but the key point is that they are elite athletes who not only train way harder than most of us ever will and are usually supported by sports doctors, coaches and other health professionals. That, and do you notice that there is usually an athlete baby-boom right after the Olympics?

After I gave birth to Max, I did not run again until he was 3 months old. Part of the reason was that it was winter, but also I was tired, sleep-deprived and sore. Max was not allowed to sleep through the night until he was three months old, as per doctors instructions (see this post), so sleep was a tad bit more important to me at that point. I also had complications with my stitches. I will spare you the visual, but I was not allowed to do anything until 6 weeks had past.  I remember going to my OB and complaining that my butt was sore. My joints were so out of whack, that sitting for long periods of time hurt. He said this “listen – it took 40 weeks for your body to make that baby, it is going to take some time to get it back”. I did not post before/after baby shots or discuss my weight on this blog – nor will I ever. Delivering a baby is no easy feat. Not only does it stretch your skin, pregnancy also has an affect on your muscles and your joints. For anyone that has given birth before, you know that the first time you go pee feels very weird. Not because of tearing/stitches (well, maybe a bit), but because your pelvic floor muscles are so weak.

Runners/athletes talk all the time about injury prevention and what not to do when training to avoid things like shin splints, stress fractures and other common athletic injuries. We schedule taper weeks and recovery weeks – just for running a race. Yes – running a race is hard – but it is absolutely nothing like delivering a baby. One of the most popular piece of advice that I have seen for training is not to go out too hard or run too far when you first start. Speed work isn’t introduced until the later stages of training to avoid injury (where do you think my injury came from). In our track and field practice plans (which are planned months if not a year in advance) – we go through stages, building up the workouts, then tapering, then starting over again from the beginning. Most coaches do not even introduce weight training at track until grade 11/12. So why the rush to get back to exercising only a couple weeks after giving birth? As I mentioned on twitter, I just do not get it.

The biggest problem that I’ve seen over some of these posts/instagram pictures is that people may take this as something normal to do after pregnancy. I’ve seen comments like “I want to be just like you”, “you are so inspirational” as well as some not-so-nice comment fighting. Some women may be recovered enough to resume these activities, most of us however, will probably not be. You can really do some harm if you go out too hard, too soon, JUST like training for a marathon! I really hope that expectant and new mothers are not thinking that it is average to start squatting with weights right away and limiting food intake. I also saw other comments that new Moms were feeling like they were not putting enough effort in working out because they were struggling with a newborn and not exercising as much.

Trust me – you will be just fine. Whether you start again at 6 weeks or at 6 months

My first run back from pregnancy was on March 12, 2012. I ran over 8:00/km. I did not see an average pace under 6:00/km until May.  If I wasn’t concentrating on Marathon training, I could probably say that I would go under 25:00 in the 5K this year.

I am in better shape today than I was before pregnancy – and from some conversations on twitter, I am not the only one who waited a bit and is now rocking at running.

You will be ok, you will be fit again – just do not feel compelled to get it all done right away. Make sure to eat enough, hydrate often and most of all – get enough sleep! 

I tried  making this post not judgemental. Everyone is different, and everyone has different experiences. I am more concerned that women will find this normal and cause an injury or that Moms are feeling down that they are just not at that point yet. Don’t worry and as always (for the last time) – discuss with your doctor first. If you have gotten back into physical fitness and are feeling great – keep at it! Just be mindful to avoid injury/complications. 

Have a great rest of the weekend! 🙂

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10 Comments

  1. Nicole

    Such a great post and so very true! Relaxin is in your body for months after giving birth so you are more likely to get injured from that as well.

    For me, working out is partially mental. It’s my break from being a mom, working, etc. I struggled bc I couldn’t even go for a walk around the block after Leo.

    Even now, 5m post partum, I really have to rein myself in bc I feel good (thankfully this baby sleeps better, for now) but my body is still tellingly that 1) I just carried a baby for 9m and 2) I had major surgery. I don’t want aajor injury and my knees are telling me to slow down. Luckily I don’t have a huge desire to run too much, esp not far so that’s probably a good thing for my recovery.

    I’m intrigued as to who this mama blogger is. I know of a few that I follow and on IG that seem to return to hardcore working out right away.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Working out is great for that exact reason – mental fitness is also really important. For me – just getting out and walking in Ikea made a difference.

      You had a C-section which is completely different ballgame. I had surgery in 2008 that was similar to a C-section incision and that knocked me right off me feet for awhile – without having a newborn to take care of 🙂

      Reply
      1. Nicole

        Agreed! Some of these moms are recovering from csections and jumping back into working out 3 weeks post partum! I blame running after a toddler as well as caring for a newborn for my longer recovery but even still I doubt I would have been back to working out before 6 weeks. Your body needs to recover!

        Reply
  2. Kristi @ Blog for an Average Runner

    I am so with you on this! I wasn’t a runner when I had my kids but I can tell you I was not ready for any major exercise for quite a while after birth. There is too much pressure these days on woman to be the perfect employee/athlete/housekeeper/mother/whatever right after birth. I kind of envy societies that believe the only thing a mother needs to be doing is nursing and sleeping in the months after pregnancy.
    Kristi @ Blog for an Average Runner recently posted…Real Runners Run in RainMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      There was an interesting documentary on the work/life balance for women in professional careers and I remember nodding yes quite a bit. There is only so much time and yes, I would agree that it seems we have to do everything 100% right away. I can only imagine what it must be like for other Moms in other countries who have to go back to work in 3 months or less.

      Reply
  3. Carmy

    I missed out on this popular blogger’s post! (totally out of the loop) I haven’t given birth so I feel like I have no real right to say anything about the topic but my opinion is if you push a baby out of you, take all the time you need to recover! Giving birth isn’t exactly a walk in the park and I can only imagine being how tired post-pregnancy can be with a new baby that needs to be cared for!
    Carmy recently posted…Think out loud #6My Profile

    Reply
    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      It is a new kind of tired. Even my OB (who is a Dad) commented that on-calls were nothing like having a newborn, lol

      Reply
  4. Heather @ GirlGoesRunning

    Okay, I totally feel so out of the loop, lol. Clearly I don’t know of ‘this blogger.’ I do not have any kids yet, and I always wonder what it’s like for returning moms into running/working out. I seem to hear most say that when they do resume running their post baby body is faster and stronger. Any truth to that? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      There apparently is a few of them from what I’ve heard now – but just one is catching my attention.

      Yes – I do feel that I am a much better runner now than I was before I had Max. Several Moms today/yesterday told me the same thing. What it is – I don’t know. However – the bigger races (Marathons, Ironman (half or full) are known to be quite a challenge to parents (Moms and Dads) because of the time commitments.

      Reply
  5. Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure

    I’m not in the loop as to what caused this post, but I hate that other moms feel pressured to get back their “pre-baby” body and their pre-baby level of fitness. It’s not only a recipe for psychological disaster, but it can be physically dangerous, too!
    Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure recently posted…The Broadway Experience in New York CityMy Profile

    Reply

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