Friday, October 25, 2013

Running after Baby - Let's Get it Started

Did you read the last part of the title like the Black Eyed Peas song? No? Now I can't get it out of my head!

So, first of all I need to be clear about one thing, I am by no means an expert in any of this. I have had no training, nor done any research past my own curiosity, so please check in with your doctor before starting anything. This is simply a reflection on my experiences with running post-pregnancy. Take it or leave it.

A little background:
I desperately wanted to run during all of my pregnancies. I had read a bunch of research that said exercising throughout pregnancy is good for you and the baby. I also learned that it would be easier to shed the pounds and get back in shape after the baby. Sounded good to me.

Unfortunately, with my first son I was incredibly cautious, as many first time mothers are. I didn't want to do anything wrong. So, instead of continuing my running routine I began walking and using lower impact machines at the gym. I was by no means regular with my exercising, sporadic would be a good description of it.

With my second son, I lived in constant fear. I experienced two miscarriages between my two kids and was so afraid that it would happen again that I stopped doing everything...running, drinking coffee, everything. I just didn't want to rock the boat. It was crazy.

With my third son I vowed to be more laid back. I adopted a fate based stance. If we were meant to have this baby we would. And so I ran. I ran until I was five months pregnant and then I continued walking three to four miles with my boys (they rode bikes). I definitely felt better and so much more relaxed during this pregnancy. Another added bonus was that the boys were getting extra exercise everyday and we had time to chat while we walked.

I can honestly say that I think all this pregnancy exercise has helped me bounce back faster which was extra important this time since I have two other boys to chase around. You may also be asking yourself what the heck running and exercise has to do with our home. Well, when I don't exercise I am less than chipper. I snap more quickly, yell more, it is not pretty. When I run we have a calmer happier home.

If you are planning to start running after having a baby here are some pieces of advice for before the actual first day of running.

1. You have to walk before you run. Not necessarily walk, but you should start slowly and see how your body responds. With my first son I did too much too soon and my body rewarded me with blood. (Yes, I know, ewww!) If your bleeding picks up it is a sign that you have done too much. Small steps.

2. Listen to your body. Bleeding is not the only way your body may tell you that you are doing too much. With my second son, I tried to do some light weights and calisthenics before my six week check-up. I felt great right after exercising, but a few hours later when I bent down to pick up the baby from the crib I threw my back out. I was literally laying on the floor with the baby on my chest unable to move. My mother had to come rescue me. Not fun.

3. Check in with your doctor. I always wait for my six week check up to get the okay from doctor before I start running. (I do walk before) But, if you are super motivated, you may want to call or email your doctor just to get their advice before starting. They are trained professionals after all.

I hope that helps you get started. More next week! Wish me luck as I start to get back on the running train trail.

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