If you took part in a sport, regularly competed in events, or participated in intense programmes such as crossfit, bootcamps etc. before having a baby you may be wondering when you can return to this AFTER having your baby?
Dependant on whether your delivery was a c-section or a vaginal delivery (with/without tearing/episiotomy/assisted) your healing time will vary, but ultimately your body will progress through 3 stages of healing?
ACUTE INFLAMMATORY PHASE - lasting around 7 days. During this phase there will be bleeding, pain and swelling so the body can prepare for repair. You need to prioritise rest and recovery, and healing nutrition.
SUB-ACUTE PHASE - from 1-6 weeks+ after delivery. During this phase new tissue gets laid down but in quite an unorganised way. It's likely you will start to feel better and experience less pain, but there is a high risk of injury during this time. It's very tempting to starting over-exerting and sometimes your body will tell you you've done too much. Focus should be on early rehabilitation, reconnecting with core and pelvic floor and improving mobility and posture as well healing nutrition focusing on quality protein, plenty of veg, good fats and water. What is also important during this time to aid healing is reducing stress (using your support network and prioritising some self-care) and also sleep (whenever you can!).
REMODELLING PHASE - lasting from 4 weeks to 2 YEARS after delivery!!! This is a very overlooked phase of healing and a lot of women will return to pre-pregnancy activities as soon as that 6 week mark passes. This phase is the time to "remodel" that unorganised tissue that was laid down in the previous phase. You should remain free of dysfunction such as bladder leakage, heaviness/prolapse, back pain, feeling empty inside, and free of injury, aches and pain. Specific programming may be necessary to recap over early rehab on breathing technique, posture, movement patterns, pelvic floor relaxation (and maybe strength) and lifestyle habits.
Mums using Willow find they feel stronger after having a baby than before they conceived (me included!).
You will reap the most rewards if you don't rush and invest time in your postnatal recovery.
Be the tortoise, not the hare.
Go against the societal grain!
Develop some compassion for yourself!
If you are looking at getting back to running or in fact any high impact sport or activity after having a baby, please take a look at my Mum on the Run programme - a fully comprehensive course to support you in your quest to returning to running.
This programme is also suitable for women who are already running but feel their technique and can be more pelvic floor friendly. Maybe you are picking up injuries or experiencing some pelvic floor dysfunction or pain during or after running?