This pregnancy is already different than my last. When I was pregnant with my girls (twins) I was well prepared and physically fit. When we got pregnant I was probably the strongest I have ever been, and I put in the hard work to rehab well after I had the girls. It took a lot of dedication but I was successful at returning to half marathon running and triathlon like I wanted. Now I’m pregnant again and I’m not going to lie, it feels a bit daunting knowing the work I have in front of me to get back to where I want to be. I want to keep doing all the things I love doing, like running and lifting heavy but my body tells me to slow down. I have to force myself to listen to it, and not blow past the signs it’s giving me. I have to quiet my athlete brain. My sister said it best: “ I’ve got a new body (that I don’t necessarily like) that can’t do the things I want it to right now, but I’ll meet it where it’s at (not where I want to be) and try to take it there!
Right now I am trying to train smart while I carry this baby, later I plan to train smart so that I can return to all of the activities that make me feel like me.
This post is geared more towards those postpartum mama’s. When we are pregnant everyone is capable of maintaining different levels of activity. What I was capable of doing with my twin pregnancy may be different than what I am capable of now. My body is different that it was when I was pregnant with them and over the next few months it’ll continue to change quite rapidly. My focus is on navigating this time to feel best now and to best prepare for my postpartum journey to be successful.
So here we go… When we are pregnant our glutes and core get “turned off”, and if we don’t take the time to really rebuild and give them the attention they deserve, often they don’t return to full strength.
Many women love running because it is convenient, free and “easy” with a baby. The problem is that if we return to running too early and we do not work on core and glute strength recovery, running poses more risk than reward. Symptoms may present as urinary incontinence, pain or a diastasis recti that doesn’t seem to be resolving.
Your pelvic floor, glutes and abdominals are a lovely trio – the best of friends! If you haven’t done the work to rehab, your pelvic floor likely isn’t optimally supported. We need our pelvic floor when we run; not only to prevent leaking but for efficiency and strength!
Touching on efficiency, we should discuss posture. Mom runners tend to fall into one of two camps:
- The “twerk”. This is common with those pushing a jogging stroller. Think low back WAY arched and ribs flared out with the chest up.
- The “mom bum” (butt tucker), who runs on her heels almost like she is “tucking her tail”.
Now, while recovery of strength/stability and posture can help the pelvic floor to feel supported and optimally function we should probably briefly discuss the pelvic floor more specifically. It is just as dysfunctional to be too tight as it is to be weak. Dysfunction may present as:
- straining to empty our bowels or bladder
- pain with sex or tampons.
Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist on alignment, glute strength, and core strength is going to help your pelvic floor and get you back to doing whatever it is you want to be doing! You deserve it mama!
~ Lindsay, Physiotherapist