16 Reasons Not to Start Running Before 12 Weeks Postpartum

You should wait 12 weeks, or 3 months, at a minimum before beginning a gradual return to running! You should also make sure you've built a solid foundation, and have restored your core and pelvic floor before lacing up after you have your baby.

Have you heard yet that you should wait to start running postpartum until 12 weeks? Not 6 weeks, like was previously thought and recommended?

I’ve been a runner through 2 of my 3 pregnancies and postpartum experiences. After I had my second, I was itching to get back to running sooner than what my body was ready for.

I started too early. I was only 8 weeks postpartum, but I hadn’t run since 6 months pregnant because of some serious, and I mean serious, pelvic girdle pain/symphysis pubis dysfunction.

So I essentially had not run for 5 months!!

Not only did I start running too early, but I did too much, too fast.

And it did not feel great on my body: I had achy knees, my belly felt wiggly and jiggly, my low back and SI joint sometimes clicked and I still had pubic joint and groin pain before, during and after running!

You need to start slow and build your strength and aerobic capacity gradually!

Guidelines to Start Running Postpartum

Guidelines came out a year after I had my second baby on when it’s recommended to get back to running post-baby.

3 months postpartum.

MINIMUM!!

You should be waiting 12 weeks, or 3 months, at a minimum before beginning a gradual return to running!

You bet your bottom dollar that I waited the 12 weeks to start running (and then a little more, to be completely honest!) before getting back to it after I had my 3rd!

By waiting longer and by doing the right preparation for it, my transition back to running has been like night and day compared to the last time around.

It has been such smooth sailing. No issues and no setbacks. I’m running regularly and comfortably now. And that is SUCH a good feeling.

I’m literally training for a half marathon in half the time it took me my last postpartum!!

16 Reasons to Wait to Start Running Postpartum

Many moms are eager to get back to it before 12 weeks, however, here are 16 solid reasons why you should definitely wait to get back to it:

  1. Healing after having a baby takes an average of 3-6 months.
  2. The 6 week “all clear” is outdated advice.
  3. You risk developing pelvic floor issues.
  4. You risk worsening pelvic floor issues you might already have.
  5. For a vaginal delivery, healing time for all the muscles, soft tissue, joints, nerves, etc. is 4-6 months.
  6. If you had a C-section, your abdominal tissues take 6-7 months to regain 73-93% of their previous strength.
  7. Because of relaxin still in the body post-birth (and even longer if you’re breastfeeding), you’re at a higher risk for injury.
  8. You’re at risk for joint pain, especially of the knees and hips, if you start too early.
  9. You need time to heal your diastasis recti.
  10. You need time to prepare your pelvic floor for the huge stress and impact of running.
  11. Even if you delivered via C-section, your pelvic floor has undergone A LOT during pregnancy, so you STILL need to rehab it!
  12. You need time to heal your SPD, SI Joint, low back, or pelvic pain.
  13. You don’t want to cause or worsen a prolapse.
  14. You don’t want to cause leaking with activity.
  15. You should heal your leaking/incontinence issue BEFORE starting to run again.
  16. You *just* delivered a baby that you grew for 9 months! Your running will be there waiting for you when your body is ready!

Prep to Start Running

Just because you can’t start running before the 12 weeks, doesn’t mean you should be doing nothing.

There is a TON of stuff that you can (and should) be doing BEFORE that 12 week mark to make sure you are run ready when the time comes.

Get your comprehensive PDF guide of Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises. You can start doing these exercises the day you give birth, weeks, months or years after so you can start the recovery process and prepare for returning to run. These exercises will help improve your posture, realign your spine and help with your pelvic floor health. Click HERE for your Guide.

Rachel holding her kids in front of her house

Get back to normal. Get back to running.

I help Moms at all stages of postpartum get back into running successfully to relieve pain, remove discomfort and enrich lives.

Learn more about me
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