Postpartum Body, Fitness + Running Update

Hi guys! Exciting news… over the weekend I jogged about 3/4 of a mile (with some walking breaks in there) – the first time I’ve been able to do that since last summer! I was heading out to take Freyja for a quick walk solo and decided last minute to swap out my nursing tank for a sports bra to see how jogging felt, because I hadn’t tried it recently. And what do you know – it still didn’t feel amazing, but it definitely felt better! My pelvic floor feels normal/fine, and while my C section area still felt weird/tender, it didn’t hurt like it did last time I tried to jog a few weeks ago.

postpartum c section running

Weirdly, one of the things that bothered me most was actually my aggressively tight groin muscles. Is that normal for a C section? Or just for postpartum in general? I’m sure the lack of stretching and all the sitting I was doing after Riese was born probably contributed to that, as well as all the shifting/changing my body has done over the past year, but it was still kind of weird. I do remember that 4 or 5 weeks after Riese was born when I first started doing some light stretching I was so tight that I couldn’t lie on my back with one leg straight on the floor and the other leg lifted – I had to bend my lower leg knee or lift that leg slightly off the floor. Thankfully now that’s not the case anymore, but I guess things are still just extremely tight! (For more on some of the gentle core strengthening and stretching moves I have been doing post C-section, check out this post: Getting Back into Fitness After a C Section.)

I definitely want to continue to be extra cautious with the running because I’m not looking to injure myself or set back my surgery recovery by ramping things up too quickly, but I’m hoping that now that I’m 4 months out from the C-section I can start to incorporate a tiny bit of jogging into the mix once or twice a week on the occasion that I’m already out doing a solo dog walk anyway. We’ll see – I’d love to be able to do a 5k in late spring/early summer… once I get a better idea of how long I think it might take to build back up, I want to pick a race!

walking the dog

My body is starting to feel a lot more like my own again in general, which is nice. My C-section scar area is still tender and a bit numb, but it’s healing up well. (I’ve been using this Vitamin E oil to do some scar massage at the recommendation of my postnatal PT and I think that has helped… here’s a video on how to massage your C-section scar if you’re interested.)

As for other fitness, I am making it out consistently to 2 classes per week now, occasionally 3 if I’m feeling especially energetic. I’m doing one to two strength/boot camp style classes, and/or one yoga class.

postpartum c section workout

It has made the most sense to do the yoga class over the weekend when Matt is home, if our schedule allows… I usually just play it by ear and go if timing works out, and if not that’s okay too. For the strength classes I’ve been doing early morning during the week with my workout buddies Chelsea and Kathleen – I leave when Matt and Riese are still asleep and am home by the time Riese is up and needs to eat (although I leave a bottle of pumped milk just in case she’s hungry before I’m back), so it works out well timing-wise. It’s hard because I can’t always fall back asleep after feeding Riese in the middle of the night before my alarm goes off again to get up for the workout, but seeing my workout buddies makes me happy and it feels good to move my body so it’s worth getting a little less sleep once or twice a week to make those classes happen.

Unless Riese has literally JUST eaten (that magical timing pretty much never happens though), I get up with enough time to pump to make sure I’m not full of milk when I’m bouncing around in a class – that probably wouldn’t feel great. I have a snack and some green tea (I save the coffee for post-workout) while I pump… my Oatmeal Banana Coconut Cookies are my recent fave pre-workout as well as middle of the night nursing fuel snack – so good! Not too dry and not too sweet. (Also, after trying a couple different brands my favorite hands free pumping bra is officially the Simple Wishes brand bra – thank you to those who recommended that! SO NICE to be able to have my hands free to eat/drink/play on my phone while pumping rather than just sitting there awkwardly holding the flanges.)

how to manage working out and breastfeeding timing

I don’t need to modify as many of the moves in classes anymore now, although I still avoid or dial down some of the core work (especially crunches – I usually do tabletop and lift alternating arms and legs instead). I’m also being cautious in terms of the amount of weight I’m lifting, and making sure to focus on form vs. speed. If I’m slower than everyone else to finish something or do less reps overall, no worries. It’s more important to do the move properly and safely.

band pulls

My #1 form of fitness since Riese arrived in November is still walking, though! I love doing lots of walks with her, and as she gets heavier I get stronger – doing a long walk with what’s essentially a weighted vest on is no joke! I wasn’t able to walk while wearing her until my body healed up a bit, but now I love it.

For tomorrow’s fitness, it’s my day off from work to spend with Riese, and my Wednesday PACE mom’s group is over, so I’m going to take Riese to a baby and mommy yoga class! I’m excited – obviously the point of it is not a big workout but rather some fun play time with Riese and a little stretching as a bonus. Apparently they teach you a little baby massage during the class too which is fun and something I’ve been wanting to try! I’ll report back later this week on how the class is. We will see how timing works out in terms of her eating… just watch she’ll want to eat during the whole class. ;) Have any of you guys tried baby + mommy yoga classes before? Any tips/things to expect? I want to try one of the stroller group workout classes soon too… I hear the stroller strong moms group in the area is awesome! I believe they are indoors right now and move outdoors come April.

Have a nice day guys!

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  1. 1

    I’d love to hear about your baby and mommy yoga class! Are you going to the one Yoga Works/Tranquil Space?

  2. 3
    TrackBuddy says

    YAY starting up running again! LMK whenever you’re ready for an easy few miles on a spring weekend.

  3. 5

    I go to a Yoga studio that specializes in pre-natal and post-natal Yoga. They have two levels of baby classes, one for babies who aren’t on the move yet and one for Crawlers (or wigglers or rollers or whatever). My daughter was never really chill enough to relax on a blanket for a full hour class as a little one and even now (at 10.5 months) has a spidey sense for when it’s time for pigeon pose (my favourite) and always needs attention then. I’ve enjoyed the Crawlers classes more, although they still aren’t relaxing as you’ve always got one eye open. Ultimately, I would have preferred a class where the baby was a more active participant. So now I really just enjoy going to Yoga alone as my me-time.

    • 6

      Thanks for sharing this, very interesting! I will have to see how active a participant they have the babies be in the class I’m going to… I’m hoping very active! I hear you on solo yoga for me-time, though – yoga with a child in tow will certainly be fun but I know I won’t be zen-ing out at all or anything. :)

  4. 7

    I loved my mama and baby yoga class, and it was 1000% fine (and encouraged and wonderful) to nurse, change diapers, and comfort the baby during the class. I also found that no matter how I thought I felt going into it, I felt MUCH better going home. The focus on stretching shoulders and back and all of the places that get tight and tired from holding and nursing and pumping made a huge difference. I took a few classes when my baby was between 3 and 9 months (yoga, music, and after 6 months, swimming) and I loved them all. It felt like a time to enjoy the baby, which somehow felt a little different than taking care of the baby. I’m not sure I’ve articulated that well, but regardless of the workout, I think you’ll have a great time.

    I do Stroller Strides with my toddler now, and you might have to check with your pediatrician or check your manual about what age it’s safe to work out with a baby in the stroller.

    • 8

      So fun – I love that you did music and swimming classes too! I’ll have to look into those when she’s older. :) The stroller class I’m looking at is actually just the strollers lined up against the wall (or at the side of the park if they are outside) and the moms workout on their own while the babes chill out in the strollers (or, you know, don’t chill out, depending) – it’s a boot camp/strength workout. I believe they have a running group too with the strollers but I definitely wouldn’t do that until Riese is older/has better head control!

      • 9

        I did Fit4Mom Arlington (stroller strides) when we lived in the area and my daughter was a baby and just walked from station to station instead of run (and I’d say about half the class did this) until she was 6 months. It isn’t a really awesome group, I can’t recommend it enough! I tried stroller strong at another location and I didn’t like it as much as Fit4Mom but it might have just been the location. I know both offer your first class for free so check out both and find what works for you!

  5. 14
    Roadrunner says

    Very impressive! Well done!

  6. 15

    So glad you were able to try a bit of running and it felt better than before! As for the tight groin…. I think that is totally normal. My groin and hips were very tight after both of my kids and they loosened up with time. I’m sure yoga will help you loosen up faster and just being up and about more now that your incision has healed is a big thing!

  7. 17

    Since working on recovering my relationship with exercise, walking has been my best friend! I forgot how much I enjoyed it and it continues to be one of my favorites ways to move. It’s so relaxing in the evenings after a long day at work, and since I can enjoy a walk around the neighborhood, I don’t feel like I have to go anywhere like the track or gym. I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks as I go, plus being able to slow down and really enjoy the scenery. Looks like you’re doing great getting back out there!

  8. 19

    Mommy and me yoga classes are so fun, but definitely not a legit workout haha. Stroller Strides is amazing!!! Awesome workout (or not, it’s really up to you) and I’ve met lots of my close friends there! Instructors are great at entertaining a crying a baby when they need it. Highly highly recommend.

    Also, music classes are a good time but I wouldn’t go until baby can sit up on her own, because when you have to hold them the entire time, it’s not too fun.

  9. 21

    Hi Anne! Yes, I think post partum in general for the tight groin muscles. When pregnant, our base of support has to widen so our legs move out a bit (hence the waddle!). That makes our hip adductors (groin muscles) work more to stabilize. For a while post partum I had a hard time with jumping heel clicks; those muscles were like no way!

  10. 23

    I second FIT4MOM and it does move outside April 2!
    I would love to hear more about the baby yoga. We are expecting our first in June. A little girl. :)

  11. 25

    It’s really been 4 months already?! It’s great to hear you’re healing nicely and getting back in shape. I am now 9 weeks after my c section, 6 after the second surgery and while I feel great I’m still in the “i feel so weird when running” phase. I hope it passes soon because I too would like to pick a short race for late spring.

  12. 26

    Yay so good to hear you’re steadily getting back to normal! That would be so great for you if you could do a race soon; probably the best way to dive back into running. And it’s honestly a lot to be proud of that you make it out for those 2-3 classes a week; I think many would choose to sleep in instead (which is definitely beneficial many times as well!)

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