Running Advice Postpartum

Updated on March 21, 2010
A.C. asks from Bronx, NY
8 answers

I was a runner before I had my first baby in October. Pre-pregnancy I ran about 5 miles 3-4 times per week. I stopped with my pregnancy and started up again as soon as my OB gave me the go ahead to work out. I'm now at 4 months postpartum and have been running once a week for 30 min, about 3 miles, and I am finding it very hard!! and my hips are very sore afterwards, sometimes for days!! Has this happened to anyone? Am I doing something wrong?

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So What Happened?

You're right, I am probably pushing myslelf too hard, I tried starting out slow (I've significantly decreased my speed and distance), but I guess it wasn't enough. I thought at 4 months postpartum that it would be ok. I am going to go back to walking and yoga until the soreness subsides, and then cut back to a slow jog. Thanks everyone!

More Answers



answers from New York on


The same thing happened to me. Both my hips and my knees hurt all of the time. I think that it has to do with the way your pelvis rotates to give birth. You just have to give it time to get itself back to normal. Try doing some hip focused exercises to strengthen the muscles in that area, and take it a little easy - maybe cut back from 5 miles to 3 or 4.




answers from Rochester on

I feel your pain….

I too enjoyed running before pregnancy & kids. And now… I’ve never been so out of shape in my life. I have 101 excuses and reasons why! However I truly do believe pregnancy takes quite a toll on your body. After my first baby I tried to start running again and everything felt different. Just as you said, my hips were hurting, but also I was experiencing patella tendonitis. I was very disappointed and thought I just had to face reality…I’m getting old and running is no good for your joints. So I had my second baby 18 months ago and then it seemed even harder to find time to exercise. I finally got myself into a good exercise routine (at 4am ugh!!) for about 10 weeks, got lazy for about 6 weeks and then broke my foot. Must have been my old brittle bones! I didn’t do any type of exercising for another 4 months. So then comes New Years & resolutions etc. and I went out to dinner with some friends. With a little liquid courage I agreed to do a ½ marathon with my girlfriend (I must be crazy). I knew this would be quite a challenge for me for many reasons. I have never run that kind of distance, the longest distance I ever did was a 10K. I knew I was completely out of shape. I would have to start waking up between 4 & 4:30am every day to train (it really is the only time I can do it). I started to get really excited about training and knew I had to start at the very beginning. So that is what I did. My co-worker gave me the “From Couch Potato to 5K” program. So here is where the advice comes in. I started the program which was walk 1 minute, run 1 minute. I thought to myself, “this is for a novice, I can do more” and I over did it. Well immediately I was feeling pain all over. I backed off and did the program as it was written except I had to expedite it so I could start training for the ½ marathon. So if you’re anything like me and feel you can run 2 miles easily after being pregnant, giving birth and not running for many months, think again. You’re best off starting out really slow, I mean EXTREMELY slow. Just a little bit at a time. It is really tough to do especially when you remember doing 5 miles so easily. Do tons of stretching before & after you run (this is where I feel the most out of shape with inflexibility after having kids). I mix in a yoga and weight workout on the days I don’t run, which really helps the body. I’m up to 3 miles now and battling the tendonitis still but at least the hip pain is gone and I feel like I’m in better shape. I’m still not even sure my body will be able to handle the ½ marathon, we’ll see. Best of Luck getting back to running…Think Slow!

A little about Me: I'm a working Mom of 2 wonderful, little girls, 3-1/2 years & 18 months.



answers from Albany on

Your body spent a lot of time stretching all the ligaments in your body to prepare for childbirth. You need to give it time to get back to normal. I know your OB said you're ready, but your body can't change in 6 weeks what it spent 9 months working on. You're not doing anything wrong. You'll get back to normal, just take it slow. Maybe start by walking for a couple weeks and then jogging for a while before you really go out and run hard. Listen to your body. If you're getting sore after jogging, then go back to walking for a bit before you try it again.
Good luck.



answers from New York on

Before I got pregnant with my 1st, I had worked my way up to an 18 mile run. My first time back to running 6 weeks after giving birth, I had to stop after .25 mile. It was very humbling. Give yourself the rest you need...let your body be your guide. I pushed myself and raced a 1/2 marathon 9 months after my daughter's birth...but I look back now and realize that was pretty aggressive. I'm pregnant again and plan on giving myself more recovery time this time around, and being more respectful of the amazing feat my body has accomplished!



answers from New York on

You had stopped an exercise for awhile...One can't expect to pick up where they had left off with it when it comes to exercising especially when their body has gone through a lot of changes. My guess is you are taken on too much to soon with running. Slow some gentle warm up exercises and go out walking for awhile doing a little each day....every week walk a little further. Then start walking a little faster for a week or two....slowly working your way into running again. In the process, stay focused on how your body is feeling..slowing down as needed. Also thinking you might need to find a gentle exercise that will strengthen your hips. Talk to a Physical therapist or a Pilates instructor about this. You also might want to soak in an Epson Salt bath to relax your body after exercising.



answers from New York on

I'm not a runner, but a yoga-er. I found that for many months after giving birth my balance was waaaay off, my hips felt unsupportive, I couldn't stand on one foot, I was just all off kilter. It took quite a bit of time, and patience to acknowledge my new body. Now (17 months later) I totally feel like myself again. It might take 6 months, who knows. Listen to your body - the pain is probably because the ligaments aren't strong enough yet to support your body the way it needs to. But kudos to you for exercising again - that's getting you off to an excellent start.



answers from New York on

Hi A.,

I am a runner and this happened to me as well after I had my baby.
Everything has changed and you have to get use to your new body.
Also you can't push your self as hard for a while.
It may be ok to run, but not (yet) at the same level post baby.
Eventually things will get back to a new normal for you.



answers from San Francisco on

I feel your pain. I am 7 months postpartum and finally feel normal running again (minus the huge nursing boobs and jiggly tummy).

I tried at 6 weeks and again at 4 months postpartum. Running did not go well. I was in pain after about 1/4 mile. It felt like pregnancy had taken a wrecking ball to my body.

I'm so glad that did not last forever. I guess it's true "It takes 9 months to have a baby, and another 9 months to recover."

Next question: When to Start Running After Delivering Baby