You've welcomed your baby into the world, and now you're ready to jump in and get your pre-baby body back. Whoa, mommy! You've just major abdominal surgery. Your abdominal muscles are working furiously to knit themselves back together after being stretched, cut and generally traumatized by pregnancy and birth.
Be patient, and take this time to focus on your new baby. For at least 6 weeks after a C-section, you shouldn't do any vigorous exercise such as jogging. Even then, it's important be conservative when you take to the pavement again.
The State of Your Tummy
During your C-section, your doctor made an incision into your abdominal cavity. She spread the abdominal muscles, then moved your bladder out of the way to get to your uterus. She then made an incision into your uterus to guide your sweet baby out. Then, she stitched up your uterus, put your bladder back in its place and sewed up your connective tissues, abdominal muscles and skin. There's a lot of healing going on in your midsection. Depending on how far you are in the recovery process, you might still have pain, reduced bladder control and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Talk to Your Doc
Your doctor is the only person who can tell you when it's safe to jog again. Don't start exercising until you've had a check-up and your doctor gives you the green light. Some doctors like to play it safe and will tell you not to resume jogging for at least three months after a C-section, while others may give you the go-ahead sooner than that. Ultimately, it depends on how complicated your procedure was, how quickly your body is healing and the nature of any symptoms you still may have.
Start With Walking
Just because you can't jog doesn't mean you shouldn't do any exercise. Walking is a great way to get back to fitness to burn some calories and work up to jogging. You may be able to start walking after a couple of weeks, depending on your doctor's advice.
Start slowly and gradually increase the time you spend walking. You might only feel up to doing 5 or 10 minutes at a slow pace to begin. Don't push yourself beyond what is comfortable. If you feel pain or have other uncomfortable symptoms while walking, stop and check in with your doc.
Increase Your Pace
Once you have been walking at a slow pace for a few weeks, and your feel good doing it, you can slowly increase your pace. Wear a fitness monitor or use an app on your phone to gauge your speed and make incremental changes. You're working up to a jog, which is typically a pace of 4 to 5 miles per hour, but take your time getting there.
Walk and Jog Intervals
Now that you've comfortably increased your walking pace, you can start to work in some jogging intervals. Do a slow jog for 1 minute every 4 minutes of walking. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend jogging and decrease the time spent walking.
Go for It
If you've got your doctor's approval and you're not feeling any pain, you can switch to jogging, but take it easy. Make sure you have supportive footwear with good shock absorption. Try to land as softly as you can on your forefoot and mid-foot, rather than slamming down with your heel.
Never push yourself farther than you can go. If you feel any pain or unusual discomfort or you experience bleeding, stop jogging and go back to walking after you've talked to your doctor.