How weight training during pregnancy can benefit your running after birth

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Returning back to your normal running regime after you’ve just spent the past nine months homing your unborn baby (not forgetting the transformations your body experiences in labour too) can be intimidating. And we’re not talking about the fear of your PB having plummeted dramatically because you’ve been out of running game for a good few months now.

Post-baby running comes with a whole new list of worries: postpartum pain, incontinence and even diastasis recti (abdominal separation). But fear no more: a recent study published by Sports Health journal has revealed that weight training during pregnancy may decrease your risk of experiencing all of these post-labor running fears.

The cross-sectional survey included 507 postpartum runners who ran regularly pre-pregnancy, and who were now easing their way back into their running plan with one run a week were divided into two groups.  The first group had 200 participants who reported giving birth within the past two years, while the second, had just over 400 who’d given birth within the past ten years.

READ: Healthy running during pregnancy

Female runners, who had given birth naturally more than once in under two years, faced greater risk of urine leakage. While those who had experienced musculoskeletal pain (excessively increased strain on their muscles and joints due to hormonal changes, weight gain, and postural changes while pregnant) during pregnancy were more likely to have pain when returning to their pre-pregnancy run. Also, those who'd had a C-section were at greater risk of abdominal separation.

Now, here comes the ultimate game changer: the runners who'd carried out regular weight training exercises while pregnant were found to be significantly less likely to experience musculoskeletal pain, incontinence and diastasis recti.

So technically speaking, that does mean those super slow hip raises into mid-air whilst lying flat on your back and squeezing everything together down there is worth the five minutes of risking awkward mid-thrust eye contact in the gym. Or, that having to ditch the weights during pregnancy is a myth much of the time. In fact, there’s probably more good than harm in continuing your adjusted weight training days for as long as you listen to your body’s ability and your midwife.

READ: Running after birth: 'It's me, my music and the road'