Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Finding Fitness After Baby

Returning to form.

Q: I am a 26-year-old female about to give brth to my first child. Before I became pregnant, I was fairly active in running, swimming, and cycling.

Throughout my pregnancy I've tried to stay somewhat active. Midway through, my running changed to walking, but I'm still swimming and doing some weight training.

How soon after giving birth can I resume my running? I've been told that jumping back in too quickly can result in permanent hip damage due to the elasticity of ligaments from labor. I want to be careful, but I'm ready to get back in shape.

Oxford, MS

A: As you have empirically discovered, pregnancy has a major impact on a woman's body. During pregnancy, estrogens and a substance called relaxin are released, which have the effect of relaxing ligaments, softening cartilage, and widening the pelvic joints due to an increase in synovial fluid, the "oil" that lubricates the joint.

This relaxation and softening of the joints makes giving birth easier, but combined with a conglomeration of other physiological effects, it can predispose a woman to injury if a prudent and well-advised exercise program is not strictly adhered to both during and after pregnancy. Any pregnant woman should consult with her physician regarding her exercise program.

The body slowly returns to normal during the approximate six-week-long postpartum period. However, light exercise may be resumed as soon as 24 hours after a normal birth with some bent-knee sit-ups to begin restoration of abdominal muscle tone.

Swimming and stationary bicycling are ideal postpartum exercises because they are non-weight-bearing aerobic exercises that can restore your cardiovascular conditioning without stressing the joints. However, read this article - Post Partum Prescription - before jumping in the pool or riding a bike, especially if you have had an episiotomy.

What kind of activities should be avoided?

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

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