Return to Running Following Pregnancy
Spoiler Alert: it's recommend that new moms wait at least 3 months before resuming a gradual return to run program.
In March 2019, Tom Goom, Grainne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell released "Returning to Running Postnatal - guidelines for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population". Previous to this, running guidelines lacked focus, clarity and consistency which might be why you are seeing mixed messages when asking Dr. Google.
Running is a high impact sport placing a lot of demand on the body. To be run ready, your body needs time to heal and regain its strength after having a baby.
We wanted to summarize the documents recommendations for you:
1. Returning to running is not advisable prior to 3 months postnatal or beyond this if any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are identified prior to, or after attempting, return to running.
- what are the key signs/symptoms of pelvic floor and/or abdominal wall dysfunction? Read my other blog here!
2. The assessment of pelvic health, the ability for the body to manage load impact and its current strength level can be important to know a new mothers readiness to run.
- this assessment includes pelvic floor endurance testing, a movement assessment including single leg balance, single leg squat, jogging on the spot, forward bounds and a strength assessment including calf raises, single leg bridge and various other glute/pelvic exercises.
3. Prior experience to running needs to be assessed to build the best return-to-run or learn-to-run program.
- a new runner needs to be managed differently and progressed slower than an experienced runner
4. Sleep is key for recovery from both physical and psychological stress and should be assessed to determine the level of exercise that is appropriate.
- a sleep deprived mother is at increased risk of injury
5. When returning to running, start small with 1 to 2 minutes of running at an easy pace. Set short term goals with small rewards along the way!
6. When progressing running, build the training volume (minutes/distance ) before increasing the intensity (speed or pace).
7. During running, heaviness, dragging, incontinence or moderate to severe pain may suggest excessive training distance or intensity
- mild musculoskeletal pain (0-3/10 on a pain scale) which settles quickly after a run with no pain into the next day is acceptable.
Melina Mirzaei, Registered Physiotherapist
Melina Mirzaei is a Pelvic Health telephysiotherapist with extensive post-graduate training. She understands the difficulty of communicating about this sensitive topic and finds online physio from the comfort of your home a great solution.
If you have questions about the topic of Pelvic Health and telephysio (telerehab, online physio, virtual physio), feel free to contact us. Or, book an Pelvic Health telerehab assessment today to learn more.