Returning to Running After Pregnancy
Congratulations on becoming a mother!
If you’re eager to get back into running after having a baby, it’s essential to prioritize your pelvic health and recovery regardless of how your baby was delivered. Running can be an excellent way to regain fitness and find some “you” time, but it’s crucial to ensure you’re ready for it. This leaflet provides valuable information to help you return to running safely.
Understanding Pelvic Health
Pelvic health involves the well-being of muscles, organs, nerves, and connective tissue in your pelvic region. It’s more than just pelvic floor exercises; it’s about ensuring your body’s health after childbirth.
Pelvic Changes During Pregnancy and Birth
Pregnancy and childbirth bring significant changes to your pelvic region. Recovery takes longer than the typical six-week postnatal checkup suggests. Even after a caesarean section, your body needs more time to heal than you might expect. It is important to remember that pregnancy, childbirth, feeding and parenting will be individual experiences for everyone so focus on what is right for you and your baby.
The Risk of RED-S
New mothers can be at risk of developing Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Factors like sleep deprivation, changes in nutrition, and the desire to regain your pre-pregnancy shape can contribute to RED-S. This condition can affect various aspects of your health.
Key Guideline for Returning to Running
Here’s the essential message from the new guideline: Before you return to high-impact sports like running, it’s crucial to consult with a pelvic health physiotherapist. This professional will assess your readiness and check for any signs or symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. The guideline outlines tests to monitor your musculoskeletal and pelvic floor health. Common signs to watch for include leaking urine or faeces, pelvic heaviness, pain during intercourse, obstructive defecation, abdominal separation affecting function, or lumbopelvic pain during or after running. Even if you don’t have any pelvic floor issues you need to ensure that your body is ready to run otherwise you may be at risk of other injuries.
Recommended Waiting Period
While the guideline suggests waiting at least 12 weeks before planning a return to running, please note that this is a guideline, not a strict rule. Your individual recovery may differ. Consult with healthcare professionals to ensure a safe and healthy return to running.
Holistic Approach to Recovery
Health and fitness professionals are encouraged to work together to provide a holistic approach to your postnatal recovery. This collaboration includes sports medicine physicians, musculoskeletal physiotherapists, coaches, trainers, and pelvic health physiotherapists working together to evaluate your overall readiness for running.
Your pelvic health is vital for your overall well-being. Take your time to heal, and don’t rush back into running. Prioritize your health, consult with professionals, and ensure you’re run-ready when you decide to lace up those running shoes again.
For more detailed information, you can refer to the full guideline “Returning to running postnatal – guidelines for medical, health, and fitness professionals managing this population.”