Postnatal Running

Being told that it’s ok to run at 6 weeks postnatal (it most certainly is not)

The amount and quality of advice available to new mothers is, well, to be kind, let’s just say it’s patchy. Particularly when it comes to returning to exercise after having a baby.

No wonder it can be such a daunting experience. It’s difficult to know how much exercise to start with, what type of exercise you should do and how intense it should feel. Or who to ask about it. It’s often hard to fit in adequate exercise sessions around childcare and work pressures, and if you’ve had a difficult delivery there is often a fear of returning to more intense exercise, such as weights or running.

So here are some clinically acknowledged and definitive do’s and don’ts about returning to exercise after pregnancy.

It is essential that you gradually introduce load and resistance after pregnancy and make sure you listen to your body. Dynamic Reformer Pilates classes are a great way of introducing pelvic strengthening under supervision, particularly if you are aiming to return to running or enjoy high intensity exercise. Completing an 8-12 week course in Pilates ensures you gradually strengthen the pelvic muscles in preparation for absorbing more strenuous load when running or jumping.

You should not return to running or plyometric exercise for a minimum of 12 weeks after giving birth as the vaginal tissue and uterine ligaments have not fully recovered. Running prior to 12 weeks postnatal increases your risk of prolapse and injury.

We strongly advise seeing a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist to ensure your pelvic floor and pelvic muscles are strong enough to tolerate running. Your pelvic floor will have weakened during pregnancy and may be damaged during vaginal delivery. You need adequate pelvic floor strength to support your pelvis and internal organs when running, so your pelvic floor physiotherapist will check your strength, endurance and control.

If you are experiencing any specific issues with your pelvic floor (for example, any urinary or faecal incontinence when you cough, sneeze, laugh or lift your baby, or if you have noticed that you’re going to the toilet more frequently) it suggests there is an issue with pelvic floor function. Pelvic floor and continence issues are common after childbirth (1 in 3 women will experience incontinence and 75% of those women will continue to experience symptoms more than a year postnatal).

The earlier these problems are identified and treated, the better the long-term outcome. Just because something is common, doesn’t make it normal. And you don’t have to put up with the symptoms.

To speak to one of our specialist post natal Physiotherapists, please complete the following enquiry form and we’ll contact you to arrange a convenient time.

Self-paid post natal consultations can also be booked online.

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