Part 3: Returning to Running After Having a Baby

Bobo Li

By Bobo Li

Registered Physiotherapist (APA Member)

Posted on: 07/10/2019

jogbuggyWelcome to the last of our three part series blog on Returning to Running After Having a Baby. Current guidelines have recently been released that have been written by expert physiotherapists in the field. Part 1 and 2 in our series have discussed some of the issues that need considering before running such as the pelvic floor and what you need to know about Running with a Buggy.

There are functional tests that the physiotherapist can conduct to ensure that your body has the amount of strength and stability to cope with the demands of running. Specific levels of pelvic floor strength and pelvic floor anatomy need to be achieved before running commences. Looking at how you breathe is also a factor on how much pressure is placed in your abdomen that can also be transferred down to your pelvic floor. How you breathe during pregnancy can significantly change to how you breathe without a baby. Sometimes the transition back is not automatic and needs training.

Looking at how you run can also minimise the forces going onto your pelvic floor and pelvis. This can be done by analysing your form when running on a treadmill. If any of the tests are showing some sort of deficit, specific exercises can be prescribed to address these issues quickly to get you back into running sooner.

Some other tests that you can do before running are:

  • Walking 30 minutes

  • Single leg balance 10 seconds

  • Single leg squat 10 repetitions each side

  • Jog on the spot 1 minute

  • Forward bounds 10 repetitions

  • Hop in place 10 repetitions each leg

  • Single leg ‘running man’: opposite arm and hip flexion/extension (bent knee) 10 repetitions each side

You need to be able to do these things without leakage, heaviness or dragging sensation or pain.

So, if you are wanting to run after a baby, the main points are :

  • that it is best to wait three months

  • get a pelvic floor assessment from your women’s health physiotherapist

  • get a physiotherapist assessment of whether you have the strength and function to be able to run

  • use the right buggy

  • start with small runs and gradually increase the time, distance, and intensity

  • Work with your body, not against it. Listen to what your body is telling you.

 

If you are experiencing any leakage, urgency, heaviness or dragging sensation in the genitals, bleeding outside of your normal menstrual cycle or pain stop running and make an appointment with your women’s health physiotherapist. You may also need to see a GP or even your gynaecologist for further care.

 

Reference:

Returning to running postnatal- guideline for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population. Authors: Tom Goom, Grainne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell. March 2019.

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