To run or not to run?

By February 9, 2019 The Body Space

This is probably my most frequently asked questions when I see my post natal mums. When can I
start running? It is such a hard question to answer because there are no official guidelines, well not
yet anyway and every pregnancy, delivery, body, tissue structure and post natal experience is

Up until this weekend I always tended to advise my patients that providing there were no
continence issues or any pelvic organ prolapses and they had gradually built up their endurance and
strength training then at 6 months post natally that would be a good time to start. But then I went
on a course this weekend for the post natal athlete patient where the presenter, a well know, well
respected physiotherapist questioned this and asked if perhaps as women’s health physiotherapists
we were holding our post natal mums back from the higher impact training that some are really
keen to get back to.

I totally understand why so many of my post natal mums love to run, it is easy, it is quick and it gets
you out of the house and if you are lucky out of the bath time routine! So I have had my eyes
opened and it has got me asking so many questions and looking at my post natal rehab programmes
for my mums. Maybe it is ok for some of our post natal mums to return to higher impact exercise
earlier than 6 months?

However, one over riding theme came out of the weekend of training is that it is so important to
know what your pelvic floor is doing before you start any high level exercise and then just as
important to get it re assessed after a few weeks of doing the exercise or if you start feeling any
symptoms. Those symptoms may include; symptoms from a prolapse which can include a heavy,
dragging sensation, urinary incontinence, any amount is not normal and if you do get any urinary
incontinence then it may be a sign that your pelvic floor muscle is either not working as it should do
or it is weak with a poor endurance and like every muscle in our body we need to work at these
things. It is not always necessary to stop running whilst you strengthen but you may need to
decrease your running distance or speed.

So what were my take-home messages following this course, seeing a women’s health
physiotherapist is so important before you start any running, they will be able to advise you about
your pelvic floor muscle and any strengthening and endurance work that you may need to do before
you start running. You may need to start with things like jumping, star jumping skipping before you
return to running and if you do need to reduce your running or higher impact exercises it is not

Lisa x


Author Sarah

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