Postpartum Running Guidelines

“When is it safe to return to running after having my baby?” is one of the most frequent questions we hear from our postpartum patients. According to a recent guideline for postnatal return to running (Goom et al 2019), low impact exercise is recommended within the first 3 months postpartum with a gradual return to running between 3-6 months. However return to running post-injury or post-pregnancy is often less timeline related, but rather based on recovery and running preparedness. Regardless of how long it has been since your childbirth, where you are in the recovery process and your level of preparation for a return to running will determine your readiness.

Pregnancy often brings about changes in spine, pelvic and hip mobility due to the normal compensation that occurs with the growing baby. Once postpartum, these compensations are no longer necessary but often times linger. This may be one of the reasons you feel like running “does not feel the same'' or why you may be experiencing pain or urinary incontinence (involuntary leaking of urine). Muscular length changes and birth healing may also impact your readiness when returning to running. Whether you are 4 weeks, 4 months, or 4 years (or more!) postpartum, we will assess and address your individualized needs as there is no “one size fits all” approach.

When should you modify or postpone running?

  • When you cannot balance abdominal pressure and muscular force.

-->This can look like breath holding, straining, urinary or fecal incontinence, urinary urgency, bulging through an abdominal separation (Diatsasis Recti), perineal pressure from pelvic organ prolapse or pain especially in the pelvis, hips or low back.

  • When you are unable to maintain form within an activity.

-->Specific to running, difficulty with single leg standing, squatting and rotational activities will likely impact running form.

At Healthy Core, we will guide you to reconnect with your core, rebalance your system, and safely prepare your body to feel strong, confident and resilient during running. Our goal is to prepare your body for the impact of running which will ultimately improve your performance.

Goom, T, Donnelly G, Brockwell E (2019). Returning to running postnatal–guidelines for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population.

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