Return to Running
So you've had a baby.
Maybe it was six weeks ago, six months ago, or perhaps it was even six years ago, and now you want to know if it's okay to start running. Maybe you've already tried to run and felt great, or perhaps it didn't feel the same as before.
Before March 2019 there were no checklists, there were no guidelines or established consensus around when or if a postpartum person should return to running. We did our own “research” and found anecdotal evidence from forums and social media. In best-case scenarios, they sought out the help of a pelvic health physical therapist for individualized care.
So what changed?
Three physical therapists compiled published research, clinical experience, and then asked for feedback from professionals in related fields. They explain the purpose and limitations of the document:
- Musculoskeletal pain, urinary incontinence, abdominal separation, and pelvic organ prolapse are prevalent conditions amongst postnatal runners. Awareness and understanding of the importance of optimal postnatal recovery in the prevention and management of these "common but not normal" conditions are increasing.
- The evidence base for returning to running in the postnatal period, as well as returning to exercise in general, is limited. This document is based on the best available evidence alongside experienced clinical opinion. It is designed to assist clinical reasoning rather than replace it. It does not provide a prescriptive approach. Instead, the advice will need to be adapted to suit each individual’s needs.
- The scope of this guideline is to provide an overview of considerations for the postnatal woman returning to exercise. It is not within the scope of this document to discuss each consideration in detail.
Our number one recommendation is that every postpartum person works with a pelvic health physical therapist to discuss all considerations.
This flowchart is merely a starting point for a more in-depth conversation. Every person is unique in their pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. Use this resource as a starting point and then continue the discussion with a pelvic health physical therapist or urogynecologist and your Baby Boot Camp Run Coach or franchise owner.
What did we learn? If you are less than 12 weeks postpartum, wait to run. More than 12 weeks postpartum, hold off on running, and start a conversation with a qualified professional if you experience:
- Urinary or fecal incontinence of any type or amount;
- Sensations of heaviness, pressure, bulging or dragging in the pelvic floor;
- Lower back or pelvic pain;
- Any non-menstrual vaginal bleeding.
You have your whole life to run.
Take the time now to seek help and build a strong foundation for a lifetime of running and activity. If you have more questions, let us know! We will get you pointed in the right direction.