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How To: Return to Running (Post Baby)

OK, so we may not be able to help you find a babysitter, but we CAN help you get outside and get moving in your new (and ever-changing) body by starting you on a postnatally-safe running program to help you feel safe and confident in your new routine!

As pelvic health physiotherapists, one of the most common questions from new moms is when is it safe to start exercising and how do you safely enter back into a routine with a newly-weakened pelvic floor. Although there isn’t a single program that is perfect for everyone, there are some guidelines that can help you get back to running in a way that’s good for you and your body.

It is important to note that running itself results in anywhere from 1.6 to 2.5 times your body weight bearing down on your lower body and pelvic floor with each heel strike. The evidence supporting individualized pelvic floor rehabilitation for the management of urinary incontinence, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, sexual dysfunction and the prevention of POP is well established. Your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can help you to understand if your pelvic floor is weak (and requires strengthening) or if it’s overactive (and requires lengthening) before you go out for your first run.

As a new mom, there are many other things to consider before returning to a new running routine:

- Are you still healing from a C-section or perineal tears?

- Are you breastfeeding, which may result in larger breasts and, therefore, a more supportive and bigger sports bra?

- Are you getting the sleep you need to have the energy to go for a run?

These, and many other factors, need to be part of the decision making process when deciding on a new program.

The newest guidelines and recommendations suggest waiting 3-6 months post baby before you start to run. This isn’t necessarily a strict guideline, as it’s dependent on your pregnancy, labour and delivery, however, generally speaking, women typically start to notice tissue healing and better core engagement around the 3 month mark. The guidelines also recommend women see a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist to examine the strength of their pelvic floor before they begin running.

If you’re considering starting a new running program, keep in mind that common symptoms of a compromised pelvic floor may include:

- urinary incontinence

- a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic area

- pain with intercourse

Running can be a fun and inexpensive way to stay healthy and gain confidence in your postnatal body, but starting a program in a way that’s healthy and safe for your your body is top priority for your long term health.

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