You just had your 6 week postpartum check up and were cleared by your provider to resume exercise. You have been waiting patiently to lace up your running shoes and get back on the trails. You start out on a light jog, but quickly notice you don’t feel as strong or supported as you did pre-pregnancy. What do you do now?
Goom, Donnelly and Brockwell (2019) put together some excellent guidelines for returning to running postpartum that are nicely summarized by Expecting and Empowered, which can be found here.
Research has shown that waiting 12 weeks after baby may be a safer time to ease yourself back into running. Running is a high impact activity that requires appropriate coordination of your core and pelvic floor which are both affected throughout pregnancy. It is important to return to high impact activities without leaking urine, feelings of heaviness in the pelvic floor, gapping of your ab muscles, bleeding, or pelvic/low back pain. The guidelines recommend checking your ability to manage impact by:
⦁ 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
⦁ Single leg hop in place – 10 repetitions each leg
⦁ Single leg ‘running man’ – raise opposite arm and hip, jump and switch 10 reps each side
If you can make it through these tests without the previously mentioned symptoms, you can feel more confident returning to running! If you are experiencing any symptoms, it’s important that you are evaluated by a pelvic floor physical therapist. At Renew Physical Therapy, we are equipped to guide you through your postpartum exercise journey. We will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan based on a detailed assessment of your strength to help you get to where you want to be.