One commonly asked question by patients who have just delivered a baby is “When can I get back to running?
A good guideline is to perform low impact exercises for the first 3 months postpartum. Then, in the 3-6 month timeframe, a return to run program may begin. One important factor in return to run assessment is pelvic floor stability. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissue in the lower part of the pelvis. Its function is to support the pelvic organs.
After delivery, the pelvic floor is likely weak and injured, and the patient may need instruction on how to perform a proper pelvic floor contraction. It is important to properly facilitate the pelvic floor during running, as it is responsible for cushioning impact.
Thus, return to run in the postnatal period will be determined on an individual basis depending on muscle strength and control. At Excellcare Physical Therapy, we look at several things to support our return to run recommendation. Some examples are:
- Can you walk without any symptoms produced for 30 minutes?
- Can you perform 10 single leg squats with good leg position?
- Can you hop in place 10 times with good leg position?
Another important factor is if there is a separation of the rectus abdominis, which can cause stability problems. Once the separation is rehabbed and functionally stable, the patient can safely return to running.
One thing to be aware of is that running with a stroller leads to changes in trunk, pelvis, and hip movements, and can be considered 6-9 months postpartum. A strengthening program for the hips is advised for moms who would like to take baby on their runs with them.
Returning to run in the postpartum period should be carefully assessed. The take home is that the mom should be screened to ensure that the pelvic floor will adequately support the demands of running.
For more information, contact Excellcare PT!