UPMC physiotherapist: Back to running after childbirth | Life

Your body changes dramatically during pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor can stretch, injure itself, or weaken. Ligaments are loose and have less ability to protect the joints. You may be carrying extra weight. For a cesarean section, the abdominal wall can be stretched, separated, or amputated.

Running is a high impact sport that places a heavy burden on the body. Muscles must recover to properly support the hips, pelvis, and pelvic internal organs. Restoration of muscles, connective tissue, and nerves usually takes 4-6 months, and there are many factors to consider, including the effects on the body of vaginal birth and cesarean section.

For example, 6 weeks after a cesarean section, the abdominal wall has recovered only 50%, 75 to 90% of its initial strength in 6 to 7 months.

Return to an incremental plan, less impactful

Always consult your doctor or health care provider before doing any exercise or activity after childbirth. Under their guidance, a less influential exercise program is the key to becoming more active after birth.

It is essential to heal and restore muscles and ligaments within the first 3 months. In the first month of life, work on strengthening the pelvic floor, core core exercises, and walking. In the second month, you can do some core exercises, including squats, lunges, and bridges, and introduce exercise bikes and other low-impact cross-workouts. In the third month, switch to brisk walking, cycling, and swimming (if the bleeding stops). Be sure to wear a supportive bra and appropriate shoes.

After 12 weeks, if you are meeting your goals, making progress, and being cleared by your provider, you can divide the period of intense exertion with a break from walking and start running for a few minutes at a time at an easy pace. I go. Slowly increase your running time and gradually reduce your walking breaks. Work to increase the time to 30 minutes before working to increase speed.

How to determine if you’re ready to run again

Can you do the following without pain, weight, drag, or incontinence?

  • Walk for 30 minutes

  • One leg balanced for 10 seconds

  • One-leg squat Repeat 10 times on one side

  • Jog for 1 minute

  • Go ahead 10 times repeat

  • Repeat each leg 10 times to jump in place

  • Repeat a calf leg 20 times

  • Single leg bridge for 20 iterations

  • Sit on one leg and repeat 20 times

  • Extended leg repeated 20 times

Signs that you may not be ready to resume running

Watch carefully for the following signs of overtraining and adjust your intensity accordingly.

  • Pelvic area weight or drag

  • Urine is leaking or defecation cannot be controlled

  • Abdominal bulge or large gap in the midline of the abdominal wall

  • Pelvic or lumbar pain

  • Continuous bleeding more than 8 weeks after birth, it has nothing to do with your menstrual cycle

If you’re having trouble making progress, experiencing symptoms, or just wanting to optimize your recovery to avoid injury, a physiotherapist specially trained in pelvic health can help. Discuss with your provider if you can resume running by working with your physiotherapist.



Shari Berthold, DPT is a physiotherapist. Pain management and rehabilitation services At UPMC Williamsport.



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