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Improving Support for Postpartum Running

Rehab can optimize women’s return to sport.

Group of women postpartum running

Women who continue running during pregnancy are more likely to return to running following pregnancy, according to the findings by a team of researchers and physical therapists who conducted a study on postpartum running among 881 women. Other study findings that are helpful for fit pros with pregnant clients include the following:

  • Study authors recommend that expectant mothers proactively do pelvic floor exercises and remain active as long as no contraindications exist.
  • After childbirth, progress activity slowly to build up tolerance to postpartum running.
  • Address any fear of movement, and recommend that clients see a physician about any pelvic floor dysfunction issues, feelings of heaviness or exercise-related pain.
  • Perineal tears are not a barrier to returning to high-impact exercise.

“In keeping with sports medicine rehabilitation, perinatal services need to be proactive rather than reactive,” wrote lead study author, Isabel S. Moore, PhD, lecturer at Cardiff School of Sport and Exercise Medicine in Wales. “Let’s stop assuming childbirth is a natural process only requiring natural recovery.” Study authors recommend that the principles of sports medicine be applied to help women to return to activity after pregnancy.

The research is reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2021; 55 [22]).

See also: The Fourth Trimester: Postpartum Exercise



Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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