Improving Support for Postpartum Running
Rehab can optimize women’s return to sport.
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 ).