Running & Pregnancy

Running & Pregnancy

 

Running is a little bit of a debated topic in pregnancy. We want to encourage women to be active and continue doing the things they were doing prior to becoming pregnant, but then why do so many health professionals believe women should stop running the minute they find out they’re pregnant?

We have research to show that engaging in running is not harmful for the baby, nor is it harmful for the mother during pregnancy. Of course, like any activity, if you are experiencing pain, discomfort or in this case – pelvic floor symptoms such as leaking, bleeding, bulging or pain, then stopping the activity until you see a health professional experienced in the area is important.

There are situations in which we advise against prenatal running – previous severe injury to pelvic floor, high-risk pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, placenta previa and a few other that will be made clear to women at the time of diagnosis. In these scenarios, it is the then the role of the women’s health physio to find alternative methods of exercise for the expecting mother.

If you’re an established runner, with weekly running volumes over 20-50km per week, then typically this means running is not an overly taxying activity - and one that your body is very accustomed to. Working with a women’s health physio and running coach to make modifications to your running during your pregnancy to ensure your heart rate & core temp don’t increase too much and that you are being monitored for any unexpected changes.

This goes both ways too! If you have never run before, starting a new goal of running 10km during your pregnancy is probably not the best time to do so. I definitely encourage running goals, but I probably would not be advocating for you to do so during your prenatal journey.

Most women will find there is a point where they just don’t feel comfortable anymore and make the choice completely on their own to stop running. Again, this is where women’s health physios come in to support this transition and find other avenues to keep you fit and strong.

 

Then, we have the postnatal running journey…

 

Running after the birth of your baby will look completely different to every new mother. There are very good guidelines created to help the ‘general population’ return to running, and a timeline that is suitable ‘for most’.

However, everyone may not be the ‘general population’ or ‘most’ people.

Some may have run up to 35 weeks, some may have never run, some may develop injuries postnatal, and some may just not want to know anything about running with a new bub!

Establishing a good relationship with a women’s health physio to help provide you with realistic expectations for your individual situation and a specifically tailored plan to help give you confidence and guidance in your journey. Considering things such as tissue healing times, pelvic floor & abdominal muscle rehab strengthening, emotional and physical fatigue, sleep loss, breastfeeding and breast size changes, pram running or just being a new mum will be crucial when developing a return to running (or any high-intensity exercise).

I have developed a Return to Running Postnatal Plan and this includes the information about why we ask most women to wait until 12 weeks, what we as women’s health physios look for during assessments, things that you can do in the mean time as well as an 8 week running plan with over 20 different running sessions. This can be found in my Library 😊

 

But the best place to start is to just reach out and ask for help! No matter where in your pre or postnatal journey you are at, women’s health physios are here!

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