Take care of your pelvic floor muscles . Strengthening these muscles before returning to running can help prevent urinary incontinence and other pelvic health issues. Between 15-30% of first time mums will experience urinary incontinence, and 1 in 5 first time mums complain of faecal incontinence at 1 year postpartum. Between 3-6 months after birth up to over 50% of new mums have a grade 2 or more pelvic organ prolapse. Doing your pelvic floor rehabilitation is key before starting to push into running. A good physiotherapist can assess symptoms and help with exercises .
Start slowly. When you do start running again, don't go out and try to run your old mileage or speed. Start slowly and build up gradually. This will help minimize the risk of injury. Listen to your body. Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, so be sure to listen to what it is telling you. If something doesn't feel right, back off and rest until you feel better. Remember that your body has just gone through a lot of changes- both physically and hormonally. Give yourself time to adjust, and don't push yourself too hard.
Focus on good form. Make sure you are running with good form, especially if you are returning after a long break from running. This will help protect your joints and prevent injuries.
Think about nutrition. With the intense lifestyle change that a new mother faces (including sleep deprivation, lack of routine, the demands of breastfeeding and the often large change in eating habits), it is easy to see how energy deficiency can occur. When scaling up to more intense running a check in with a dietitian can be helpful to ensure that long term impacts such as RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) aren't experienced.
Get some guidance. If you're not sure how to get back into running after pregnancy, consider seeking out some guidance from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. They will be able to help you ease back into training safely and effectively.
If you're looking to return to running postpartum our Brisbane Southside physios would love to help! Give our Tarragindi clinic a call on 07 3706 3407 or email email@example.com for more info.