At the 6 week postpartum check up, most moms get the green light to start working out and running, but this 6 week postpartum check up is outdated and in some cases dangerous. It’s actually recommended that you wait until 3 months postpartum to consider running AND it’s advised that you pass several “return to running tests” postpartum. Running earlier than 3 months and without the proper core and whole body strengthening can put you at risk for prolapse, incontinence, and back pain. If you’ve already started running postpartum and are reading this, panicking, take a deep breath. If you’ve been listening to your body, you’ve most likely not harmed yourself. And if you have, healing is possible.
Just because you can’t run until 3 months postpartum, doesn’t mean you can’t be working out. Focused strength training before that point can help your return to running smoother and make you less likely to get running injuries like plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, and back pain. It can also help with overcoming Diastasis Recti, incontinence, prolapse, and make healing from a c-section easier.
There are many 10+ tests that need to be completed and passed prior to running, but here are 3 of them:
- Single leg squat - before returning to running, you should be able to do 10 repetitions without pain, heaviness/dragging in your vagina (a sign of prolapse), or incontinence. This test is a great window into the strength of your gluts, lower body and ankles, and how well your pelvic floor coordinates with those muscles. Once we see what compensations you have, we can focus strengthening and coordination on those areas to prevent injury and resolve.
- Hop in place on one leg - 10 repetitions without pain, heaviness/dragging in your vagina (a sign of prolapse), or incontinence. Again, compensations will help us determine where to focus our efforts on strengthening
- Single leg balance - 10 seconds without pain, heaviness/dragging in your vagina (a sign of prolapse), or incontinence
If you have Diastasis Recti, we also will want to add in focused exercises for your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor based off your assessment. Most moms with Diastasis Recti have tight, weak, and uncoordinated pelvic floors. We often see that moms Diastasis Recti overuse their abdominals, and if they’ve had a c-section, we have to work on scar tissue too.
If you are a mom and are a runner or want to get into running after you’ve had babies (at anytime!) book a free consult with us virtually, in Wewford, PA, or Greensburg, PA to work with our pelvic floor Physical Therapists who specialize in running.