This is a common question that comes up in the postnatal period. Running is an
excellent form of aerobic exercise, and should generally be encouraged in someone
who is interested. It is important, however, to take some time to rest and recover
first. Pregnancy, labour, and delivery can be very taxing on our pelvic floor. Your OB
or family physician may have given you permission to exercise at your 6 week
follow-up appointment, however that doesn’t mean your body is necessarily ready
for high-impact exercise, such as running. Every woman is unique and has individual
needs, so there is no magic rule as to when you may begin running in the post-
A pelvic floor physiotherapist will consider many factors when recommending
whether it is an appropriate time to begin running:
- How the core and pelvic floor are healing (Diastasis recti, prolapse, incontinence,
pelvic pain/low back pain)
- Are you breastfeeding?
- Baseline strength
- Previous exercise history
- Hours of quality sleep for physical recovery
When you do get the clear to begin running again, start gradually and ease into it. In
general, test out walking up an incline first. This forces you to stack your ribcage
over your pelvis (less taxing on the pelvic floor) and to use your glutes! If all goes
well, a great starting point with running is to try on a hill in short intervals, in which
your rest time exceeds your work time.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you achieve your athletic goals. Be patient,
and ensure that your body is strong enough to do what you’re asking of it.