Every woman who has been keeping an active lifestyle prior to and during pregnancy knows how difficult and frustrating it is to get back to their pre-pregnancy fitness level and exercise regime. There are often a number of limiting factors such as post partum pelvic pain, scarring from perineal tears or c-section, lack of sleep and psychological readiness.
Postnatal women need adequate time to heal and regain strength, particularly in the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy and delivery.
Physiotherapists are well placed to evaluate fitness levels and abilities to support a return to exercise for such women and it is recommended that a thorough medical evaluation is made before you hit the pavement running!
A gradual increase in intensity and exercise regime is advised which helps to reduce the risk of further injury to your body.
There have been some excellent guidelines that have been created by the dedicated work of Tom Goom, Gráinne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell https://www.running-physio.com/postnatal-guide/ who have a passion for increasing awareness about the importance of a safe and timely return to running postnatal. They recommend that a low impact exercise timeline is followed within the first 3 months of the postnatal period, followed by a return to running between 3-6 months postnatal, at the earliest. In addition to this, every postnatal mother regardless of delivery mode, should take the opportunity to receive a pelvic health assessment (from 6-weeks postnatal) with a specialist physiotherapist to comprehensively assess the abdominal wall and pelvic floor.
Running is a high impact sport placing a lot of demand on the body. To be run ready, your body needs time to heal and regain its strength after having your baby.
As a guideline, the postnatal mother needs to be able to achieve some activities without pain, heaviness, dragging or incontinence. Some of these activities may include 30 minutes walking, single leg balances, and single leg squats.
It is sensible to start small, often with around 1 to 2 minutes of running at an easy pace. Setting short-term goals, such as reaching a target distance, can be helpful alongside long term goals such as competing in a race.
There are some things to consider before you return to your running regime such as your current level of fitness, how much sleep you are getting - sleep is considered the key for recovery from both physical and psychological stress and is frequently restricted in the post-partum period and beyond. Sleep deprivation in athletes is associated with increased injury risk. Your psychological status and any medical conditions such as Diastasis Rectus Abdominis Muscle (DRAM)- the separation of the outer most abdominal muscle, and perineal tears or scars.
The expert consensus from specialist pelvic health physiotherapists is that running prior to regaining functional control of the abdominal wall may be counter-productive and result in overloading the pelvis and further damaging the pelvic floor. Both c-section and perineal scars can result in pain and restriction and a healing wound may result in the other muscles compensating and causing further damage.
Supportive clothing/ Sportswear and clothing aimed at supporting the pelvic floor and lumbopelvic area may offer additional support. It has been demonstrated that wearing supportive underwear was almost as effective as pelvic floor muscle training in reducing stress urinary incontinence in women at the end of a 6-week trial period. The outcome of this trial suggests that supportive underwear/sportswear may have a role alongside pelvic floor rehabilitation in the management of pelvic floor dysfunction and postnatal return to exercise.
This is where Supacore Coretech compression may help. Supacore’s patented waistband technology and Medical grade compression is recommended by physiotherapists and endorsed by the Chiropractors Association. The Coretech shorts can be worn post natal and may assist with your recovery from C Section or if you have post abdominal separation. Wear the Coretech shorts over and around the waist, firm around the hips and lower back and wear them when you are ready to get back to running, training or during your post natal workout sessions.
To read the full article please head to https://www.running-physio.com/postnatal-guide/
"I’ve been wearing the Supacore shorts during and after runs and I really like them. I had a cesarean three months ago and I’ve been really careful when running, and the Supacore shorts provide additional compression and support to my lower abdomen, hips, and pelvis. I don’t pull up sore afterward. My husband is a physiotherapist and has already started recommending them to clients, especially women runners with some pelvic instability. Thanks so much for bringing the Supacore to my life."
- Laura Hill, New mum / Long Distance Runner -