With a growing body of evidence supporting physical activity during pregnancy, returning to physical activity postpartum will vary for each individual depending on the birth and post-birth symptoms.
Research supports continuing the physical activity performed pre-pregnancy can be maintained during pregnancy as long as there are no contraindicators. Outside of pregnancy, forces exerted in running can place anywhere between 5-12x your weight through the lower body joints depending on speed and form. During pregnancy and as it progresses, weight increases and centre of gravity shifts forward changing load and impacting balance, coordination and proprioception. With changed body shape and weight, comes changes in hormones to support the growth and development of a growing fetus/baby but also increase joint laxity and this preparation for labour and delivery.
These pregnancy changes flow into the ‘4th trimester’ which will also significantly play role in how effectively and efficiently Mum can return to running. Appreciating how a muscle shortens and lengthens usually changes in the 2nd trimester, and the hormone relaxin increases joint instability are focus points when assess and build a return to running program.
Other considerations to assessing and developing a return to running program include:
- Delivery mode
- 6 week medical review
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
Once these factors have been assessed, a return to running graded program can be developed based on the individual’s training background. Return to running timeframes can vary and has similar progression and regression stages based on presence of symptoms.
Presented by Noella Green, BSpExSci & GradDipClinExPhys, ESSAM, AES, AEP