Postnatal Running

Originally Published May 3, 2021

Life with a newborn can be an overwhelming and exhausting time, and returning to exercise is individual for each new mum. But a common question we hear at Physio Inq Sutherland from Mums is when can I run again safely?

Sutherland Physio Postnatal running

Life with a newborn can be an overwhelming and exhausting time, and returning to exercise is individual for each new mum. But a common question we hear at Physio Inq Sutherland from Mums is when can I run again safely?

Some of the benefits of returning to exercise after pregnancy include: 

  • More energy
  • Improved mood
  • Better recovery from birth
  • Strengthen pelvic floor
  • Weight loss
  • Increased fitness

As pregnancy places high demands on the body, and it’s important to respect the changes your body has been through. Here, we’re exploring why pelvic floor exercises are important, how to safely return to exercise after birth, and guidelines for returning to running post-pregnancy.

What Happens to Your Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy and Birth?

Your pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the pelvic organs and creates a seal for the urethra and rectum to prevent incontinence. So, what happens to your pelvic floor during pregnancy and birth?

For starters, your pelvic floor will stretch up to three times its normal size during vaginal birth. Having a baby is, by far, the biggest load your pelvic floor has ever experienced so it makes sense that you’ll likely see a 25-35% decrease in its strength afterwards.

For these reasons, it makes sense that working your pelvic floor after childbirth proves to be an important part of the recovery process. Strengthening your pelvic floor puts you at a lower risk for developing tension in the ligaments that support your pelvic organs. It also helps prevent prolapse, which is when your pelvic organs actually drop, putting more added strain on your already weak pelvic floor.

The good news is, there are exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor. And doing so is a requirement of returning to exercise after your pregnancy.

Guidelines For Running After Childbirth

Every woman’s body is different and the amount of time you’ll need after giving birth before returning to running will vary. However, it might be a quicker turnaround than you’d expect.

A good rule of thumb before you begin any high-intensity exercises such as running is to either cough or jump with a full bladder. If there is any urine leakage, you’re not ready to do any intense exercising as your pelvic floor isn’t quite strong enough yet.

If it’s been three months since having your baby and you’re still having issues with the strength of your pelvic floor, call your GP or make an appointment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

To give you a starting point on your postnatal exercise journey, here are some general guidelines from Sports Medicine NI. Again, be sure to consult your doctor or Women’s Health Physiotherapist before returning to exercise or sport after giving birth. You might decide that postnatal group consultations would help your exercise and recovery plans.

Sutherland Physio Postnatal running

While exercising is certainly safe in most cases for new mums, it’s important to work with a physiotherapist who can give you peace of mind about how and when to start exercising after giving birth.

Strengthening your pelvic floor and reintroducing your body to an exercise routine will take time and working with a physio can help you stay motivated and healthy.

Immediately after Birth 

The safest, most low-risk exercises you can do after having your baby (even in the first few days after birth) are pelvic floor muscle exercises such as kegel exercises and pelvic tilts as well as abdominal bracing, which is deep breathing while tightening your abdominal wall on the exhale.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen the lowest part of your pelvic floor and vagina by activating the muscles you use to hold a wee. Hold for a count of 8 and relax for a count of 8, repeating 10 to 12 times.

To do a pelvic tilt exercise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees facing the ceiling. Flatten your lower back against the floor as you tilt your tailbone toward your feet. You’ll feel your pelvis start to rotate as you tighten your abdominals. Release the position as you allow your back to arch and your pelvis returns to its neutral position. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times.

Sutherland Physio Kegel pelvic tilt

Progression to Exercise

Prior to return to running, there are other ways to gradually start incorporating exercise into your life after having a baby. Some low-risk postnatal exercises include:

Please note that exercises such as sit-ups, curl-ups, planks, hovers, and mountain climbers are not recommended for postnatal mums. A full pelvic floor physiotherapy check should be completed before returning to these types of exercises.

At Physio Inq Sutherland, we are ready to provide you with the checks, advice, training, and programs to get you back into running postnatal! Contact us today for a Women’s Health Physio appointment in our private room.



The information provided on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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