Running Again: Returning After Birth

It is always hard to know what checks are needed and how safe it is to return to running.

A very common question asked in our clinic is “When can I return to running after birth?”

As practitioners we want you to return to what you love doing as soon as possible. However, running can place significant strain on the body of an already exhausted mother trying to heal from birth (whether that’s a c-section or vaginal delivery).


Those involved in high impact exercises such as running were found to have a 4.5-fold increased risk of pelvic floor dysfunction compared to low impact exercise ?

While pelvic floor function is one of the many checks we complete before we give you the ok to gradually return to impact – we consider all body systems to ensure a safe return to running

So, what are the checks?

Time since birth

  • 3 months postpartum is the base line to ensure adequate healing of the body.


 Pelvic floor screening (including internal examination)

  • To identify and treat pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms
  • Score at least “moderate strength” of your pelvic floor contraction to ensure adequate support for your pelvic organs when under impact
  • Measurement of genital hiatus and perineal body length.This information tells us how much support or how much movement of structures has occurred.
  • Perform load/impact assessments (such as hopping) without pain, leaking, heaviness or dragging.


Lumbopelvic stability check:

  • Abdominal separation screening
  • Lower limb strength endurance testing. The muscles being tested are vital for running performance and also ensures you are not at risk of injuring an ankle, calf or knee.
  1. Other considerations: Breastfeeding status, dietary intake vs energy expenditure, cycle status, amount of sleep deviation, current BMI, and healing status of scar tissue.

So you have been cleared to return to impact (YAY!), but how do you do it safely?


Progress back to impact slowly

  • That may mean jogging 30 secs x 3 repetitions during your morning walk or just run up-hills only (great for your glutes and regaining fitness).
  • Once that is feeling comfortable with no symptoms you might want to try the couch to 5k app, a specific program from an exercise physiologist or a structure program.
  • Try an All Women’s Health Cardio class


Get an allied health professional on your team

  • There are many things to navigate during this stage of rehabilitation and you may need to troubleshoot along the way with a health professional. We recommend a pelvic health Physiotherapist, Myotherapist, and Exercise Physiologist.


We need to throughout the concept that our bodies “bounce back” and begin to frame this idea as “creating our new bodies”

The postnatal period is really a 12-month rehabilitation period, as many structures and systems need to be restored following birth. Remember to be kind to yourself, enjoy the journey.