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Return to Running after Birth

Written by Abby Scott - Womens Health Physiotherapist



Thinking of returning to impact exercise after having a baby?


The importance of rehabilitation prior to return to activity after pregnancy and childbirth is a topic that is underestimated and misunderstood in today’s health and fitness world. As Physiotherapists we would not consider returning a rugby player to the field after an ACL injury until they had made appropriate progression through rehabilitation, satisfied specific ‘return to play criteria’ and were assessed to be ‘match ready’. Why then, do we not consider the huge physical and mental implications that pregnancy and childbirth have on a woman prior to giving the thumbs up to exercise?



Running is a high impact sport placing a lot of demand on your body. To be run ready your body needs time to heal and regain its strength after having a baby (no matter what the mode of delivery - vaginal or caesarean).


There are a number of factors to consider but we recommend after an initial 6-week rest period, following a low impact exercise programme progressed to a return to running between 3-6 months post-natal.

**Infographic from Sports Medicine NI

It is recommended that all women, regardless of how they deliver, seek out a pelvic health assessment with a womens health physiotherapist prior to returning to high impact sport; to evaluate strength, function and co-ordination of the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which are often impacted by pregnancy and delivery.

This becomes even more important if any of the following signs and symptoms are experienced prior to, or after attempting a return to running:


  • Heaviness/dragging in the pelvic area.

  • Leaking urine or inability to control bowel movements.

  • Pendular abdomen or noticeable gap along the midline of your abdominal wall.

  • Pelvic or lower back pain.

  • Ongoing or increased blood loss beyond 8 weeks post-natal that is not linked to your monthly cycle.


Well & Good Physiotherapist Abby Scott is a qualified Womens Health Physiotherapist. If you would like some guidance on returning to running or any impact activity after birth get in touch!



Well & Good | Phone: (03) 5778999 | Email: hello@wellandgoodhealth.co.nz