Postpartum pelvic floor rehab: A necessity for postpartum runners

Women's Health
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If you've recently welcomed a baby into the world and are a runner, it's essential to prioritize your pelvic health. Why? It can help make sure you can safely and effectively return to running after pregnancy.

Postpartum pelvic rehab plays a crucial role in helping runners recover and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles while also addressing other issues they may be experiencing postpartum. This helps in preventing injuries and improving overall running performance.

The importance of pelvic floor rehab

Recognizing the significance of your pelvic floor muscles and the role they play in your postpartum recovery can transform your return to running into a smoother, more enjoyable experience. It's not just about getting back to the activities we love; it's about rebuilding the foundation of our body's core stability and strength.

"The pelvic floor muscles act as the body's natural support system for the bladder, uterus and bowel," says Sarahann Callaway, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Bryn Mawr Rehab, part of Main Line Health. "Pelvic rehab is essential because it directly addresses the rehabilitation and strengthening of muscles that have been impacted during pregnancy and childbirth."

This process is vital for rebuilding the pelvic floor, which can help prevent common issues like incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions can significantly impact a runner's quality of life and performance if left untreated.

Benefits of pelvic rehab for runners

By engaging in targeted pelvic floor rehabilitation, runners can look forward to a significant improvement in muscle strength within the pelvic region. This foundational strength is key to not only boosting your running performance but also minimizing the risk of common runner-related injuries.

A well-supported pelvic floor acts as a solid base from which power and stability can be transferred throughout your entire body, leading to a more efficient and injury-resistant running form. A focus on pelvic health through rehab will lead to overall improvement and you'll see the benefits in other areas of your life - not just in your running performance.

The importance of rest and recovery

Your body, having undergone the remarkable process of childbirth, deserves moments of pause and healing. This time of recuperation is crucial for the repair and strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles and your overall physical well-being.

So, while you might want to get back to your running routine quickly, it's important to rest and ensures that your body has the opportunity to recover after giving birth.

"This approach minimizes the risk of injury and promotes a more sustainable and enjoyable running experience," says Sarahann. "Remember, each step taken towards recovery, including those slower, restful ones, is a step forward in your journey. Pregnancy and childbirth is a whole body experience and we're here to help you feel more like yourself again."

Knowing when to seek professional help

Navigating your postpartum journey as a runner is a unique experience, filled with its set of challenges and triumphs. While embarking on pelvic rehab can significantly improve your running experience, it's important to be vigilant about your body's signals.

If you find that despite your dedicated efforts, symptoms such as discomfort during running, urinary incontinence or pelvic pain persist or even escalate, it may be time to consider additional support. Seeking the expertise of a pelvic health physical therapist or a health care provider specialized in postpartum care is a proactive step towards ensuring your health and well-being.

These professionals can offer you tailored advice and treatment options, guiding you through specialized treatments to address your specific concerns. They can help you return to running as safely and quickly as possible.

Next steps:

Learn more about Sarahann Callaway, PT
Learn about pelvic floor rehabilitation at Main Line Health
Rehabilitation before surgery: How pre-surgical rehab sets you up for success

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