There are currently no national/international guidelines that standardise practice and provide a framework to support health professionals working with women who wish to return to running after having a baby. Musculoskeletal pain, urinary incontinence, abdominal separation (Blyholder et al. 2016) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are prevalent conditions amongst postnatal runners. Awareness and understanding of the importance of optimal postnatal recovery in the prevention and management of these “common but not normal” conditions is increasing.
These guidelines have been created by the dedicated work of Tom Goom, Gráinne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell who have a passion in increasing awareness about the importance of safe and timely return to running postnatal. The evidence base for returning to running in the postnatal period, as well as returning to exercise in general, is limited. This document is based on the best available evidence alongside experienced clinical opinion. It is designed to assist clinical reasoning rather than replace it. It does not provide a prescriptive approach. Instead, the advice will need to be adapted to suit each individual’s needs.
Our vision is that these guidelines will assist health professionals to develop services for their population of postnatal women and that they will provide the starting point for the development of professionally-accredited, standardised, research-informed guidelines. We will review and update these guidelines in 1 year and continue to format them for ease of use by non-health professionals, professionals with no specialised training in postnatal care and the general public.
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