Despite running being a popular, beneficial and accessible form of physical activity (Oswald et al., 2020; Pedisic et al., 2020), females often cease running during pregnancy and do not necessarily return postpartum (Moore et al., 2021). As a result, those who disengage do not experience the mental and physical health benefits that come with running during this life period and potentially long term. Although advice suggests that running postpartum is safe in the absence of contraindications and where there was engagement in running prior to pregnancy (ACOG, 2020), guidance for returning to running following childbirth is scarce and inconsistent (Donnelly et al., 2020; Evenson et al., 2014).
To explore the effectiveness of a co-produced, interdisciplinary approach to return-to-running for mothers following childbirth.
1. Assess the barriers to returning to running, as well as needs and preferences for an intervention for postpartum females
2. Establish criteria (psychological and biomechanical) that indicate a readiness to return-to-running
3. Co-produce (with postpartum runners) an intervention to assist in returning to running postpartum
4. Assess the effectiveness of the intervention against the criteria established in objective 2.
Potential impact –
This project has the potential to inform clinical guidelines regarding return-to-running advice and inform health professionals and clinicians. Furthermore, it could positively affect mothers’ health and well-being, while bringing together a network of women.