I get asked this a lot. I get it. Until quite recently, I never would have imagined it either.
When I first discovered my prolapse in 2015 I did what we all do. I read all the guidance that said ‘Don’t run, don’t jump, don’t lift, don’t stand up for too long.’ It was a similar story from the NHS at the time and I took all of that onboard. I was fearful that one wrong move would have me waving goodbye to my pelvic organs for good. And it played on my mind a lot.
I didn’t stop moving completely. I cycled the short distance to work and I did postnatal pilates with a teacher I trusted. But even that felt risky and I held back on every urge to throw my kids around, dance around the kitchen or dig the garden with gusto.
Before kids I enjoyed running. Not in a marathon kind of way but the odd 10K here and there. Was there a way to get back to that safely? It took me more than three years to do something about it. I knew I wanted to do more than I was doing and more importantly, I didn’t want to feel The Fear or any guilt for doing it. So I decided to go back to the drawing board. And I threw everything at it.
So what did I do? I started off with Holistic Core Restore*. First the Recovery programme with lots of pelvic floor work, stretches and the beginnings of movement and then progressed to the Every Woman programme for more core, squats and glute work. I then started working with a trainer doing a mix of low impact hiit, pilates and yoga. Eventually, with the sign off from my physio, I began Couch to 5K and worked up to running in the local park two or three times a week.
In episode 6 of the Why Mums Don’t Jump podcast, I speak about exactly this with Emma Brockwell, pelvic health physio, author of Why Did No-one Tell Me? and co-host of the At Your Cervix podcast. Her advice? Seek help from a physiotherapist:
Anyone with a prolapse who is fearful of movement, you need to move. You can move. You possibly just need a little bit of guidance as to how to start.
This is not to say that running is for everybody. It isn't. Please do work with a professional to get to where you want to be. But I am sure that a prolapse doesn’t have to mean the end of the road.
*I have no affiliation with HCR. For other postnatal exercise programmes please go here