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UK Coaching Participation Team
Females Supporting Specific Needs

Coaching Women Returning to Activity After Childbirth – Episode 5

A series of five articles by Senior Physiotherapist and Postnatal Pelvic Health Specialist Victoria Bateman highlighting some key challenges faced by women after giving birth. The final part of the series focuses on the need to take a holistic approach to returning to exercise

When coaching a female who is running to exercise after childbirth it is important to communicate with anyone who is involved in their postnatal care at the time. Even if it’s a phone call, a message relayed, or a specific discussion with them exploring any successes, limitations or future considerations. This will ensure everything is addressed in terms of how they are recovering. 

More and more coaches, fitness professionals and allied health professionals are now starting to collaborate in supporting transitions back to activity as they see the benefits in providing a multidisciplinary approach to the postnatal female’s recovery and return to exercise.

One of the first appointments a postnatal female will have is a 6-8 week check with their GP. As the name suggests, this usually takes place between 6-8 weeks after childbirth and involves a full check over of the baby as well as asking the mother questions re postnatal care, wound healing and symptoms.  

This is an important intervention for new mums; however, this initial check-up often focuses more on the baby and less so on the mother.  Added to this, the check offers little time for the GP to discuss much about the physical and mental health of mum. Unfortunately, some GP surgeries do not even offer a postnatal check.


Does this seem adequate for mum to understand when she can go back to exercise? Could this check therefore give mum a false sense of security in terms of returning to exercise? For example: ‘I’ve had my 6-week check and now I am fine.’ 


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UK Coaching Participation Team