» Blog
» Pelvic Pain After Running Postpartum

Pelvic Pain After Running Postpartum

Pelvic Pain After Running Postpartum

Many women experience pelvic pain after giving birth, especially when returning to exercise like running. The pelvis goes through major changes during pregnancy and childbirth, so it's common for the pelvic floor muscles and joints to need time to recover. 

However, with proper treatment and a gradual return to running, most women can get back to their pre-baby fitness routines. In this article, experts from Pilates Studio San Ramon CA will guide you about everything relating to pelvic pain after running postpartum.

Causes of Postpartum Pelvic Pain

There are several potential causes of pelvic pain after pregnancy:

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the pelvic floor muscles. Vaginal delivery can overstretch or even tear these muscles, while c-sections weaken the pelvic floor by cutting through them. Weak pelvic muscles can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and pain. Running too soon after delivery may aggravate these issues.

Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles separate to accommodate the growing uterus and then fail to close back together after pregnancy. This can put pressure on the pelvis and cause discomfort.

Pelvic Instability

The pelvic joints become very mobile in pregnancy due to hormones like relaxin. If the pelvic joints don't stabilize postpartum, they may cause pain with activities like running.

Scar Tissue Pain

After vaginal tears or episiotomies, scar tissue forms as the area heals. This scar tissue may be tender or tight, causing pain with movement like running.

Pelvic Congestion

Increased blood flow during pregnancy can sometimes lead to varicose veins in the pelvis. This pelvic congestion may result in a heavy, achy feeling when running postpartum.

Pelvic Floor Spasms

The pelvic floor muscles may develop trigger points and spasms after pregnancy and delivery, especially if they are overstretched or injured. Spasms can refer to pain in the pelvis, lower back, and hips.

When to Return to Running Postpartum

Most experts recommend waiting at least 4-6 weeks after giving birth to return to running or Pilates San Ramon if you've had a c-section. However, this timeframe may vary based on your delivery and recovery. Watch for these signs you're ready to start running again:

  • Incisions, tears, and hemorrhoids have healed
  • Bleeding and discharge have stopped
  • Pelvic pain and soreness have resolved
  • You can walk for 30-60 minutes without pain or incontinence
  • You can lift your baby, sneeze, and laugh without leaking urine
  • You feel ready emotionally and motivated to return to exercise

Take things very slowly when you first get back to running after pregnancy. Try walking first, then alternate walking and jogging before working back up to your normal running routine. 

Stop immediately if you have any pelvic pain, bleeding, or leaking urine. Let pain be your guide, and don't push through discomfort.

Treatments for Postpartum Pelvic Pain

If you have persistent pelvic pain after starting running again, there are treatments that can help:

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist is highly recommended for postpartum women, even without pain. They can assess for muscle damage, treat trigger points, improve coordination, and prescribe exercises to regain pelvic floor strength. This can reduce pain and make running more comfortable.

Scar Massage

Gentle massage and mobilization of episiotomy scars can help break down adhesions and reduce pain. Your physical therapist can show you how to properly massage scar tissue.

Core and Hip Strengthening

Weak core and hip muscles can affect pelvic stability and put a strain on the pelvic floor. Targeted exercises to improve strength in these areas can take pressure off the pelvis.

Posture and Movement Training

Learning proper running mechanics, hip alignment, and core engagement techniques can take stress off the pelvic floor. A physical therapist can analyze your posture and movement patterns. It may also include Pilates Sessions San Ramon CA.


If muscle spasms are contributing to pelvic pain, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants temporarily to break the pain cycle. Some pain relievers or anti-inflammatories may also provide relief.

Pelvic Support Devices

Wearing a support belt or girdle designed for postpartum recovery may help stabilize the pelvis and reduce discomfort while running.

Activity Modification

Adjusting your running mileage, rest days, and cross training activities may allow inflamed or overworked pelvic tissues to recover. Avoid large hills, long runs, and speedwork initially.

Injection Therapy

For severe cases, trigger point injections, nerve blocks, or botox injections to pelvic muscles may provide temporary pain relief.

Home Therapies for Running Postpartum Pelvic Pain

Here are 7 home remedies for postpartum pelvic pain:

Cold Therapy

Applying cold packs or ice to the pelvic area can relieve pain and inflammation caused by childbirth injuries, muscle strains, or repetitive impact from running. Use an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for 10-15 minutes at a time, 1-2 times per day. The cold constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling and numb sore spots. Avoid direct skin contact to prevent frost damage. Cool sitz baths can also provide cold therapy relief.

Heat Therapy

Whereas cold therapy treats acute pain, heat is optimal for dull, aching, or muscle-related pelvic pain. Heat promotes circulation to speed healing, relaxes tight muscles and trigger points, and increases flexibility. Options include warm baths, heating pads on low settings, microwavable heat wraps, and topical creams containing menthol. Apply heat for 10-20 minutes up to several times daily. Avoid direct contact with the skin to prevent burns.


Arnica is an herbal supplement made from the arnica montana flower that has natural anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat bruising. It comes as oral tablets, topical creams, oils, and gels. For postpartum pelvic pain, arnica cream can be gently applied to sore spots like episiotomy scars or tailbone. It may help reduce swelling, discoloration, and discomfort. Follow dosage instructions.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is an astringent derived from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel plant. It contains tannins that help constrict swollen blood vessels and tighten weakened pelvic tissues. Simply soak cotton pads in witch hazel and apply them to painful areas. It may help soothe hemorrhoids, bruising, and irritated incisions after childbirth. Use witch hazel that does not contain alcohol if the area is broken or abraded. Do not ingest.

Sitz Baths

A sitz bath involves soaking the pelvic region in warm water to encourage muscle relaxation, improve blood flow, and ease pain from episiotomies, tears, and hemorrhoids. You can purchase a plastic sitz bath basin that fits over the toilet or simply fill your bathtub with a few inches of warm water and sit in it for 15-20 minutes. Add Epsom salts, baking soda, oatmeal, or essential oils to enhance benefits. Repeat daily as needed for comfort.

Pelvic Floor Stretches

Gentle pelvic floor stretching can help ease muscle tension, release trigger points, improve flexibility, and reduce spasms that contribute to pelvic pain. Try simple stretches like butterfly pose, child's pose, happy baby pose, and reclining bound angle pose. Perform relaxed kegel exercises to improve muscle coordination. Stop any stretch that causes pain or discomfort. Stretching may promote healing.


Massaging the pelvis and abdominal muscles externally can provide therapeutic relief for postpartum aches and pains. Use gentle pressure and castor oil to avoid irritating healing tissues. Focus on areas of tension like hips, lower back, and abdomen. Scar tissue massage may help break up adhesions. Proper perineal massage techniques can also aid recovery. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for guidance. Massage should not cause increased swelling or bleeding.

Self-Care Tips for Pelvic Pain

While seeking professional treatment, there are self-care strategies you can use at home to manage postpartum pelvic and abdominal pain:

  • Rest as much as possible, especially in the early postpartum period. Let your partner help more with baby care tasks.
  • Ice the area to relieve pain and inflammation. Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 10-15 minutes.
  • Try an OTC pain reliever like acetaminophen, but avoid NSAIDs if breastfeeding.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid fabrics that rub or chafe the pelvic area.
  • Use good posture and pelvic tilt when nursing, baby-wearing, etc., to avoid putting strain on pelvic muscles.
  • Try yoga poses like a child's pose and happy baby pose to gently stretch the pelvis.
  • Use a pelvic support belt or maternity binder when active or on your feet.
  • Apply heat, like a warm bath, Epsom salt soak, or a heating pad for muscle relaxation.
  • Get adequate rest, maintain a postpartum diet high in protein and fiber, and stay hydrated.
  • Perform gentle kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Stop if it's painful.
  • Consider pelvic floor therapy devices like biofeedback, electrical stimulation, or dilators.
  • Avoid activities that increase pain, like lifting, squatting, straining, or heavy vacuuming.
  • Manage constipation with diet, fluids, and stool softeners to avoid bearing down.

Let your body heal after birth, and be patient with your recovery. Seek medical advice if pain persists beyond 6-8 weeks postpartum. Most women find their pelvic pain gradually improves as the pelvic floor tissues regain strength. Proper treatment makes returning to running after pregnancy possible.


Pelvic pain is a common occurrence as women return to running after giving birth. Pregnancy and delivery puts tremendous strain on the pelvic floor muscles, joints, and ligaments that may still be recovering postpartum. 

We recommend you contact Ironhorse Physical Therapy & Pilates experts for a customized treatment plan for your condition.