Women experience a multitude of physical and mental changes during pregnancy and childbirth. Supporting women to re-engage in active lives following childbirth is incredibly important, for two generations; mother and child. Supporting and empowering women through active rehabilitation can help them to regain physical and mental aspects, such as fitness, athletic identities and that all important me time. But little is known about how to rehabilitate women following childbirth and what factors influence return to running and running-related urinary incontinence. So, we decided to explore this in our recent study.
Gráinne co-authored the clinical guidelines for return-to-running, alongside Emma Brockwell and Tom Goom. A year later, this got Izzy’s attention – she was a bit slow to react! Then Gráinne, Emma and Izzy met for an hour, it was more like two… and the idea to understand what factors contribute to women returning to running and running-related urinary incontinence was born. More meetings followed, other members of the team joined and before we knew it we were launching the survey.
The response we had to the survey was overwhelming! A huge thank you goes out to all women that completed it for us. We really appreciate you taking the time to take part.
Key findings were:
What can expectant mothers do?
What can mothers do following childbirth?
What can clinicians do?
“If someone had asked me this 1 year ago…I would have said my ideal situation would be to meet a researcher interested and willing to help us investigate these much needed questions. I actually cannot believe my dream has come true. For me, the mix between clinical and academia is essential. Currently we understand that there is a significant lag between identifying research findings and translating them into clinical practice. Our hope is that by joining forces, we can make research more relevant and meaningful and direct its application much sooner! Stay tuned to see how that goes…”
“in a word, yes. This project has really been a game changer for the direction of my research, in such a positive way. Working alongside the team and getting different perspectives really opened my eyes up to what were important questions for us to be asking. I now see real value in connecting with clinicians who want to change and improve current practices, pushing us as academics to undertake meaningful and impactful research, which they are actively involved in. What started as a small idea to see if there was common ground between us, has morphed into a number of projects and a shared vision to improve postpartum care. Gráinne and I seem to be endlessly writing papers at the moment, so watch this space for more coming soon!”