Post-pregnancy recovery of abdominal muscle function and running mechanics

Ultrasound Elastography Quick Facts:

Project Dates: June 2012 - Present

Funding Agencies: UW Sports Medicine Classic Grant Fund, Virginia Horne Henry Fund

Current NMBL Personnel:
Dr. Elizabeth Chumanov
Dr. Bryan Heiderscheit
Mikel Stiffler

External Collaborators:
Alison Brooks, MD, MPH (UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation), Cristine Agresta (Temple University)

The purpose of this study is to determine how the deep abdominal muscles recover in women whom have had children and how this relates to their running mechanics. This area of research is crucial as over 50% of women experience lumbopelvic pain at some point during their pregnancy and this can persist into the postpartum period, making return to pre-pregnancy activity levels challenging. Maintaining activity levels following pregnancy is important, since women who do not return to a pre-pregnancy weight at 6 months postpartum are at an increased risk for the development of chronic disease. Despite the importance of activity and exercise, current guidelines for return to activity following childbirth provide basic initial information but are of limited use for those returning to more physically demanding activities, such as running. We are currently looking at how the deep abdominal muscle function recovers post pregnancy using ultrasound imaging to assess and retrain the deep abdominal muscles. In addition we are using 3D motion capture to investigate how running mechanics might be altered post pregnancy. A recent case study was published looking at how running mechanics were altered following a deep abdominal muscle retraining program using ultrasound imaging as biofeedback in a postpartum runner currently experiencing low back pain and she was able to successfully return to running pain free at the completion of the retraining program. (Back to Prior Research)

Email to: Darryl Thelen Last Updated: 6/27/2017