How to Start Exercising Again After Having a Baby

Last Updated on 32 mins by Eva

In this post, I am going to share with you some useful tips on how to start exercising again after giving birth.

Let’s face it:

Jumping back into a workout routine the first weeks after childbirth is probably the very last thing on your mind. You might feel like exercise isn’t anywhere close to your priorities list after you’ve brought a human into the world.

And that’s okay.

Just give yourself some time to recover, heal, and most importantly, to bond with your little one. Don’t push it because you might end up hating the whole fitness thing.  As you get stronger and you get used to life with your baby, you will naturally start to feel the need for physical activity.

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how to start exercising after giving birth

When can I start exercising again after giving birth?

In general, you are good to go with a regular exercise routine when your doctor or midwife cleared you at the 6-weeks postnatal check-up.

“It depends on the fitness level, the type of delivery, and the overall feeling of the woman. Some are out there again in a week, others maybe a couple of months. Most, somewhere around a month.”

Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University

Since C-section is considered to be major surgery, moms who had a cesarean will need to wait a bit longer to exercise again.

How to get started working out

There are a few things you should do and know before doing any exercise postpartum. Even if you worked out before you gave birth, it is very important to know the dos and don’ts when it comes to postpartum workouts.

Before you jump into a workout routine

First of all, before doing any exercise after birth, you should be cleared by your MD, especially if you had C-section. When your doctor gives you OK, I recommend you to start with a short, light walk as soon as you feel like it.

Don’t forget about your pelvic floor

Recovering from the baby is hard. We all know this.

Growing a little human inside you changes your core muscles beyond recognition, including your pelvic floor. Fortunately, with a little training, regaining its previous strength is possible.

how to start exercising again

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is extremely common after giving birth. Yet most women don’t understand they have it, what signs to look for and how to make it function again.

If you leak during exercise, jump or run, or you know a sneeze-pee too well, chances are your pelvic floor muscles are not functioning the way they should.

Maybe you´ve heard that doing Kegels will improve these symptoms. Although this might be true to some extent, it is important to incorporate Kegels into a more complex exercise routine to target the pelvic floor muscle group. Read more about how to tackle pelvic floor dysfunction in this post by Christina Suprenant, a Pelvic Floor Fitness Specialist.

Exercising after vaginal birth

According to NHS, if you had a natural birth, you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel like it. Start with walking, pelvic floor strengthening, and gentle stretching.

If you exercised regularly before giving birth, you may even be able to start earlier. If you feel good and fit talk to your midwife or OB-GYN about your options.

Before rushing into any high-impact workouts, running, or weight lifting, it’s always a good idea to wait until after your 6-weeks postpartum check-up.

Exercising after C-section

Since a c-section is a major operation, you will need to wait a little bit longer to make sure your wound is healed. Take it easy and don’t push yourself to exercise too soon. Take the first six weeks after a c-section as time for healing.

“You can safely start doing your pelvic floor exercises once your catheter is removed, and as soon as you feel up to it. You’re safe to do gentle toning exercises in the first six weeks. Pelvic tilts, bridges, and leg slides are all suitable.”

Hanna Dabbour, senior physiotherapist

If your OB-GYN gives you okay after the six weeks period, you can start to ease your way into gentle workout routines.

Exercises to avoid

Because your core muscles are weakened and you might be suffering from Diastasis Recti or Ab Separation (find out how to self-check for it here), try to avoid all exercises that put too much pressure on your abdominal area.

For instance, if you have problems with postpartum urine leakage, any exercise that causes you to leak indicates that the pressure on your abdomen is too intense.

These include:

  • crunches
  • front planks
  • sit-ups
  • leg lifts

Try inverted exercises that are safe early postpartum and will help you with prolapse and deep core strengthening, even after a c-section. Check out my deep core workout here:

Focus on easy start

Even when you feel ready to exercise, it’s very important not to overdo it. Even if you’re feeling great after having your baby, your body has gone through big changes and needs time to recover. “Too much too soon” is a very common issue with new moms when getting back to working out.

I had a vaginal delivery and fortunately didn’t have any major issues, so I went for a walk approximately a week after birth. It was beautiful summer weather outside so I just could not resist.

Walking is your best friend

how to start exercising again

In fact, walking is the easiest way how to start exercising again after having a baby and losing a few pregnancy pounds eventually. You don’t need to go jogging straight away. There is even a study that shows walking is just as good as running in terms of health effects.

Plus, walking has so many amazing benefits for a new mom!

Walking in the fresh air helps you to fight the postpartum blues by reducing your stress levels. Just an hour a day has a positive impact on your cardiovascular system because it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, or stroke.

Add some extra burn

When you feel confident with your walking routine, you can begin to slowly add some toning exercises to speed up the calorie burn and start to build lean muscle. 

For example, try doing walking lunges and squats during your stroller walking sessions. Find a quiet spot in a park or a forest while your baby sleeps and get ready for a mini-workout:

  • 10 min brisk walk to warm up
  • 3×15 walking lunges (you can do that while pushing the stroller)
  • 3×15 squats or standing leg raises (holding onto a tree, bench or a stroller)
  • 3×10 elevated push-ups (on a bench)
  • 15 min brisk walk to add extra burn
  • 5 min leisure walk to cool down
  • 5 min stretching

There are many other ways how you can intensify your walking session. For instance, you might take advantage of your area with hills. Pushing a stroller up the hill is a great way to tone your butt and legs.

Or, you can also try interval walking to speed up the calorie-burning process.

Don´t do too much too soon. Take it easy.

I hope this post has helped you to get more insight on how to start exercising again after having a baby.

I can’t stress enough the importance of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. s never too early to start with gentle pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels. Always remember to get cleared by your doctor before you start any regular workouts.

If you incorporate exercise into your daily routine and combine it with eating healthy, nourishing foods, you’ll be seeing and feeling results shortly!

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