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How to Start Exercising After Giving Birth

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

It is perfectly normal to feel cautious when it comes to working out after giving birth. After all, your body goes through many significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth. However, it is worth noting that exercise is one of the daily behaviors that can help you lose weight and stimulate the organism to heal and recover after birth. In that sense, gynecologists and obstetricians advise women to include physical activity in their daily postpartum routine. We will talk about everything you need to know if you want to start exercising after giving birth.

A woman and her child doing yoga

The benefits of exercising after giving birth...

Exercising in the first couple of weeks might seem like an unnecessary challenge. With limited hours of sleep and the amount of energy you need to take care of your child, running or weightlifting is probably the last thing you want to do. That is why we will list a couple of benefits of postpartum exercise so that you can motivate yourself to continue exercising when you feel like quitting.

Exercising strengthens your body and mind...

There are several reasons why exercise is a beneficial activity after birth. Sure, most women want to shave off the baby weight they have gained during pregnancy. What doctors recognize as particularly important is the strengthening of abdominal muscles since the body tends to lose muscle strength after months of pregnancy and lower physical activity. Not to mention the many benefits exercising has on your mood and wellbeing.

Exercising improves sleep...

By exercising regularly, your body gradually builds up strength. Even though it seems contradictory, your sleep will be firmer, which means you will better use the scarce hours of rest.

This means you will have the energy necessary to keep your child happy and safe. It will also make cleaning and childproofing your home easier and less draining. Only once you become stronger, more alert, and awake can you make sure everything is safe for your child in your home.

Exercising after birth reduces stress...

Better sleep also helps you manage stress. In cases where women experience postpartum depression, exercise helps raise dopamine levels. In that sense, exercising can help prevent the baby blues and produce positive associations with the experience.

How soon can I start exercising after giving birth...?

There is no definitive answer to this question as every woman has different bodily needs and external circumstances that determine when and how much she should exercise. For the most part, when it is safe to exercise after giving birth will depend on how the delivery went. If you had an uncomplicated delivery, you could start with light exercises a couple of days after giving birth.

Yet, if you had complications during pregnancy or delivery, you will need to wait a bit more. So, if you had a caesarian section, it is not the best idea to jump right back into exercising. You must talk to your doctor or obstetrician as they will give you sound medical advice based on your body's condition'

A woman riding a stationary bicycle
Don’t exercise too much too soon.
What do you mean by light exercise...?

Sometimes, women overestimate their capabilities and go in too much too soon. It can be tempting to join your CrossFit class as quickly as possible, but heavy exercising of this sort might be detrimental to your post-birth recovery.

In any case, it is better to start slow and steady. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your body and decide when and what kind of exercising feels right for you. Your body's hormonal and general functioning does not go back to normal in an instant after you give birth. That is why a heavy workout you are not yet ready for might lead to injury, pelvis discomfort, joint pain, or even trigger incontinence. So, take it slow and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually. If you experience any pain or discomfort whatsoever, stop exercising immediately.

A woman doing yoga with her child
Go with yoga rather than HIIT training or heavy weightlifting.

How should I start exercising after giving birth?

Your exercising goals after giving birth should be realistic. Or, in other words, not too demanding. Pregnancy weakens abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. As these muscle groups provide stability and balance as you move, you will benefit the most from workouts that target these areas. Also, keep in mind that strengthening these body parts is vital in preventing incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

What are the exercises I can do after I give birth...?

There are a couple of basic, safe, and low-intensity exercises you can start doing after giving birth.

Pelvic tilts

Lie on your back with arms placed next to your body. Make sure your spine is touching the floor, so there is no gap. Draw your belly button inwards and tilt the pelvis a little bit upwards.

Kegel exercises

These exercises are also great for targeting pelvic floor muscles. The simplest involves lying on your back and raising your hips upwards. Make sure you squeeze your glutes at all times as if you are holding a marble for maximum effect.

A woman squatting in front of stairs
Kegel exercises are perfect low-intensity postpartum movements you can do.

Happy baby pose

This pose relaxes the pelvic floor muscles, making it a great way to start exercising after giving birth. Lie on your back with your neck firm against the ground. Hold your leg upwards as if you were squatting, and make sure your feet are parallel to the floor as if you could walk on the ceiling. Grab your ankles or outer edges of your feet with your hands. Pull the knees gently towards the armpits.


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