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When can I start working out after giving birth?

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

After the beautiful journey of pregnancy and childbirth, life changes for many new mothers. Caring for and bonding with the newborn becomes the top priority, and it can start to take a great toll physically and mentally when adapting to this major transition. One might seek means for stress release and a way to let off some steam. While doing exercise can be a wonderful way to bring relaxation and regain postpartum fitness, you may wonder when the optimal time is to start working out again.

The timing for postpartum exercise depends greatly on personal factors such as the type of delivery and the individual’s recovery process. Understanding the benefits and guidelines for postpartum exercise can help you safely begin your fitness journey after giving birth.

What are the benefits of postpartum exercises?

Engaging in postpartum exercises offers numerous benefits for new mothers. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise after giving birth can help you with weight loss, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase stamina and endurance. Your abdominal and pelvic floor strength may have been weakened during pregnancy and childbirth, but postpartum exercises can promote healing and restore your muscle strength.

Life after giving birth can be stressful for new mothers, with many new challenges from motherhood. Participating in postpartum exercise classes or joining exercise groups can provide opportunities for you to enjoy social interaction and receive support from other new mothers, which is crucial for maintaining mental wellness. Exercise has also been shown to reduce symptoms of postpartum depression and improve mood, helping new mothers regain confidence.

When to start postpartum exercise?

Knowing the right time to start exercise is crucial for the proper recovery post-pregnancy. It’s important to be patient, listen to your body, and pay attention to any signals it sends, as recovery takes time. If you feel tired, unwell, or experience pain when moving, it’s a good idea not to start working out anytime soon.

The timeline for initiating postpartum exercise can depend on various factors, such as the method of delivery. If you are unsure about your conditions, consult your healthcare provider and receive approval before commencing any type of exercise program.

When to start postpartum exercise after normal delivery?

If you have undergone a normal vaginal delivery, the general recommendation is to wait until after the 6-week postpartum check-up before starting any exercise routine. This allows sufficient time for your body to heal and recover. Consider factors such as your pre-pregnancy fitness level and the details of your labor when determining your readiness to exercise.

Generally, gentle pelvic floor and abdominal exercises can be started one to two days after birth as long as there is no pain. Walking is a safe and effective low-impact exercise that can gradually be increased in duration and intensity. It's important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance on when to start your postpartum exercise journey, especially if you have had stitches or experienced any complications during the delivery.

When to start postpartum exercise after C-section delivery?

If you have had a C-section delivery, the healing process generally takes longer. Typically, women who have undergone a C-section should wait until they receive approval from their doctor, usually around 6 to 8 weeks post-surgery. This allows proper healing of the incision site and reduces the risk of complications.

During this time, gentle pelvic floor exercises can be started, followed by a gradual introduction of abdominal exercises once you feel able to. It's important to avoid activities that put direct pressure on the scar, such as sit-ups or abdominal curls. Listen to your body and consult with your doctor for guidance on when and how to safely resume postpartum exercise.

What are some recommended postpartum exercises a new mother can try?

The best postpartum exercises for new mothers focus on rebuilding core strength, toning the pelvic floor muscles, and improving overall fitness. Some recommended exercises include:

- Pelvic Tilts: These exercises help strengthen the muscles of the lower back and abdomen. They can be done by lying on your back with your knees bent and gently tilting your pelvis forward and backward.
- Kegel Exercises: These exercises can be done by contracting and relaxing the muscles that control urination, restoring pelvic floor strength after childbirth.
- Gentle Abdominal Exercises: Gradually introducing gentle exercises such as gentle abdominal contractions or modified sit-ups can help rebuild core strength.
- Yoga: Postpartum yoga practices integrate the body and breath through stretching, isometric bodyweight exercises, and moving meditation. This exercise promotes flexibility, strength, and relaxation.
- Stretching: Regular stretching exercises can help maintain muscle flexibility and reduce muscle tightness. Stretching can also be done as part of a warm-up or cool-down routine.
- Pilates: Pilates incorporates controlled movements emphasizing alignment and breathing, with a focus on building core strength. It can improve coordination, stability, and overall body strength.
- Strength training: Strength exercises using resistance, such as dumbbells, barbells, or resistance bands, can help increase muscle strength and stamina, whilst also boosting metabolism.

While these exercises can be done on your own to facilitate postpartum recovery, it is generally recommended to seek guidance from postpartum trainers. Sentosa offers specialized postpartum exercise services to new mothers with help from certified postpartum trainers, including those experienced in yoga, Pilates, and strength training, that can support you on your postpartum fitness journey.

What should I be aware of when initiating postpartum exercises?

When engaging in postpartum exercises, it's crucial to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, too soon. Remember to start slowly, gradually increase intensity, and be mindful of any discomfort or pain. Wear supportive clothing and appropriate footwear, stay hydrated, and ensure you have proper nutrition to support both your recovery and breastfeeding.

Reach out to Sentosa for postnatal advice and support

If you're seeking professional guidance and care for your postpartum fitness journey, reach out to Sentosa. Located in Switzerland, our specialized postpartum exercise services include yoga, Pilates, and personal training services, with guidance from certified postpartum trainers. Through effective and safe postnatal exercises and workouts, Sentosa can help you regain strength, confidence, and overall well-being during this transformative phase of motherhood.
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