No matter how fit you were before your pregnancy, the 6-week postpartum period is difficult for any woman. Your body is still healing from childbirth and dealing with changing hormones. On top of that, there are new challenges with breastfeeding, lack of sleep, and caring for your newborn.
During this time, a mother’s physical and mental health needs attention and support. If you are a first-time mother, or if you had a C-section, you may take longer to recover after childbirth. For some women, complete recovery can take 6 months to a year, sometimes even longer.
By the end of 6 weeks postpartum, your uterus will have gone back to pre-pregnancy size. But even before this point, you can begin exercising and resume sexual activity after consulting with your doctor and if you feel comfortable with it. Many women, however, don’t feel ready until much later, and that is completely normal.
What are the best postpartum exercises?
During the postpartum period, your main goal should be to get your body moving, eat healthy, and improve your overall health. And while exercise is both safe and healthy in most cases, before starting any postpartum workout, it’s best to talk to your doctor first.
Even if you were consistently exercising before and during your pregnancy, don’t overexert your body right after childbirth. Start with light exercises that you feel comfortable with for 15 to 30 minutes a day and gradually build up.
If you have had a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period, you can safely begin with 1-2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
Here are 9 good postpartum exercises to try:
- Walking: Around 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can do wonders for your mood and give you much-needed me time.
- Jogging and running: A 30 minute jog with good footwear can help boost your body’s metabolism.
- Swimming: Few exercises come close to swimming when it comes to fitness and weight loss. Swimming is especially great if you have knee pain or back pain due to weight gain and cannot walk or run.
- Pilates: Exercises that strengthen the core and lower back are especially important during and after pregnancy. Pilates may be especially helpful for those who had cesarean delivery, although you should consult your doctor before trying.
- Yoga: Yoga improves flexibility, aids in weight loss, and also helps beat the postpartum blues.
- Squats: Squats strengthen the core and buttock muscles. Keep in mind that these need to be done using the correct form, though, or you could end up with knee pain.
- Strength training (with weights): Strength training should be done under supervision, since your abdominal muscles and ligaments are often weak after delivery, and you don’t want to risk uterine prolapse.
- Low-impact aerobic exercises: Using the stationary bike, elliptical machine, and stair-climber machine at the gym can help you get moving without too much strain on your body.
- Pelvic floor exercises (Kegels): Kegels help tighten the pelvic floor muscles by flexing them for 10 seconds at a time. This can be repeated throughout the day. If you are up to it, you can do Kegel exercises the day after childbirth for up to 30 minutes a day.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Exercises Are Good for Postpartum? Related Articles
10 Best Shoulder Exercises for Your Home WorkoutThe shoulder is made of two joints. One joint is between the shoulder blade (scapula) and collar bone (clavicle) called the acromioclavicular joint. The other joint is a type of ball and socket joint between the upper end of the bone of the arm (humerus) and shoulder blade. There are 10 shoulder exercises that you can easily include as a part of your home workout.
Does Body Shape Change After Pregnancy?Your body changes a lot when you're pregnant. Many of those changes return to normal, but every woman is different. Some women may find that some changes to their bodies remain.
Exercise & PregnancyPregnancy exercises and workouts for moms-to-be include Kegel exercises and prenatal yoga. A prenatal workout is an important part of healthy living. Try these safe exercises for pregnancy.
No-Gym Home WorkoutLearn about this no-gym, at home quick workout. It can get you into great shape at home and shows the best moves for flat abs and total body fitness without costly fitness and exercise equipment.
How Is Postpartum Preeclampsia Treated?Postpartum preeclampsia is a condition that affects mothers after giving birth. Learn what it is and how to identify it so you can get immediate help.
How Long Is the Postpartum Period?The first six weeks after giving birth is called the postpartum period. During the postpartum period, the mother experiences several changes including physical and emotional changes.
Low Back Pain ReliefDo you suffer from low back pain? Learn more about common triggers of lower back pain like posture, exercise, and spondylosis. Find out about pain relief treatments like massage, yoga, stretching, exercises for back pain, and chiropractic medicine. See when surgery for back pain makes sense.
ParentingGood parenting helps foster empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness, says Steinberg, a distinguished professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and desire to achieve. It helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Postpartum DepressionPostpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes after childbirth may lead to depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying a lot, headaches, chest pains, eating too little or too much, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawal from friends and family, and feeling irritable, sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, and overwhelmed. Treatment typically involves talk therapy and medication.
Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Diagnosis and TreatmentPostpartum depression symptoms include insomnia, anger, and irritability after giving birth. Learn about postpartum depression treatment, statistics, test, signs, help, and screening.
What Are the Best Exercises for Back Pain?When you are experiencing back pain, you may want to rest, but being active is good for the back. Exercising can strengthen the muscles of the back and those that support posture, as well as improve overall body health. Strengthening the muscles provides support to the spine and slowly reduces back pain.
What Leg Workouts Can I Do at Home?Exercises that help tone the legs benefit the legs, the spine as well as the other body parts. These exercises help burn calories, reduce cholesterol, and reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and arthritis.