Postpartum Recovery

Your Guide to Exercise After Pregnancy

Which exercise is best after pregnancy? How soon after pregnancy can you exercise? Find the answers to these questions and more with our guide to safe and successful post-pregnancy exercise.

For many women, jumping back into an exercise routine after pregnancy is the last thing they want to do — and that’s completely understandable! After nine months and a life-changing delivery experience, many women just want to take it easy while they recover during the weeks following delivery.

Whether you’re a fitness guru or simply interested in getting moving again after pregnancy, you may have some questions after you have delivered your baby and are ready to get back in shape:

How soon after pregnancy can you exercise?

Which exercise is best after pregnancy?

What is the best exercise to reduce weight after pregnancy?

If you’re asking these questions, we applaud you! Getting back into an exercise routine after childbirth is an important part of healing and providing the self-care you need to feel like “you” again.

In the article below, you’ll find some helpful information about exercise after pregnancy to keep yourself safe while getting back into your exercise routine. However, a word of caution: Remember that every pregnancy is different, and what works for one woman during her postpartum recovery period may not work for you. The information below should not be taken as medical advice; please always speak to your doctor before beginning any post-pregnancy exercise.

When Can I Exercise After Pregnancy?

We all know that an exercise routine is an important part of staying healthy and fit — but knowing when to start post-pregnancy exercise can be tricky. You want to help your body recover by inspiring blood flow and muscle growth, but you don’t want to overdo it too soon after your body has gone through an incredible process and change.

So, how soon after pregnancy can you exercise? In general, you can start easy exercise as soon as you feel comfortable. No need to wait the six weeks of your postpartum recovery to get your blood pumping; when you feel up to it, start with easy exercises like short walks. Always pay attention to warning signs while you get back into post-pregnancy exercise; heavy bleeding, fatigue, and difficulty breathing after exercise means that you’ve done too much, too soon. Focus on your overall health before you focus on getting back in shape. No matter how good you feel, don’t do any strenuous exercise in the first 12 weeks after birth.

The right path for your health will depend upon your particular situation. Make sure to always talk to your doctor before jumping into post-pregnancy exercise to ensure you minimize injury and do what is best for your recovering body.

How Do I Create a Diet and Exercise Plan for Post-Pregnancy?

As mentioned above, when it comes to your post-pregnancy diet and exercise plan, it’s important to focus on what helps you feel strong — not what may help you lose weight. Many “after-pregnancy diet and exercise plans” claim to help you lose the baby weight fast, but they can also have dire effects if they impact your ability to heal during your postpartum period.

When it comes to creating your postpartum exercise routine, don’t look for specific exercises to reduce weight after pregnancy or other quick-fix plans to help you get your pre-baby body back. While we understand the desire to look the way you did before your pregnancy, trying to get back into your previous shape while your body is still recovering and nurturing a newborn baby does more harm than good. Remember: The celebrities that you see out there losing the baby weight in a month have personal trainers, dieticians, nannies and housekeepers on their side to help them. It’s not realistic for you to expect the same results from your own body.

Don’t focus on exercise after pregnancy to reduce stomach and other fat; appreciate what your body has done for you and give it the strength and energy it needs to keep you safe.

You’ll want to continue eating healthy after your pregnancy to get the energy and nutrients you need to heal — and take care of the little one now in your life, if you are parenting. In order to get back into exercise after pregnancy, take it easy and slow; start with five-minute walks a few times a week, and gradually work up to longer, daily walks (but only if you feel good doing so). Exercises that work your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor can be incredibly helpful if you are healing from childbirth. Aim to stay active for 20 to 30 minutes a day.

You can also include these low-impact exercises into your post-pregnancy exercise plan:

  • Swimming and aqua aerobics (once bleeding has stopped)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Light weight training
  • Cycling

Avoid strenuous exercises such as heavy weights, sit ups and high-intensity aerobics such as running and tennis.

What are Some Post-Pregnancy-Exercise Resources?

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to exercise after pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many resources available to you to help you get back into your exercise routine safely, smoothly and successfully.

Simply search the term “post-pregnancy exercise” on the internet, and many helpful resources will pop up, including this article. You can read several opinions on the best diet and exercise plan for post-pregnancy and get some ideas for creating your own routine. You can also find post-pregnancy exercise advice on YouTube, including after-pregnancy exercise videos that show you examples of exercises to do, step-by-step.

There are also a few “exercise after pregnancy” books that you may find useful:

Remember, no matter how much information you read about exercise after pregnancy, you must always talk with your doctor before jumping into a new routine. They are the only ones who can make sure the exercises you have selected are safe for your body and will help, not harm, you as you continue to recover from your pregnancy and childbirth.