Postnatal Fitness: Safe Exercises to Regain Your Strength

postnatal exercise

Being a new mom is a beautiful and transformative experience. Welcoming a precious little one into the world fills your heart with immeasurable joy and love. But amidst the overwhelming joy, the journey of motherhood can also take a toll on your body.

As you navigate the postpartum period, it’s essential to prioritize your physical well-being and regain your strength. Engaging in postnatal exercise can not only help you regain your pre-pregnancy fitness level but also provide numerous benefits for both your body and mind.

Whether you had a smooth delivery or faced some complications, it’s crucial to listen to your body and approach postpartum fitness with care. Consult with your doctor and consider the guidelines provided by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). With the right guidance and safe exercises, you can embark on a journey to rebuild your strength and embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle as a mom.

Best Postpartum Exercises for Rebuilding Core Strength

After giving birth, it’s important to focus on rebuilding your core strength to regain stability and improve overall fitness. Incorporating postpartum exercises into your routine can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, improve posture, and reduce low back pain. Here are some of the best exercises to include in your postpartum workout:

Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are a crucial component of postpartum recovery. These exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor. They can be started within the first or second week after delivery to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and promote better bladder control.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing exercises are beneficial in the early days after giving birth. This technique involves breathing deeply into your diaphragm, which helps promote relaxation, core stability, and regulates your breathing rate. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing can help you reconnect with your core and improve overall postpartum recovery.


Walking is a safe and effective postpartum exercise that can be started almost immediately after delivery. It helps improve cardiovascular health without putting excessive strain on your body. Start with shorter durations and gradually increase as your strength and endurance improve. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and listen to your body’s signals.

Swiss Ball Bird Dog Holds

Using a Swiss ball, assume a tabletop position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees on the ball. Extend your right arm forward while simultaneously lifting your left leg straight back. Hold this position for a few seconds, then switch sides. This exercise targets your core, glutes, and promotes stability.

Cat-Cow in Tabletop

In a tabletop position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees on the floor, alternate between arching your back (cat pose) and dropping your belly towards the floor (cow pose). This exercise helps improve spinal mobility, core strength, and stretches the abdominal muscles.

Swiss Ball Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with your feet resting on a Swiss ball. Press your heels into the ball and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and lower back down with control. This exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Postpartum Planks

Start in a push-up position with your hands aligned with your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Engage your core and hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining good form. Planks are an effective exercise for building core strength and stability.

Side Plank Leg Lifts

Start in a side plank position with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and feet stacked on top of each other. Lift your top leg up and down while maintaining a stable plank position. This exercise targets your entire core, including your obliques.

Remember to start with shorter durations and lower intensity exercises, gradually increasing as you get stronger and your body feels better. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop exercising and consult with your healthcare provider. Incorporating these postpartum exercises into your routine can help you rebuild your core strength and support your overall postpartum fitness journey.

Other Postpartum Exercise Options

Once you feel ready to take your postnatal exercise routine to the next level, there are several other options to consider. These exercises can help you regain your strength, improve flexibility, and enhance your overall postpartum fitness.

One popular option is yoga, which offers a range of benefits such as improved flexibility, strength, relaxation, and stress management. Yoga focuses on core strength, making it ideal for postpartum recovery and pelvic floor rehabilitation.

If you prefer a full-body workout with low impact, swimming is an excellent choice. Not only does it engage multiple muscle groups, but it also provides a calming and meditative experience. Swimming can help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall well-being.

For those looking to rebuild muscle tone and bone density, light weight lifting is highly recommended. This form of exercise not only boosts metabolism but also aids in weight loss. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity as you regain strength.

If you’re seeking a convenient cardiovascular exercise that engages your lower body and core, stationary cycling is a great option. It allows you to control the intensity while providing an effective workout for postpartum fitness.

Pilates is another postpartum workout that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness. It specifically targets abdominal and pelvic floor muscle tone, helping you restore strength and stability in those areas.

Low-impact aerobics classes combine rhythmic movements with strength training, offering a well-rounded workout suitable for postnatal exercise. This type of exercise promotes cardiovascular health, endurance, and flexibility, ensuring a balanced fitness routine.

To receive tailored workouts and personalized guidance, postpartum personal training sessions are highly beneficial. These sessions provide an opportunity to work with professional trainers who understand the unique challenges and needs of new mothers.

Remember, whatever type of postpartum exercise you choose, it’s important to listen to your body, stay hydrated, eat well, prioritize rest, and consult with a healthcare professional or postpartum personal trainer for guidance. With the right approach, you can safely and effectively regain your strength and enhance your overall postpartum fitness.


When can I start exercising after giving birth?

The start date for postnatal exercise depends on the type of pregnancy and delivery. If you had a healthy pregnancy and delivery, you can start working out when you feel ready, which may be as soon as a week after giving birth. If you had a cesarean delivery or complications, it’s important to work with your doctor to determine a safe timeline for resuming exercise.

What types of exercises should I do?

Aim to engage in low-impact aerobic activity for 20 to 30 minutes a day and incorporate simple postpartum exercises to strengthen major muscle groups. Some recommended exercises for rebuilding core strength include Swiss ball bird dog holds, Cat-Cow in tabletop, Swiss ball glute bridge, postpartum planks, and side plank leg lifts. These exercises help with stability, posture, low back pain reduction, and overall strengthening of abdominal, gluteal, and leg muscles.

When can I start pelvic floor exercises?

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, can be started within the first or second week after delivery to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

Can I do diaphragmatic breathing exercises after giving birth?

Yes, diaphragmatic breathing exercises can be done in the first few days after giving birth to improve relaxation, core stability, and breathing rate.

Is walking a safe postpartum exercise?

Yes, walking is a safe and effective postpartum exercise that can be started almost immediately after delivery to improve cardiovascular health.

What other postpartum exercise options are there?

In addition to walking and specific core-strengthening exercises, there are several other postpartum exercise options available. These include yoga, swimming, light weight lifting, stationary cycling, Pilates, low-impact aerobics classes, and postpartum personal training sessions. Each of these options offers unique benefits and can be tailored to suit your fitness level and interests.

Are there any precautions to consider when exercising postpartum?

It’s important to listen to your body, stay hydrated, eat well, prioritize rest, and seek professional guidance when starting postpartum workouts. If you have any concerns or medical conditions, consulting with your healthcare provider before starting a postnatal exercise routine is recommended.

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