Reviewing these safety considerations and practical tips can help you start your postpartum workout plan with confidence.

The postpartum period is a unique experience that brings all sorts of physical and emotional changes to your daily life. Whether exercise is a top priority or a fleeting thought, there are important factors to consider before diving in.

Exercise can be a helpful tool in promoting postpartum recovery, boosting overall health, and improving your mood no matter how long or frequent your sessions are.

It’s important to remember that the goal of postpartum exercise is to help you feel better without adding stress to your life. You may want to take it slow and try to release any sense of pressure related to exercise.

This article offers tips and guidance for postpartum workouts, including specific exercises, so that you can make the best decisions for your needs.

Before starting any exercise routine, get the green light from a healthcare professional. They can offer personalized advice about which exercises are safe and effective for you.

Experts generally recommend low impact exercises that are gentle on your joints and gradually increasing the intensity as your body heals. Consider tracking your progress by keeping a journal, using a fitness app, or having an accountability partner.

If you need help fitting exercise into your schedule, reach out to a support network. Prioritize exercises that make you feel better and take time for self-care, including rest and stress management.

Additional tips include:

  • Listen to your body, resting and taking breaks as necessary.
  • Stay hydrated and fuel your body with nutritious foods.
  • Be mindful of how you feel instead of concentrating on physical results.
  • Focus on proper form and technique instead of pushing yourself to the limit.
  • Feel free to reduce the number of repetitions or sets.
  • After each session, notice if you experience any discomfort or pain.

You may use this routine to ease back into fitness at a comfortable pace. Follow this sequence, starting with one or two exercises and adding more each week. Change and adjust the exercises to suit your needs.

Child’s pose

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This gentle pose helps ease low back tension and promotes relaxation. Place a cushion or folded blanket under your chest or hips for support.

  1. Kneel on the floor with your shins and knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed to the side.
  2. Hinge forward at your hips and extend your arms in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your heels.
  4. Gently rest your forehead on the floor.
  5. Keep your arms in front or place them alongside your body.
  6. Breathe deeply, allowing yourself to let go and fully unwind.
  7. Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Heel slides

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This exercise strengthens your transverse abdominis muscles, which is especially beneficial after a cesarean delivery. Leg slides can also alleviate low back pain.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Exhale, gently engaging your abdominal muscles and pressing your low back into the floor.
  3. Slowly extend your left leg.
  4. Return the leg to the starting position.
  5. Do 8 to 10 repetitions.
  6. Repeat on the right side.
  7. Do 1 to 3 sets.

Cat-Cow pose

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Cat-Cow pose is an exercise that can help relieve tension and tightness.

  1. Begin in a tabletop position, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Inhale, looking up and allowing your belly to expand with air.
  3. Exhale, tucking your chin and rounding your spine.
  4. Continue this flow of movement, synchronizing it with your breath.
  5. Continue for up to 1 minute.

Glute bridges

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This exercise targets your core and glutes.

To challenge your pelvic floor muscles and encourage alignment, place a small ball, cushion, or yoga block between your knees.

  1. Lie on your back with bent knees, pressing your feet into the floor.
  2. Slowly raise your hips.
  3. Pause for a few breaths.
  4. Lower to the starting position.
  5. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Reverse lunges

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Reverse lunges strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, which improves balance and stability.

To enhance stability, place your hands on the wall or the back of a chair. As your strength increases, use a kettlebell or dumbbells to increase resistance.

  1. Stand with your feet directly under your hips.
  2. Step your right foot back.
  3. Lower your body until both knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push through your back heel to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the left side.
  6. This is 1 repetition.
  7. Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Bird dog

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The bird dog exercise improves stability and core strength.

To add an extra challenge, you can use resistance bands. Place one end under your hand and the other under your opposite foot.

  1. Start in the tabletop position, gazing down at the floor or slightly ahead.
  2. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability.
  3. Extend your right arm forward and left leg backward.
  4. Pause for a few breaths before lowering back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. This is 1 repetition.
  7. Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Side plank

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Side plank strengthens your core and glutes, which can lead to better posture.

To intensify this exercise, incorporate leg lifts.

  1. Begin in a high plank.
  2. Move your left hand in toward the center.
  3. Transfer your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles, and raise your hips.
  4. Rest your right hand on your hip or raise it toward the ceiling.
  5. For extra stability, lower your left knee down to the floor.
  6. Engage your abdominals, side muscles, and glutes.
  7. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  8. Gaze straight ahead or up toward your hand.
  9. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
  10. Repeat on the opposite side.

Dead bug

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The dead bug exercise improves stability and balance while targeting your core and hip flexors. To reduce the intensity, bend your legs and avoid lowering your arms and legs all the way to the floor.

As you progress, you can use a stability ball, dumbbells, and ankle weights to make it more challenging.

  1. Lie on your back, gently pressing your shoulders and lower back into the floor.
  2. Extend your arms overhead, with your palms facing each other.
  3. Lift your legs, bending the knees 90 degrees, stacking them over your hips, and flexing your toes upwards.
  4. Engage your core as you lower your left leg and right arm toward the floor.
  5. Pause when just above the floor, then raise them to the starting position.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.
  7. This is 1 repetition.
  8. Do 1 to 3 sets of 5 to 12 repetitions.

Postpartum exercise offers a range of physical and mental benefits that can positively affect your well-being and outlook. Exercise can boost your self-confidence and increase your quality of life.

Regular physical activity can also boost your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality while encouraging moderate weight management.

Rebuilding core and pelvic floor strength are crucial for improving overall mobility and flexibility, which can also increase blood flow and reduce tightness.

Exercise can also improve your posture, which can help to prevent or alleviate pain and tension.

When can you start exercising after delivery?

After delivery, you can start a light exercise routine once you feel comfortable and have approval from a healthcare professional. Start slowly, take breaks when necessary, and gradually increase your intensity.

If you had a cesarean birth or any complications during your pregnancy and delivery, you might need to wait a bit longer to start exercising. Avoid exercise if you experience symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and pelvic discomfort.

Can you still exercise if you’re nursing?

Yes, you can still exercise if you’re nursing as long as you take some safety considerations into account. Avoid overexertion, stay hydrated, and eat more throughout the day.

You may find it more comfortable to nurse before exercising. If necessary, schedule nursing breaks into your workout routine. Wearing a nursing sports bra and workout top could also be helpful.

What does it mean if you aren’t seeing results?

If you’re not seeing results from your postpartum workout plan, there are several factors to consider, including nutrition, sleep, and your chosen routine.

If you feel up to it, consider intensifying your workouts or trying more challenging exercises. However, recognize that postpartum recovery is a gradual process and significant results may not be immediate.

Changes in hormone levels during and after pregnancy can also impact weight loss and muscle growth, which may affect your progress. It’s essential to give your body time to heal and adjust, and you may want to avoid comparing yourself with others.

Follow your own timeline and prioritize progress rather than perfection. Focus on how you feel.

Are there certain exercises you should avoid after delivery?

Yes, there are some exercises that you may want to avoid after delivery, at least for a certain period, especially if you have diastasis recti. Avoid high impact and strenuous exercises, including running, jumping, and interval training.

While it’s beneficial to strengthen your core, stay away from movements that stress your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, such as twists, crunches, and heavy lifting.

Personalize your postpartum workout to suit your needs, fitness level, and recovery progress. Begin with gentle, low impact exercises and gradually intensify your routine as you progress.

Remember that postpartum fitness is a journey and not a destination. Have patience, be kind to yourself, and move at your own pace. Be mindful of your needs and prioritize rest, sleep, and nutrition.

Get clearance from a healthcare professional before starting postpartum exercises. Consider working with a fitness professional for additional guidance, support, and accountability.