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Getting back into a workout routine after having a baby is usually floating around somewhere on a new mom’s endless to-do list. But the time, energy, and motivation (not to mention the child care) is simply not always there, especially during those first few months.
First, let us say: That’s more than OK. After all, your body went through a lot during those nine months of creating, carrying, and delivering your baby! One thing all postpartum experts agree on is that it takes time to get back into your ideal physical shape (whatever that might be for you).
It’s not news that exercise is good for you, no matter what stage of life you’re in — it’s a tried-and-true prescription for injury prevention, weight loss, and muscle gain. But in addition to the physical benefits, exercise offers a plethora of mental and emotional perks that can be especially important to new moms.
“Exercise is proven to improve your mood thanks to feel-good endorphins and can play a role in helping prevent postpartum depression,” says Amanda Tress, certified nutrition coach, personal trainer, and mom of three.
“Working out can also give you added energy (necessary when you’re dealing with 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. feedings!) and help restore muscle strength, particularly in the abdominal muscles that were stretched during pregnancy.”
Thankfully, there are plenty of fitness apps and streaming services that don’t require you to go to the gym — or even leave the house. Many of these have programs that cater specifically to the postpartum crowd and are available to be streamed online and broadcast in the comfort of your own living room.
Before we share our picks for the top at-home resources in the world of postpartum fitness, a quick reminder to always consult your OB before jumping back into exercise.
Not everyone’s timeline looks the same when it comes to postpartum recovery. As much as you might feel ready to start running or lifting again, you may not be cleared for takeoff until 6 weeks postpartum, so it’s always smart to check with your doctor.
All the fitness apps and programs in this article were either recommended by experts in the health and fitness industry or are highly rated by members. They also all meet the following criteria:
- contain programs specifically for postpartum fitness
- offer a welcoming, all-levels friendly community
- are compatible with iOS and Android or streamable from your computer
- have a wide variety of workout styles
A note on pricing
Most of these products offer monthly or yearly membership options, and most typically have a free trial or introductory offer. To view the most accurate price, click the link in each section to visit the brand’s homepage.
At the time of publishing, every membership in this article cost $30 or less a month to subscribe — not bad if you don’t have to step foot in a gym!
Obé’s mission is to “meet you where you are,” which is an encouraging message for those re-establishing a workout routine and feeling like they have a long road ahead. Actually, “encouraging” is a perfect word to describe Obé — their brightly colored videos and peppy coaches make you feel like you can make it through one last rep of any move.
Obé offers a variety of live and recorded classes, including in the postnatal space. There are workouts in almost every category: dance, HIIT, cardio kickboxing, Pilates, barre, yoga, and more. Some workouts require minimal equipment, while others are completely focused on bodyweight movements.
“Specifically, there are ‘Mommy and Me’ classes and 10-minute workouts that can be a lifesaver for new moms who only have so much time to dedicate to exercise in a day,” says Tress.
Peloton is no longer just for cycling — they’ve branched out to nearly every fitness category, including running, strength, toning, yoga and meditation, as well as postpartum classes for new moms.
“The classes are led by top instructors who keep you motivated even if you’re running on very little sleep,” says Tress. And no, you don’t need to invest in the stationary bike or treadmill to access the Peloton trainers and programs. There are over 10,000 on-demand classes and pre-programed workouts available in the Peloton app.
If you do have the Peloton bike or treadmill, you can watch classes on your machine with a monthly membership (which is considerably pricier than the app). Yes, the total Peloton package is expensive. But based on member reviews, if you enjoy cycling and running it’s worth every penny.
If yoga and meditation are more your speed, you might consider Glo, an app that’s centered around mind-and-body classes. “Yoga, Pilates, and meditation are effective at reducing stress, improving flexibility, and strengthening the core after having a baby,” says Tress.
New moms will appreciate that the classes are offered in a variety of lengths — from 5 to 90 minutes — and that they offer programs focused on specific postpartum needs, like stretching for breastfeeding and strengthening the pelvic floor.
One of the first names in streamable fitness, Daily Burn has been helping folks get their sweat on at home for years.
Their all-levels approach and giant library of at-home workouts make it easy to mix up your routine every day while staying at your own pace. Plus, a handful of the trainers are moms themselves and have pre- and postnatal training certificates to their names.
Although the app is available on Android and iOS devices, Daily Burn’s workouts are best streamed from the computer or TV as opposed to your smartphone so you can go big screen and feel like you’re right there in the studio.
P.Volve takes a personal approach by starting off with a brief quiz that touches on your fitness experience and interests. And while they offer options for just about every type of workout and fitness level, it’s nice that they have an entire section dedicated to pre- and postpartum fitness.
“This is a great low impact program because it focuses on light resistance strength training for the whole body,” says Chicago-based weight loss coach and corporate wellness trainer, Stephanie Mansour.
Workouts require a monthly membership, and you can purchase equipment (which is a pretty fun-looking ball and resistance band combo) if you choose. Streaming is compatible with a smartphone, computer, or tablet.
“TIU has a great catalog of post-pregnancy videos, as one of their co-founders filmed videos after her pregnancy,” says Mansour. “They focus on low impact exercises that help get back your pre-baby body and provide precise instructions.”
In addition to at-home workouts, TIU offers up nutrition plans and recipes, which can come in handy big time when you have your hands full with your little one. Folks also love the encouraging community that comes with being a Tone It Up member, and the fun, seasonal recipes and workouts that occur throughout the year.
If dance is one of your favorite ways to get your sweat on, Body by Simone might be best for you. The founder, Simone De La Rue, is a NASM-certified personal trainer and a pre- and postnatal specialist who danced her way through her pregnancy. (Her growing baby bump can be seen in many of the classes on the app and online!)
This app is also great if you have random exercise equipment lying around — resistance bands? Simone uses them! A small exercise trampoline? Dust that sucker off! Just be sure to have higher impact exercise cleared by your doctor before you get your bounce on.
Price note: This program is a one-time payment.
Diastasis recti, or a split in the abdominal wall, is a condition that affects up to 60 percent of women postpartum. “It occurs from excessive pressure on the linea alba (the tendon that holds the rectus abdominis together) during pregnancy,” explains Brooke Taylor, certified personal trainer, mom of two, and creator of Taylored Fitness.
The Diastasis Recti Rehab program (also referred to as the Tupler Technique) was created by Julie Tupler, registered nurse and childbirth educator, and provides a nonsurgical alternative to healing diastasis recti.
“It’s a step-by-step course that I personally incorporated after delivering my son,” says Taylor. “It teaches you how to reactivate the muscles of the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis to aid in healing the abdominal separation.”
Although this program is well respected, it’s worth noting that the website is pretty chaotic and outdated. It’s hard to tell what the service itself is on the page linked below, but it’s a bundle of tools to set you up on an 18-week program. (Think streaming courses, a guidebook, etc.)
Or, go 1:1
While these programs tailored to postpartum fitness are great, you can also go another route: seeking out a fitness trainer that either specializes in postpartum fitness or works with women during various stages of pregnancy.
“Most trainers are more than willing to create home workouts or do virtual training for a fee,” says Roger E. Adams, PhD, owner of eatrightfitness. “One of the best ways to find them is the American Council on Exercise’s find a trainer resource.”
Easing back into exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription, but there are plenty of fitness apps that offer a wide range of postpartum-friendly workouts to fit your needs.
However you decide to restart your workout routine, be patient with yourself and remember that recovery lengths vary from person to person.
Try to focus on doing workouts you enjoy — dance if you like dancing, flow if yoga is your jam — and don’t feel pressured to block out more time than your busy new-mom schedule allows.