If you would ask most women when they can return to exercise after having a baby, most would respond after 6 weeks. This is because this is when most women have a follow up with their provider after giving birth and are “cleared for exercise.”


“Cleared for exercise…..”

I can start running again? 

I can go back to Crossfit? 

I can start lifting heavy again? 

I can do a sit up? 

I can go on a long walk? 

I can do yoga? 

I can go back to my boot camp classes? 

I can jump on a trampoline? 

I can continue to chase after my kids 24/7 while carrying my baby? 

I can do squats and lunges? 

I could go on and on…. See where the confusion comes in? 

You’ve grown a baby for 9 months, went through an extremely strenuous workout during labor and delivery and/or had an abdominal surgery. Now you’re raising a newborn, sleep deprived, breast feeding, probably not eating regular meals and running on fumes just functioning at home and taking care of your baby and yourself. Then, 6 weeks hit, and you’re good to just jump back into whatever workout you did previously, right? 

Maybe, but more likely than not, probably not yet. Your body has changed, you are deconditioned from whatever exercise you did prior to pregnancy or delivery,  and you essentially need to rehab your body to get ready to get back to whatever ‘normal activity’ is for you. 

Where do you start? Well, we’d really like to get women started BEFORE that 6 week mark hits. Actually… 

You can start exercising as soon as 1-2 days postpartum. SAY WHAT? 

Let me explain. 

I’m not suggesting you go try some pull ups, do zumba class or start jogging at 2 days postpartum. What I am suggesting is that it is safe and beneficial for you to begin some gentle exercises to begin to retrain the musculature that was so dramatically altered for the last 9 months while you grew a baby before that 6 week clearance. 

Here are some of our favorite early postpartum exercises: 

  1. Umbrella breathing 
  2. Ab draw ins – laying and 4 point IMG_2603 IMG_2599
  3. Cat cows 
  4. Happy baby IMG_2612
  5. Pelvic tilt 
  6. Glute bridges IMG_2606
  7. Kegels (not pictured) 

After delivery, you are rolling in and out of bed, leaning back and sitting up to breastfeed. This uses your abs. So let’s work on gently engaging that muscle group.

Obviously, you breathe non stop. So let’s work on that because your breathing is directly related to the engagement of your abs and pelvic floor. 

Your lumbar spine (low back) and pelvis support you with all movement AND are connected to both your abs and pelvic floor. So let’s start working on the control and coordination of those joints. 

You are bending over to pick up your baby and standing up and down all day long. Like non stop. So let’s use your glutes. 

My point is, you are doing a lot of physical activity after having a baby. The exercises above are way less taxing on the body than the act of giving birth and just living your life in the first few weeks postpartum. So, if you want to, it is safe to start some gentle exercises postpartum. In fact, for many women, it can help them feel better physically and emotionally as so much is out of their control during this time. 

I am not recommending just jumping back into whatever exercise you did pre pregnancy at 2 days postpartum, but I am advocating for light movement that can aid in the recovery process. We always want to respect healing and symptoms that may present during this time frame such as pain, pressure or leaking, or an increase in bleeding and respect the huge change you just went through physically and emotionally. If you want to learn more or figure out just how to start at any stage postpartum, please reach out to us and we would be more than happy to help.