Postpartum Workout: Better Exercises After Pregnancy

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Louise Hay

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Pregnancy and childbirth are very intense periods, not only from a psychoemotional point of view but also from a physical point of view. After the baby is born, the woman's body needs a period of rest and adjustment to recover. When the clinical conditions allow it and the new mother feels the need, however, it is possible to start playing sports again. The timing varies from case to case and only the doctor and the woman can determine when the right time comes to resume training. In any case, it is good to follow one specific post-partum workout, which gives benefits without exposing to risks

Better to start gradually

There is no ideal time to start the postpartum workout. All it depends on the type of pregnancy and delivery that the woman has had, from her psychophysical conditions and her degree of training. In general, those who have had a healthy pregnancy and birth can start exercising when they feel ready. For some women, this may occur in the first few weeks after the baby is born, while for others it may take months. New mothers who have had a cesarean delivery or complications such as rectal diastasis or severe vaginal lacerations will need to discuss with their doctor when it is safe to resume exercise.

In all cases, however, it is important not to strain. Start gradually, engaging in low-impact aerobic activities for 20-30 minutes a day, such as walking and yoga. If 20 minutes is too long, do 10-15 minute sessions twice a day. Match also simple postpartum exercises which help strengthen the muscles. As you get stronger and your body feels better, increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. 

The benefits of the postpartum workout

Exercise is always beneficial, at any age and in almost any condition. However, during postpartum it is even more so, because:

  • strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles who have been severely tested during pregnancy;
  • increases energy;
  • promotes better sleep;
  • relieves stress;
  • helps to lose weight.


According to some studies, light to moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking) during the postpartum period also has the ability to improve depressive symptoms mild to moderate.

The most suitable exercises

The main goal of the postpartum workout is to increase a woman's well-being. That said, there are a few esercizi particularly suitable: those that they work on the diaphragm, transverse abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and back. Cardio training is also fine, as long as you don't overdo it and as long as you combine it with these movements that work on particularly sensitive areas in women who have just given birth.  

Kegel exercises for the perineum

Pregnancy and childbirth place a lot of stress on the perineum and pelvic floor. For this reason, it is also important to include Kegel exercises in the postpartum workout they reinforce these areas in a specific way. Here's how to do them. 

  • Empty your bladder completely. 
  • Contract the pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds. 
  • Then slowly release them for the same amount of time. 
  • Do not move your legs, glutes or abdominal muscles during Kegel gymnastics. 
  • Repeat the series 10 times 2-3 times throughout the day.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is an exercise that can be started within the first few days of giving birth. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing can help relax and reduce stress, Besides improve core stability and slow respiratory rate.

  • Sit or lie down on a yoga mat.
  • Relax your body, focusing on releasing tension, from the toes to the top of the head.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath through the nose to expand the stomach. The chest should remain relatively firm.
  • Breathe in for 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Breathe out slowly, always keeping one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
  • Repeat several times for 2-3 minutes.

Stretches on the ball

This exercise improves stability and posture and reduces low back pain, which is very common after childbirth. To do this, you need an exercise ball.

  • Lie on top of the ball with your torso, so that your body forms a straight line, with your palms on the floor and your toes touching the ground.
  • Looking down, lift the left leg (with the hammer foot) and, at the same time, the right arm.
  • Hold the position for 1 to 2 seconds without arching your back. 
  • Return to the starting position and switch sides.
  • Do 20 total reps.

Position of the cat

The Cat Pose is a beginner yoga move that helps support the back muscles, strengthens the core, and promotes mobility of the spine. Including this move in your postpartum workout can help reduce back pain, promote relaxation and improve circulation.

  • Get on all fours, with a flat back, neutral spine and downward gaze. The wrists will be directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
  • Inhale and take a deep breath. Then, exhale and push the spine towards the ceiling, bringing the head towards the chest and forming a hump. Maintain the position for 1 or 2 seconds.
  • Then inhale and do the opposite movement: arch your back and lift your tailbone and head towards the sky, pushing your belly towards the floor.
  • Repeat ten times.

Postpartum plank

The plank is an excellent full-body exercise, which trains the core, upper body muscles, and glutes. New mothers can perform a standard plank within the first few weeks of giving birth, as long as they have had an uncomplicated vaginal birth. Alternatively, for the first time you can perform the exercise with the knees supported

  • Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders. The feet are flexed with the toes on the floor.
  • Activate your glutes and core and rise on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor. The body should be a few inches from the floor in a straight line.
  • Contract the deep abdominal muscles, bring the navel to the spine and tighten the buttocks and upper body.
  • Breathe normally and hold the position for 30 seconds. As you get stronger, increase the waiting time.
  • Repeat 1 or 2 times. 
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