Things have changed since the “strict no exercise for 6-8 weeks” rule- just like things have changed with exercise and pregnancy. At one time postpartum exercises did not exist, and pregnant ladies were even told to not lift their arms above their heads for fear of tangling the babies’ umbilical cord! Umbilical cords tangle because of fetal movement – NOT maternal movement.
With each individual pregnancy, every woman will have her own, experience, and her recovery rate will depend on factors related to her health and any complications that may have occurred during delivery.
It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting any fitness program post-baby to make sure your body is ready for exercise. If you had any incisions, and they’re healed, if you feel ready to get moving keep in mind that you need to listen to your body. Start slowly with gentle progression of exercise intensity and duration.
If you had a vaginal delivery, and feel great after a week, or whenever you feel up to it, you can start off by trying some of these gentle exercises and go from there- especially if you were active during your pregnancy.
Just keep in mind rest is also very important for your body to recover. It’s been through a TON so be mindful of that while you’re healing. I also wore a medical grade postpartum girdle while doing these exercises (not to be confused with a waist shaper or waist trainer).
Here are some signs you may be over-doing it, and should stop exercises-
- If your bleeding had slowed down already and gets heavier again, it means you need more time to heal.
- You feel discomfort or pain
- You feel dizzy or weak
Here are 7 Gentle postpartum exercises you can do to strengthen your core, pelvic floor and back, which is very important after giving birth. I started doing these exercises one week after giving birth.
Stand facing a wall from several feet away. Stagger your stance, placing one foot forward. Lean forward and rest your hands on the wall, keep your heel, hip and head in a straight line. Heel stays on the ground. Hold for 10-20 seconds and then switch sides.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly- pull your belly button in towards your back. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for ten seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Keep your back against the floor and pull your belly button in towards your back. If this is too difficult try 5 seconds hold with 5 seconds rest.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slide one leg down until it’s laying straight on the floor. Slide back up to start. Repeat with other leg. Keep your back flat against the ground, no arching.
SUPINE REVERSE PELVIC MARCHING
Lie on your back on the floor in a bent-knee position with feet placed firmly on the floor, arms outstretched to your sides. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulders back and down without arching your spine. Exhale, deepen the abdominals and slowly lift one foot off the floor. Keep the knee bent at 90-degrees. DO NOT straighten the knee. Continue moving until the thigh reaches or comes close to a position where it aligns vertically to the floor. DO NOT go beyond this position. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds. With control, slowly return your leg to the floor.
Come to a hands and knees position on an exercise mat positioning your knees underneath your hips and the wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your core and abdominal muscles. Imagine you are tightening a corset around your waistline. Avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips. Slowly lengthen the left leg until its straight out. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. The leg should not be lifted above hip height. Slowly raise and straighten right arm. Attempt to raise the arm until it is at, or near parallel, to the floor. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Your head is an extension of your spine and should remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement. Do not lift the head or let it sag downward. Gently lower yourself back to your starting position, maintaining balance and stability in the shoulders, pelvis and torso.
Come to a hands and knees position on the floor positioning your knees underneath your hips and your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Tighten your core and abdominal muscles. Avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips. Gently exhale. Tuck your tail under and use your abdominal muscles to push your spine upwards towards the ceiling, making the shape of an angry cat. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Lengthen your neck and allow your head to reach toward your chest, maintaining alignment with the spine. Using the abdominal and low back muscles, tip your tail toward the ceiling, increasing the arch in your mid and low back. Allow the abdomen to stretch toward the floor. Pull your shoulder blades down your back. Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to your starting position.
Once you are ready to resume regular exercise, ease your way in, starting at small amounts, and small amounts of weight.
I have a 12 week Body Transformation Fitness and Nutrition Guide that I personally have done post-partum which can be found here-
Below is a page with all of the exercises for you to save or Pin!