3 Issues for Postpartum Exercisers


3 Issues for Postpartum Exercisers

For the past many years, many research and studies have clearly shown the major benefits that are commonly involved with physical activities during and after pregnancy for both baby and mother. No doubt, pregnancy triggers many physically related changes in the body of the women, both in terms of gaining weight and water retention.

After the delivery, various women have huge difficulty in returning to their pre-pregnancy weight, and these are within the average weight retention belonging to around 0.5 to 3.8 kg. Also, around 20-40% of women end up being 5 kg heavier in the 6 to 8 months after delivery.

Postpartum weight retention is commonly associated with lack of any kind of physical activities, poor nutrition, and in certain cases the excessive weight that comes from the pregnancy period. These issues as time pass like physical inactivity, weight retention, lack of proper nutrition lead to many types of chronic health issues like obesity.

Challenges Involved in Postpartum Exercises

Not many people are aware that the postpartum period is one of the most critical transition times for coming back to a physically active lifestyle, balanced diet, and a gradual shedding of extra weight can be challenging. Now for certain women, the challenges involved in motherhood would manifest themselves into all kinds of physical and mental symptoms.

Fatigue, frequently compounded by sleep disturbance, is common and these would be present in nearly two-thirds of women 12 months after delivery. Besides that, the lack of vigour associated with fatigue, new-born sleep and feeding schedules and the strain of balancing other family duties and work schedules are overwhelming. Also, they would negatively affect the new mom’s desire to exercise consistently. At times in certain women, such factors lead to significant levels of depression.

Guidelines to Follow in Postnatal Exercising

As per various studies, the kind of pregnancy and delivery that you had are the major factors for deciding the beginning date of your fitness. Generally, if you had healthy pregnancy and delivery, then you can begin working out as soon as you are feeling ready. However for some women, this can be as soon as a week after they give birth. Of course, it is quite normal if you want a longer time.

Some women would have caesarean delivery and other complications like severe vaginal tears, diastasis recti, etc. In such a case, they would have to work with their doctors to find out the timeline for when it is safe to start exercising again.

Generally, you must wait for many weeks to return to your exercise program. Hence, just enjoy a guilt-free rest and make a huge recovery. Most importantly, relax as much as you can with the new-born. Most importantly, when you are heading back to the gym and even hitting the trails for the walk, try to remain active by engaging in low-impact-based aerobic exercises for around 20 to 30 minutes each day. You can even add around some ten minutes of postpartum exercises that assist in strengthening your abdominal muscles and even other major muscle groups like your glutes, legs, and back.

Sometimes the 20 minutes can be too much, so you must scale back to around 10 to 20 minutes two times a day. That means you can opt for a 15-minute walk in the morning and that can be followed by 10 minutes of gentle yoga and abdominal strength-related exercise at night. Slowly, you can add intensity and time as soon as you get stronger and when your body feels better.

Why Post-pregnancy Exercise Good?

Keep in mind that exercise at any point in your life is the best means for improving your mood and even strengthening and toning your muscles. Also, they increase the whole health. However, during the postpartum period, fitness can lead to –

  • Boosting your energy
  • Strengthening and toning abdominal muscles that are stretched in the pregnancy period.
  • Promoting a better sleep
  • Relieving stress
  • Help to lose any kind of extra weight that was gained

What Is General Exercise Related Safety Suggestions?

Make sure to follow the suggestions provided by your doctor and the midwife. Some other suggestions are wearing a proper bra that provides good support. Never depend on the pre-pregnancy sports bra as your back and cup size are bound to change. Try to get measured for the new one.

Also, the exercise you are doing must not hurt you. Hence, if you are going through any kind of pain or other symptoms, stop doing the exercise. Make sure to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Creating Good Amount of Time for Postnatal Exercise

Of course, it can be challenging to create time for any kind of physical activity when you are caring for a new-born baby. On certain days you would be fully tired of any kind of workout. However, that won’t mean that you need to put your physical activity on the back burner. Try to do the best you can.

One major way is to seek the support of your partner, friends, and even family members. It would be great if you could exercise with your friends to remain motivated. At times, waking is the best way to get into your necessary shape. Here all you would be needing is a good pair of comfortable shoes. The best part is that this activity is free, and you can do them at any place and time. You can even take your baby with you too.

You can even include your baby by making him or her lie next to you on the floor while doing abdominal exercise. Try to do exercise for ten minutes. 150 minutes of exercise each week is a lot of time however, you won’t need to do it all at once. Try to spread out your activities during the week, however, you can break them into smaller chunks of time during the whole day.

Also, it is not good to be hard on yourself if your exercise plans go awry. Try to do your best and keep in mind that you get more time to yourself as soon as your baby settles into the necessary routine.

You can do the pelvic floor and tummy exercise when you are doing other major tasks, either by standing or sitting. Here you do have to keep in mind that you need to exercise whenever you are doing certain activities like driving the car or breastfeeding. You can even walk your baby in the pram rather than just using the car for shorter trips.

Good Postpartum Exercises You Can Do

The major goal in the postpartum period is to move your body and do movements that can make you feel good. Also, the most important thing in the postpartum period is to get back your core strength. Here you should try to focus on the diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, etc. Sometimes light cardio would be best for rebuilding your core strength.

Also, you could try some of the major exercises like cat-cow in tabletop, Swiss bird dog holds, Swiss ball glute bridge, postpartum planks, side plank leg lifts, etc.

Pelvic Floor Exercises or Kegels

In case you have followed the instructions given by your doctor during the pregnancy, there is a high chance that your body would know how to do a Kegel. Such exercise when done in a continuous way in the postpartum period would strengthen the pelvic floor muscle. When you tighten your pelvic floor muscles, it would stop the unnecessary flow of urine.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Deep breathing or diaphragmatic is one of the best exercises you can start doing within the first few days of giving birth. You need to take some minutes each day to focus on your breath. This can help you to relax and reduce stress. Most importantly, it would improve the core stability and even slow the breathing rate. You have the option to do this breathing exercise while lying down or seated.

To do this exercise, lie flat on the floor on the yoga mat. Then you need to relax the body and try to focus on releasing the tensions present on your toes and the ones that move to the top of your head. After that, you can place a hand on your chest and another one on your stomach.

Then take a deep breath from your nose. That would expand your stomach, but your chest needs to be in the still mode. Continue breathing for around 2 to 3 seconds. After that, you should exhale in a slow manner while keeping one on the chest and one on the stomach. Try repeating this procedure for around two to four minutes.


Well, the first few months after your delivery is the best time to test-drive that new jogging stroller your BFF would have given to you. Just imagine, walking, while pushing the new-born, can provide your body the best workout, even if you are able to find a route with some hills.

Slowly, as you get stronger, try stopping every 10 to 15 minutes and do a few bodyweight squats. If the weather is nice, take your baby out of the stroller and hold them in front of you while squatting. The extra resistance will really give your backside a boost, and your little one will love the face-to-face time.

Swiss Ball Bird Dog Hold

This is a great exercise that helps in posture, stability and lowers back pain. These are very much common as soon as you give birth. Most importantly, you would need a stability and exercise ball to do this move. First, you should lay down on the top of the ball, and make sure that your torso covers the ball. Now your body would be in a straight line and your palms would be flat on the floor and toes that touch the ground. As you are looking down on the floor, try to lift and reach your left foot and arm at the same time. Try to hold on to this position for around 1 to 3 seconds.

Then you must return to the starting position and change sides. Go for alternative sides for around twenty total repetitions.

Cat-Cow in Tabletop

Well, one thing you must keep in mind is that the cat-cow stretch is a beginner yoga move that helps to support your back muscles and strengthen the core, and promotion of mobility of the spine. You can add this move to your postpartum workouts that lead to reducing your back pain, promoting relaxation, and improving circulation.

For doing this exercise, you need to get on the floor on all fours. Now keep your back flat, the spine in a neutral way, and look down to the floor. Here the wrists would be just directly under your shoulders and the knees would be under the hips. After that, you need to inhale and take a deep breath.

As soon as you exhale, try to round the spine towards the ceiling. Make sure that your tailbone and head are moving closer to each other. Just try to hold on to this position for around one to two seconds. After that inhale and try to arch your back, and then in a slow way lift your tailbone and head to the sky as soon as you relax the belly to the floor and move to the cow position. Continue doing this for around 60 seconds.

Going Back to All Kinds of Physical Activity

After delivery, women are encouraged to increase their physical activity in a slow manner. As the delivery course would vary and sometimes physiological changes of pregnancy would be present for around 4 to 7 weeks, the whole procedure should be individualized.

Normally, moms experiencing an uncomplicated delivery will receive a green light to exercise at 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, whereas those healing from a caesarean delivery may need additional time. Women who consistently exercised before pregnancy and remained physically active throughout pregnancy often can return to their pre-pregnancy routines faster as soon as they get the medical clearance. Those who were inactive previously and those who adopted a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy will need to start and progress more gradually.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.