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9 Top Tips for Post Birth Exercise

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or the sight of a treadmill makes you weak at the 

knees, we all need to know what type of exercise is suitable for us post birth. 

 

As someone who has seen many women postnatally, this isn’t a one rule fits all 

kinda gig… but there are 9 top tips that we can follow to help you know your 

limitations when you start exercising after having your baby. 

 

 

1 – Give your abdominals time

As your uterus grows, your rectus abdominus is stretched to accommodate the 

growing baby. This results, once baby is delivered in what many women refer to as 

‘a pouch’. Don’t worry… this doesn’t last but doing exercises, especially crunches 

too soon after having a baby can result in the linea alba (the connective tissue 

between your fascia) not pulling back together. Take it steady and refrain from any 

abdominal work until baby is at least 12 weeks old. 

 

2 – The 12-week rule 

“They cut through my abdominal muscles...” 

Nope, in the vast majority of cases they didn’t! If you have had a caesarean section, 

the doctors are very unlikely to cut through your abdominal muscles. However, they 

did cut through your skin and fascia which is a thin layer of connective tissue that 

surrounds all organs. This takes time to heal. If you’ve had a c-section then 

exercising before 12 weeks post birth isn’t advised. Your body has had major 

surgery and it needs time to heal. 

 

3 - Pelvic Floor… it’s never too early 

It doesn’t matter what delivery you have had… the pelvic floor is a muscle that can 

be worked straight after delivery. Great news is you can do these exercises 

wherever and whenever you feel the urge… no yoga mat needed. There are a whole 

spectrum of visualisations and resources online to help with pelvic floor. I personally 

like to start with these basic steps – 

 

1. Squeeze and think about drawing in through your anus- as if you’re holding 

in wind, try to keep your glutes (your bum muscles) relaxed while you do it. 

2. Once you’ve mastered that squeeze around your vagina and bladder, as if 

you’re stopping the flow of urine or squeezing during intercourse. 

3. Hold the squeeze for a few breaths, keep breathing as normal.You can build this exercise up but refrain from holding for more than 10 seconds. 

You can also try short squeezes while breathing normally. 

 

4 – Can you sing? 

Everyone feels differently regarding doing cardiovascular exercise… listen to your 

body. Short walks with a pushchair or sling might be enough for you. If you do want 

to do more, make sure you’re monitoring your heart rate… can you talk without 

being able to sing? Keep exercise low impact to avoid over stretching joints. See over stretching below. 

 

5 – Don’t over stretch 

During pregnancy we have a huge surge of a hormone called relaxin, this hormone 

helps to relax the ligaments in the pelvis and soften and widens the pelvis. It hangs 

around post birth too, those women who breastfeed can still be producing the 

hormone up to 12 months after they’ve finished feeding. Stretching gently is ok but 

you don’t want to feel the end of your natural range of movement, avoid pushing to 

where your muscles start to shake. 

 

6 – Smell the fresh air 

Boosts energy. Promotes sleep. Increases oxytocin hormones. Helps prevent 

postpartum depression. Relieves stress… and much more. Really, do I need to write 

more? If you can get outside to walk, breathe the fresh air for 10 minutes every day, 

it can boost your endorphins. 

 

7 - Mobilise your spine daily 

A simple pelvic tilt can activate your core and mobilise your lumbar spine. Simply 

lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet grounded. Tilt your pelvis down to the 

floor and draw your belly button down. Hold for 3 seconds. You can repeat this as 

many times as you like, remember to wait until post 12 weeks after a c-section for 

this exercise and if it hurts, stop.

 

8 – Breathe using your diaphragm 

Yes Breathing… don’t we do that all day every day? We do but diaphragmic 

breathing helps to activate your core muscles. You can do this either by lying down 

or sitting up. Start by taking a deep breath and expand your stomach as much as 

you can. Try your best not to lift your shoulders…breathe into your stomach. After 

you inhale, hold the breath for a 3 count, and then exhale slowly and release all the 

air from your lungs. This technique may feel slightly alien at first but the more you 

practice the more it becomes second nature. 

 

9 – You know your own body best… if something hurts then stop! 

If you push too hard to start with then you run the risk of causing irreversible 

damage to your body. Your body (which is amazing by the way) has taken 9 months 

to create another human being, give yourself time and a steady programme to 

follow. 

 

If in doubt consult, a local postnatal specialist who can assist you with your exercise needs.

 

Wrote By Rose Gibson

BabyBeats Director

 

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