Thanks to Jamie from Digital Alpha Agency for sharing this safe post pregnancy workout program. Read on for the benefits and to get started on the workout once you’ve been cleared by your primary healthcare provider and feel ready to do so! – Elly
Congrats! You’ve just given birth to your child! Have you started thinking about your post pregnancy workout program?
After 9 months of carrying and supplying sufficient nutrients for your child, you might look down and yearn to quickly shed the extra pounds from the entire pregnancy. And it is absolutely okay to feel this way!
Many new moms that I’ve journeyed with faced this period after giving birth too. You shouldn’t have to feel the need to rush into the sweat-breaking HIIT workout and go all-in to lose weight.
In this article, we’ll go through a simple but highly popular post-pregnancy workout program that you can try out! But let’s go through a little bit on what are the benefits of exercising postpartum and the contraindications of this workout.
(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)
What is A Post Pregnancy Workout?
A post pregnancy workout is fundamentally an exercise program that is planned and designed to cater to women who’ve recently given birth.
It is highly important that the program is not too strenuous because the body is still recuperating. Giving birth is extremely taxing and demanding on the body thus, the normal exercise regime that you used to be able to do easily is not going to work here.
The goals of a post pregnancy workout are mainly:
- To increase overall muscular strength and endurance
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Improve mood and prevent postpartum depression
- Boost cardiovascular health and stamina
- Lose weight and body fat
Benefits of Following a Post Pregnancy Workout plan
Let’s quickly run through what you should expect to gain from committing and following a post pregnancy workout program. The following benefits are stated by Pregnancy Birth & Baby by Health Direct and supported by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health Journal.
If you’re still on the fence on whether you should make concerted effort and exercise, this section is here to motivate you to say a resounding “yes!”
Lose Weight and Shed Excess body fat
As long as you have a balanced diet together with consistent workouts, you’ll start to see your belly get smaller.
Your physical activity levels had to be kept at the minimum during your pregnancy. Now that you’ve given birth, any safe and short post-natal fitness regime can help you to steadily lose the extra pounds.
Improve Energy and Stamina
Postpartum fatigue is common among new moms. The typical causes of this are not having sufficient sleep and having too many things to handle.
By doing a low-risk workout, you can feel energized mentally, emotionally, and physically.
May prevent or improve Postpartum Depression
Exercising will stimulate and increase the production of hormones that elevate your mood. These hormones are serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and other “happy hormones”.
Pairing good amounts of exercise with a diet packed with nutrients can help improve postpartum depression greatly.
Improves Sleep Quality
As mentioned above, inadequate sleep is one of the main causes of postpartum fatigue. Therefore it is pivotal to take measures and get enough sleep – good quality sleep.
Sleep is also needed in repairing and restoring your body especially after giving birth. And exercise is able to help you get a restful sleep every night.
[Be aware of ways to increase your chances of a restful sleep every night].
Strengthens Pelvic Floor
Being pregnant and in labor really takes a toll on one’s body. A lot of changes happened throughout your pregnancy and the process of giving birth. This means that there should be an intervention put into place to regain the strength and functionality of your body.
Your pelvic floor refers to both the muscles and ligaments that support your bladder, uterus, and bowel. This is usually stretched and weakened after birth, especially so for moms with bigger-sized babies or for those who pushed for an extended period.
Strengthens Abdominal Muscles
Being pregnant causes your abdominals to stretch to a great extent. This can cause the muscles to move apart from each other. This abdominal separation is known as “diastasis recti”.
These muscles commonly need an appropriate post natal exercise program in order to draw back together (or at least close enough to become a “functional” diastasis). By doing specific post-natal exercises and avoiding other ones, your diastasis can gradually heal. (You can also check out Elly’s post about choosing a postpartum corset to help with diastasis recti recovery).
An important section to read before embarking on any postpartum exercise plan – do not skip!
If you fall in any of the following contraindication categories, it is extremely important to get clearance from your doctor before trying out the postpartum fitness plan below. All women who have given birth, despite how straight forward it was, are recommended to get clearance from their doctor before starting a postpartum exercise plan. The following contraindications should be given extra attention and consideration:
- Didn’t exercise regularly before or during pregnancy
- Had an assisted birth
- Experienced complications in labor
- Had a caesarean section
When Can You Start Exercising after giving birth?
Women who had a normal vaginal birth delivery can start light exercise such as short walks, when they feel ready to do so. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is safe to start exercising after the baby is born and when you don’t feel unwell in any way.
[Note from Elly: Start your post natal fitness plan AFTER you have stopped bleeding. Some women may stop bleeding a few days after the birth and be ready to start light exercise such as walking. Others can bleed for up to six weeks. If you are still bleeding it’s an indication to let your body continue to heal before starting even very light exercise. If you start exercising (or even doing housework!) and then find your bleeding restarts or gets heavier then that is another indication that you’re doing too much. If this is the case, take a step back, rest, recover and heal. It’s not long to wait in the big scheme of things xx].
If you don’t feel ready yet, you don’t have to rush right into it. Give yourself time until you’re ready to start.
[Another note from Elly: 6 weeks postnatal is a timeframe that is often offered in terms of restarting exercise. In reality, everyone is different. You may be ready to start earlier, or it may be much later. Tasks like carrying your baby around, dealing with older children, and getting housework done may require you to start restrengthening your deep core muscles earlier than the 6 week mark. Or you may require a longer recovery before getting started with the basics.
Whether you’re starting in the weeks following the birth, or a lot later, you will need to start with a very gentle routine which is safely and gradually progressed. Don’t skip any steps just because you’re starting further down the post natal timeline! I sometimes see people starting a few months after the birth and skipping the gentle activities like core strengthening and walking. This is definitely not recommended. Start with the easiest exercise and make any increases very gradual].
The post pregnancy Workout
Post natal Cardio
- Start with 10 mins a day
- Progressively overload by adding 5 minutes more each week until 30 mins per day (about 4 weeks later)
- Maintain at 30 mins per day
Pelvic Floor Exercises/Kegel Exercises
- Gently lift pelvic floor muscles for 2-3 seconds
- Repeat 10 times each day
Learn more of the specifics on how to do your pelvic floor exercises here.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Gently lift your pelvic floor muscles
- Tilt hips slightly forward while drawing your belly button towards your spine. Hold for a few seconds and then release back to neutral
- Repeat 10 times
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Use your arms to balance yourself.
- Lift buttocks off the ground, squeeze them together and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Progress until 10 seconds slowly through the week
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
- Slowly slide one heel forward and then slide back to original position.
- Maintain a neutral position in the pelvis throughout
- Repeat 5 times per leg
- Lie on one side with your knees and hips bent. Place the hand on the floor underneath your head and the other on your hip that is pointing towards the ceiling
- Take in a deep breath and, as you exhale slowly, gently draw your abdominals towards your spine and lift your pelvic floor muscles
- At the same time, raise the knee on top as high as you can while your heels remain in contact with each other, then lower back slowly while you breathe in and relax the pelvic floor muscles
- Repeat 10 times for each side
You can use a resistance band once you’ve progressed to a stronger state.
Taking time out to exercise is just as important as resting or eating well after giving birth. It is important that you remain patient with yourself and your body in the process of recovery and regaining your strength and physique.
Perhaps your post-pregnancy body can become even fitter and healthier than what it was.
Would you try this workout? Share this with someone who is expecting or has just given birth!
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].