What is the best exercise after giving birth?


Bringing a new life into the world is a miraculous journey that transforms a woman both physically and emotionally. However, after the joy of childbirth comes the challenge of postpartum recovery. Among the myriad of questions new mothers face, one common query arises: What is the best exercise to do after giving birth? Let’s delve into this important topic and explore some safe and effective options for postpartum fitness.


When can I exercise after birth?


Before you consider any exercise after birth, be aware that every pregnancy and birth is unique, and so is the recovery period. The time it takes for you to return to exercise may be very different to the next person.

Please seek individual advice from your healthcare team before commencing any exercise.

In most cases, pelvic floor exercises can be started within the first day or two after your birth, depending on your individual experience and situation. Over the first 4-6 post birth, returning to gentle, short walks can also support your return to exercise.

At approximately 6 weeks post partum, you will likely have an appointment with your midwife, obstetrician or GP, to check on your recovery. At this appointment, you will often be given clearance to return to exercise. Once you have been cleared to return to exercise, the following types of exercise are great suggestions for the best exercise after giving birth.

What is the best exercise after birth?


As one of the simplest forms of exercise, walking is gentle yet effective in aiding postpartum recovery. It doesn’t require any special equipment and can be easily incorporated into daily routines. Start with short walks around your neighbourhood, gradually increasing the duration and intensity as your body heals. Not only does walking improve cardiovascular health, but it also helps alleviate stress and boosts mood—a much-needed benefit during the postpartum period.


Pelvic Floor Exercises

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is crucial after childbirth, both if you’ve had a vaginal delivery or c-section delivery. Pelvic floor exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of your pelvic floor. This can be tricky to learn to do correctly, so we highly recommend seeing a Women’s Health Physio for individual guidance. Pelvic floor exercises help to manage urinary incontinence, improve sexual function, and promote faster healing of perineal tears or episiotomies. 

Once you’ve been assessed by a Women’s Health Physio, they will guide you on how often to perform these exercises, and the sets and reps that are most suitable for you.


Postnatal Pilates

Pilates offers a gentle yet effective way to rebuild strength, flexibility, and mindfulness after childbirth. Postnatal Pilates classes are specifically designed to address the unique needs of new mothers, focusing on areas such as core strength, posture, and
recovery techniques. Additionally, Pilates can help alleviate common postpartum discomforts like back pain and tight muscles while promoting emotional well-being and stress relief.

Ensure the class is a suitable level for your stage of recovery, and meets your individual needs.


Low-Impact Cardio

Once you’ve received clearance from your healthcare provider at your 6 week check-up, incorporating low-impact cardio exercises such as swimming or stationary cycling can be a great place to start. These activities provide cardiovascular benefits without placing excessive strain on your recovering body. Remember to start slowly and listen to your bodies cues, gradually increasing the intensity and duration as your fitness level improves.


Strength Training with Bodyweight Exercises

Building strength is essential for postpartum recovery, particularly in areas like the core, back, and pelvic muscles. Bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, modified push-ups, and pelvic tilts can help strengthen these muscle groups without the need for heavy equipment. Begin with light resistance and focus on proper form to prevent injury and promote optimal recovery.

Attending strength classes with guidance of a Physiotherapist with an interest in postpartum recovery is an ideal setting to get the right support for your recovery.


Postpartum Exercise Classes

Joining postpartum exercise classes specifically tailored to new mothers can provide invaluable support and motivation on your fitness journey. These classes often incorporate a combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises designed to address postpartum needs while fostering a supportive community of fellow mothers.


Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, it’s essential to prioritise self-care and listen to your body throughout the postpartum period. Be patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and remember that every womans postpartum journey is unique.


Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen at your 6 week check-up appointment. Above all, embrace the opportunity to nurture your body and mind as you navigate the beautiful journey of motherhood.

Are you ready to return to exercise after giving birth?

Book in to see one of our Physios at Aspire to be fully assessed. We can provide a suitable exercise plan for you to recover after birth. You can book online here.