How Soon After Birth Can You Start Working Out?

In this post I’m sharing how to begin working out after giving birth. I know you probably have a lot of questions about postpartum exercise. I’m hoping to answer those questions for you today. If you have additional questions about working out after giving birth, please email me at [email protected] 

Your Questions About Working Out After Giving Birth

Can you workout after giving birth?? And if so, WHEN?!

The short answer is, right away! But what you are probably envisioning is for sure not what I would recommend. 

If you search the internet, I promise that you would come up with a million different answers or recommendations. Some recommendations might be ok, others are full of incorrect information. Things like diastasis recti or prolapse… and what exercises are presumed to be safe after birth. These articles are usually by people who either have never had a baby or have not taken the time to learn how the female body works.

No matter how fit you were before pregnancy or during pregnancy, you absolutely still need to start again. Start with the basics postpartum. Introducing functional movements first will help to restore the strength and function of your entire body. It will allow you to return to the movements and exercises that you loved. 

How much you were able to back squat or deadlift does not hold any merit after you’ve carried and birthed a baby. Whether it was vaginally or via c-section.

Your vagina does not care about your PRs.

Your vagina needs and deserves the best care after giving birth. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

I have walked in your shoes. I have recovered from two pregnancies, which were very close together as my children are only 14 months apart! 

As a fitness coach who works with moms, having two kids so close together has allowed me to better understand and relate to so many mothers during this season of life. I help them balance working out and recovery with a growing and new family. Knowing how demanding motherhood is, should change the way programs and expectations are created for mothers. A one size fits all program is not appropriate for mothers, as each motherhood journey is different from woman to woman. Programming will change depending on the type of birth, postpartum symptoms, and even whether a mother chooses to breastfeed or not. 

Recovery is the number one priority and it often starts with a mental shift. We redefine expectations and bring focus to whole-body recovery. Then discover the fine line between only moving to lose weight and moving to heal the whole body after birth. For the mothers who are nursing, we focus a lot on appropriate nutrition and movement to maintain a healthy milk supply. Mothers recovering from different types of birth will have different movement modifications. And possibly different strength focuses while others may be learning to navigate prolapse or leaking postpartum. All these things have different considerations, focuses and absolutely need personalized attention. 

I know that it is hard to move slowly at first. I know that you want to find some resemblance of yourself before pregnancy but you cannot get there without recovering properly and that is exactly what I do as a coach. Recovery truly is a marathon, not a sprint. 

So, what does exercise look like immediately after birth? 

Breathing.

Yes. Breathing. 

I recommend during the early weeks after birth, while a woman is still bleeding, to only focus on breathwork, rest, stretching and very short walks. Breath, while it sounds simple, is the foundation of our healing. With each inhale and exhale we are gently relaxing our pelvic floor and contracting with an exhale. 

By focusing on intentional inhale and exhale it allows the muscles to move through their full range of motion. Just like during a back squat. It is important to maintain proper form and squat to depth to ensure that the muscles are getting the most from the movement and effectively building strength in the glutes and legs. 

As postpartum bleeding begins to subside and a routine is starting to develop with the baby, energy begins to increase. Women begin to feel a bit restless being in the house all day, this will naturally allow for the length of walks to increase some. Walking, a bilateral movement, helps to bring the hips back to their original position naturally to help avoid imbalances as the right and left side of the body coordinate together to move the body. 

At six weeks postpartum, you will see your doctor again and they will check your incision or any possible stitching from tearing. What they are checking for is to ensure that all possible injuries are fully healed. They may say at this time women are ready to return to exercise but that does not mean return immediately to the gym or old exercise routines.

This simply means it is time to find a postpartum program; one that is focused on functional work to restore the foundational strength of the core and pelvic floor. Doing this will help to avoid injuries that could cause things like the mommy pooch. I also highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist at six weeks postpartum as well. Even if there was no tearing or visual injury.

Finding a qualified coach can feel daunting!

This is why I took it upon myself to educate myself so that I could recover safely from my own pregnancies. Also, to be the absolute best coach to my clients that I can be.

To me, it is absolutely mind-blowing… that recovery from pregnancy is not given the same amount of attention as a shoulder or knee injury. Someone would never return to a previous exercise routine six weeks after an injury like that. They would spend weeks with a physical therapist to slowly build strength first. Just to ensure that the injury is completely healed. So why is it not the same for a woman who carried a baby in her body for months? And then had to go through the delivery!

Unlike a shoulder or knee injury where non-weight-bearing movement and rest are highly recommended to avoid additional injury. A mother who gave birth is also caring for a new baby all day, maybe nursing, possibly also chasing around other children and returning to work or full-time duties alone at home as early as days after giving birth. All while the body is still trying to heal from birth. The absolute last thing that a woman needs is to return to a high-intensity workout routine that is only focused on weight loss.

Motherhood is hard.

A new mother is learning how to take care of a new baby just after her body has gone through a marathon event of growing and carrying a baby in her body, then giving birth to the baby. This is massive! This will forever change her body. 

Women need to be acknowledged in this! How to work out safely and be empowered in their bodies. Instead of being told over and over again that the only focus is to lose weight. To ignore all signs of dysfunction “down there” like leaking or pain.

Women deserve better care after pregnancy and that is what I give the women that I work with.  

If you want to have my personalized guidance and support during this amazingly intense season of life let me be YOUR COACH!

With my experience and knowledge to design the perfect plan that will cater to the postpartum stage you’re in and Nutrition guidance that will help you shed the baby weight… even if you’re breastfeeding!

IF YOU WANT TO APPLY FOR MY PERSONALIZED COACHING PROGRAM, EMAIL: [email protected] WITH THE WORD ”COACHING”

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