During pregnancy our bodies undertake a massive change. After all we have to grow a human!

This change is not only physical but also hormonal and lasts for 9 months! At the end of this 9 months we then give birth. This whole cycle is incredible and shows what the female body is capable of.

After all of this, it is important to undergo a rehab process and getting back into activity and exercise after pregnancy is different for everybody.

Luckily, there are some general guidelines that it is important for everyone to know about and understand!

Check out our top tips below for returning to exercise safely after giving birth.

Return to exercise postnatal | Complete Physio

Exercise in the first 6 weeks after giving birth

For the first six weeks it is really important that you try to get some rest. Getting used to being a mum if this is your first baby, or looking after several children is an adjustment period which is not always smooth sailing.

In this period, it is really important to listen to your body and do what is necessary rather than lots.

You can gradually increase your walking and start your pelvic floor exercises. Please link this to the pelvic floor blog which I have sent in.

You can also do some gentle movements and stretches such as:

  • Side to side: lying on your back rolling your knees side to side with your breath
  • Hugging your knees to your chest
  • Pelvic tilts
  • Basic bridges
  • Bent knee openings
  • Seated rotation

These exercises will help bring blood flow to the area and promote healing. They will also help your pelvic floor activate, build awareness and increase the stability around your pelvis. The gentle stretches are also great to help maintain your posture when you are breastfeeding or bending down a lot to put your baby down.

6 week check postpartum Complete Physio

After your 6 week check

Not everyone will have a 6 week check up with their GP. However, you can always see a women’s health specialist.

This doesn’t have to be for multiple appointments but can simply help you understand how to work your pelvic floor and ensure you have the information you need to ensure a safe return to the activities you want to do.

From 6 weeks, you are safe to return to things like:

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Simple impact exercises such as mountain climbers and single jumps

There has been lots of research into when it is safe to return to running postpartum and overall we suggest that you give yourself 12 weeks before beginning a gradual return to running programme. At this point you can also start preparing for your HIIT classes.

It is really important to note that when you return to activity you should seek advice if you experience:

All of these problems can be helped with appropriate physiotherapy and most importantly, you do not have to live with these as though they are normal.

Symptoms such as urinary incontinence or prolapses can develop over time and generally start as you put more load and work through your body.

Although some people can notice them straight away when beginning exercise, it doesn’t mean you are doing harm. However, it does mean you are likely to need more support and guidance with returning to exercise.

Most importantly, you know your body better than anyone so if you are not sure about any symptoms you may be experiencing when returning to exercise, book in to see a pelvic health physiotherapist who can guide you with your return to exercise.

Return to running postpartum

For those of you who want to get back into HIIT training or running, a specific walk / run programme is a great way to start.

Starting slowly and building up your activity, following guidance such as our couch to 5K is a great way of including gradual impact training as well as running.

There are lots of resources you can look at including the return to running guidelines by Tom Goom, Grainne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell. However, if you feel like you need more guidance, all you need to do is ask as we are always here to help.

Weight lifting postpartum | Complete Physio

Can you lift weights after having a baby?

In short the answer is yes.

You can lift weights after having a baby, but it’s not something we would advise to start straightaway.

Obviously, you will need to lift and move your baby, as well as day-to-day objects such as your buggy or your car seat and that is ok.

The important things to remember are:

  • Bend your knees
  • Keep the object or your baby close to your body
  • Cots with slide down sides can help
  • Keep breathing as you most
  • Contract your pelvic floor if you know you leak.

With weight-lifting, or gym based weights in particular, in general we recommend to start off slowly from around 6 weeks.

This is often the time we begin to do more, any bleeding you have had has stopped and hopefully you are feeling more connected with your body as you have allowed for healing time.

However, remember that not one size fits all.

Everybody is different and some people may be able to return to these types of activities sooner than others.

You don’t have to see a woman’s health physio before you return to exercise, but it’s something most professionals would recommend. Even with one appointment, there is a lot these specialists can do to help and support you to ensure that you are looking after your body in the right way. They can also help with maximum recovery so that you can happily achieve the same exercise levels you were prior to your pregnancy.

Most importantly, it is important to remember that exercise has multiple health benefits so getting back to activity is always a positive. Listen to your body and if you are experiencing any symptoms or pain, please do seek help or guidance.

Don’t let pain hold you back, book now!

Book a consultation with us