When Is It Safe to Exercise After Birth?

Can you exercise after birth?

Yes, you can (with some strings attached). 

There are several benefits of exercise after delivery. Physical activity relieves postpartum stress, promotes quality sleep, and revives energy. It is equally advantageous for your weakened muscles.

Returning to an active routine allows your body and mind to feel its best. 

Now the question is, ‘when is it safe to exercise after delivery?’

Here is what our physical therapists recommend: 

Mothers Who Delivered Vaginally Can Start Right Away 

The  American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that women who experienced a normal pregnancy and had a vaginal delivery can ‘start exercising soon after the baby is born.’ Gentle pelvic floor exercises, aerobic exercises, and short walks are a good idea. 

As far as walking is concerned, aim for 30 minutes straight each day (or thrice a week). If you can’t manage that, you may go for shorter walks whenever you get time. 

After a few weeks, you can change your routine and adopt more exercises. The key is to pace your physical activities instead of overexerting yourself. Make sure to move gently as your abdominal muscles and vaginal muscles are still weak. Undue strain could lead to postpartum complications.

Exercising after birth
Exercising after birth

Do consult a professional physician or physical therapist if you feel too tired or exhausted immediately after your exercise. A physical therapist can also help you choose the right exercise program. Most effective choices include pelvic floor physical therapy for post-natal rehabilitation. 

Pro-tip: Turn exercise time into mommy and baby time by bringing your newborn along in a stroller/sling. 

Mothers Who Had a Cesarean Section or Traumatic Delivery Should Wait  

Cesarean and complicated deliveries leave behind scars that need time to heal.  

Studies observed that women who delivered via cesarean section have a higher chance of experiencing pain and discomfort after physical activity than those delivered vaginally. That is why you should wait a little longer to exercise after birth if you had a cesarean delivery or faced other complications during birth.

 The rule of thumb is to start exercising 8-10 weeks after delivery to ensure postpartum recovery. Start with gentle walks before moving onto other forms of exercising. 

Once again, it would be an excellent idea to approach a physical therapist. Opting for a personalized post-natal rehabilitation with pelvic floor physical therapy and manual therapy can be beneficial for you.  With our assistance, this transition will go more smoothly.

What Else Should You Know? 

Exercise after birth is not always easy. Every woman goes through a different experience. The best idea is to listen to your body and move accordingly. Otherwise, you may face health risks and unexpected consequences.

Your body will often give you warning signs to indicate something is wrong.

These include:

  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Severe abdominal and vaginal pain
  • Blurry vision 
  • Heavy bleeding 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Swelling 

We advise you to consult a doctor as soon as you experience these symptoms (or notice any other change). 

Parting Words 

In conclusion, exercise after pregnancy is tricky. It would help if you paved your way by consulting physicians and physical therapists to do what is best for your body. The outcomes of following a customized exercise plan will be highly rewarding. 

It improves your mental and physical wellbeing, so you have the stamina to care for your baby’s growing needs. 

Want to know more? Call us today @ 201-773-8851 or contact us HERE to schedule a consultation.