7 Postnatal Exercises For New Moms

Regaining your post-baby body after giving birth will take some time. Do yourself a favor and start off on the right foot. Here are some safe, smart exercises you can implement right away!

Having two kids in two years definitely put a strain on my body. Like a lot of moms, I wanted to start working toward my pre-baby shape as soon as I could. The trouble is, there's a lot of misinformation out there about how long a woman has to wait before she can start being active again. Some people say six weeks; others say three months.

I get asked all the time if there's anything a woman can do to start regaining her figure in the first few weeks after giving birth. The real answer is yes. For most women, it is safe and healthy to do some gentle exercise a few weeks after giving birth.*

However, the type of exercises you do in the first few weeks after your baby is born should be focused on your pelvic floor and transverse abdominus (TVA). Your pelvic floor is made of muscles and tissue under the pelvis. It's the part of your body that helped your baby rotate and come through the birth canal. The TVA is your innermost abdominal muscle. It's one of the muscles that helped you give birth.

The basics of pelvic-floor exercises and TVA breathing are a must. These techniques are a bridge to your normal exercise regimen. These exercises will also help you heal from the inside out, repairing those inner abdominal walls that are crucial to regaining your figure.

Aside from giving you a running start toward your pre-baby figure, exercising soon after giving birth offers other benefits. Exercise can boost your mood, help you feel more energized, increase your stamina and strength, and make you feel healthier and happier.

SAFE POST-BABY ABDOMINAL WORKOUTS

These exercises focus on restoring the timing and sequencing of your deep muscles, which include TVA, multifidus (small, thin muscles deep in your sacrum), the pelvic floor, and the diaphragm to flatten the tummy faster.

For first few days or weeks post-birth, you may not feel your pelvic floor muscles working, but keep going. The feeling will return after a few days.

For first few days or weeks post-birth, you may not feel your pelvic floor muscles working, but keep going. The feeling will return after a few days. Trust me, those muscles are working, even if you can't feel them.

Workout 1

To engage the TVA and pelvic floor, start by taking a breath in through your nose. Then, as your breathe out through pursed lips, "lift up" at your bottom, as if you were trying to stop yourself from passing wind. Next, as you're still tensed at the back, "pull up" at the front, as if trying to stop yourself from urinating. Keep the tension going, and gently draw your navel toward your back.


This is not a full sit-up or crunch. Simply lift your head from the floor a little, and focus on engaging the TVA.


Lie on your stomach and make sure your lower back and hips are in a stable position. Reach your arms forward and stretch your legs out. From this position, lift your arms and legs up 2-3 inches off the ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and release back down to the ground.


Lie on your back. There should be a small space between your lower back and the floor. Pull your belly button into your spine and lift your knees. From this position, lower one heel until it touches the ground, then pull it back up. Repeat with the alternate leg.
Workout 2

Get on your knees and hold the resistance band out in front of you. Put tension on the band by making sure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width. Slightly bend your elbows. Pinch your shoulder blades together until your forearms are perpendicular to your body. Release, then repeat. Focus on breathing out as you pull the band wide and engage your TVA and pelvic floor.

    • Bodyweight Squat Bodyweight Squat Squat
      1 sets of 10-15 reps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back and down until they reach knee level. Imagine that you are sitting down in chair. Keep your weight in your heels and your lower back flat. To return to the start, push through the heels and stand up. Exhale as you come back up. Keep your abs engaged.


Sit on a chair with a light exercise band just below your kneecaps. Maintain a tall upper body. Push your knees away from the midline of your body and bring them back. Stay controlled and move slowly. Keep your core engaged.

BEFORE STARTING

These exercises can be started straight away after a normal vaginal birth. Before starting, however, do a self-test for rectus diastasis to establish the extent of the abdominal separation. If you have a separation of more than 2.5 fingers, see a physiotherapist or your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

C-­section mothers can start TVA activation, abdominal breathing, and pelvic-floor exercises straight away, but will need to wait until they have gained approval from their doctor at their checkup approximately eight weeks postnatal before performing the other exercises.

*Always consult your physician before beginning a new exercise regimen.


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