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When is it safe to return to exercise after having a baby?

I really enjoy getting this question because it is something that needs to be considered to ensure you are returning to exercise safely after you have had a baby and if you are asking the question you are clearly thinking about it. As a bare minimum you should wait until 6 weeks after a vaginal birth or 12 weeks after Caesarean section to return to exercise that is more than postnatal rehabilitation.

However, once you hit 6/ 12 weeks postnatal it doesn’t mean it is safe for you to go straight back into advanced exercise. There are other things to consider.

Firstly, your pelvic floor. You have had the weight of a baby, placenta and all the fluid that goes with it sat on top of it for 9 months plus a lot of you may also have passed a baby through those muscles. That’s a big job they have done. Do you know how to switch on the muscles in your pelvic floor to protect them? And do you know how to incorporate that into exercise?

Also you need to consider your stomach. Your stomach muscles have been stretched around your baby and there has been much tension put on the soft tissue in between the muscles that run down the front of your stomach. It is really important to consider this before you return to exercise for it to be safe. Have the muscles down the front of your stomach separated? Do you even know how to test for it? And then do you know what you need to do while you are exercising to ensure you heal separation or avoid it?

The above is all that you need to consider and learn during your postnatal rehabilitation. This is the difference between you going into exercise and causing yourself more damage and going into exercise and building a strong core that will support you for the rest of your life.

With this in mind I would always suggest you start this postnatal rehabilitation as soon after birth as you are pain free, comfortable and feel like you have the energy to do it. In my opinion it is ok to start exercise at a low level whilst you are learning and practicing the postnatal rehabilitation and the build up the levels as you become confident you are protecting your pelvic floor and abdomen. But ideally you would be a minimum of 6/12 weeks postnatal and have worked through postnatal rehabilitation before you commence exercise classes.

In my membership you have access to all you need to rehabilitate your body after having a baby. So you are able to join and get going with this straight away. Then when you are ready you can join in with the classes online live or as playbacks as part of the membership.

If this has led to any unanswered questions please do message me and ask away.

You can take a look at my membership here

Karen Ellis - Postnatal Rehabilitation Coach (


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