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Postpartum Exercise: When Can You Workout After Giving Birth?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

Postpartum Exercise: When Can You Workout After Giving Birth?

You’ve finally given birth and can now hold your precious bundle of joy in your arms. But, the journey is far from over. With your body adjusting to the absence of the baby in the womb, physical and mental health recovery, and shifting hormones, working out may be the last of your priorities. But, according to experts, postpartum exercise is a crucial part of recovery. How soon can you exercise and what types of exercises suit your yet again changing body? Find out here. 

Why Postpartum Exercise Is Important

There are many benefits to working out after giving birth. For one, it can help you lose weight, particularly when combined with a balanced diet. It also supports your heart health, bones, and muscles (especially your abdominal muscle), and boosts your energy levels. 

Besides these, exercising can also help improve sleep, keep your stress at a manageable level, and reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression. 

How Soon Can You Start?

How soon can you start with postpartum exercise? Reports say it depends on the type of delivery you had and how well you’re recovering. 

If you’ve had a normal, uncomplicated vaginal birth, you may start in a couple of days. But, if you’ve had C-section or your vaginal birth developed complications, your doctor’s advice is necessary. 

To be absolutely sure, discuss postpartum exercise with your doctor. 

In most cases, the goal is to have 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread throughout the week. That means you can exercise for 30 minutes daily for 5 days or choose to have three 10-minute sessions daily. 

What Types of Exercise are Safe?

While you focus on aerobic exercises, don’t forget strength training, too. It’s best to do them twice weekly. Aerobic activities are those that move your large muscles in a rhythmic approach. Strength training, which incorporates resistance to build strength, is commonly connected to lifting weights. 

The idea is to ease into more intensive workouts. Initially, you can focus on light stretching and walking. Afterward, particularly when you’re healed, you may start on abdominal workouts and pelvic exercises

Please ask your doctor more about the abdominal and pelvic exercises suitable for you at the moment. You see, pregnancy splits your abdominal muscles down the middle. Before any vigorous tummy workout, you must first make sure that your muscles have already healed. 

The following are safe postpartum exercise types, because they are generally gentle and do not often involve rapid changes in position:

  • Brisk walking 
  • Water exercises and swimming 
  • Pilates
  • Yoga 
  • Cycling
  • Light weight training

Despite this list, please remember that the best exercise for you is those recommended by your doctor. 

Guidelines for Postpartum Exercise

Regardless of the type of workouts your doctor recommends, the following reminders would be helpful:

  • Warm up and cool down exercises are a part of your session. Don’t neglect to do them. 
  • Start light and gradually increase your pace. For instance, if you’re keen on cycling, start slowly before assuming your preferred pace. If you become breathless, slow down. 
  • Don’t forget to hydrate. 
  • Wear comfortable clothes, a supportive bra, and nursing pads if you’re breastfeeding. 
  • No matter how gentle the exercise is, if you feel pain, stop exercising. 

Key Takeaways

Postpartum exercise may be the least of your worries after giving birth, but according to experts, it is crucial not just for your recovery, but also for your overall health. 
Doctors say you can start slowly within a couple of days after delivery, provided that you had an uncomplicated vaginal birth. Women who had a C-section or more complicated delivery MUST talk to their doctor about postpartum exercise. 
At the end of the day, each woman is different, so if you don’t feel particularly ready to work out, you don’t have to.

Learn more about Postpartum Here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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