Bringing a new life into this world is a beautiful and transformative experience. However, the postpartum period can be a challenging time for many parents, as they navigate the physical and emotional changes that come with childbirth. One aspect of postpartum recovery that often gets overlooked is postpartum exercise.

Engaging in safe and effective activity after giving birth can offer numerous benefits for both the body and the mind. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of postpartum movement and provide valuable insights into safe and effective ways for new parents to get back into their fitness routines.

Understanding the Postpartum Period

The postpartum period, also known as the postnatal period, typically refers to the first six weeks after childbirth. However, it can extend up to a year or more as the body undergoes significant changes post pregnancy, birth, and post chestfeeding.

Did you know it can take up to 18 months after you stop breastfeeding for your hormones to equal pre-pregnancy levels? During postpartum, people experience a variety of physical and emotional challenges.

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a baby being cradled with a parent's hand on their head with a very light pink background with peach water color circles and gold glitter accents

These may include hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, and the recovery of muscles and tissues that have been stretched and strained during pregnancy and labor.

Why Postpartum Movement Matters

Engaging in postpartum exercise is essential for several reasons:

Physical Recovery:

After childbirth, a person’s body needs time to heal and regain its strength. Postpartum movement can aid in this process by promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, and helping to restore core and pelvic floor muscles.

Emotional Wellbeing:

The postpartum period can be emotionally challenging, with many people experiencing feelings of sadness, anxiety, or even depression. Regular movement doing something you enjoy releases endorphins, which can boost mood and reduce stress.

Increased Energy Levels:

Caring for a newborn is physically demanding. Engaging in postpartum exercise can help boost energy levels, making it easier to meet the demands of new parenthood.

Social Support:

Participating in postpartum classes or activities can provide new parents with a sense of community and support. It’s an opportunity to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges.

Safe and Effective Postpartum Exercise

When it comes to postpartum movement and exercise, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and effectiveness. Every person’s postpartum experience is unique, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new routine.

Here are some safe and effective ways for new parents to get moving after birth:

Walking:  One of the most accessible and gentle forms of postpartum exercise is walking. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity. Walking not only helps to rebuild cardiovascular fitness but also provides a mood boost and fresh air.

Pelvic Floor Exercises:  Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, are vital for postpartum recovery. They help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels.

These exercises can be done discreetly throughout the day. Consulting a pelvic floor therapist is a great way to understand your bodies needs. We love BodyMotion PT and B3PT!

Postnatal Yoga:  Postnatal yoga classes are tailored to the needs of new parents. They focus on gentle stretching, relaxation, and breathing exercises, all of which are excellent for postpartum recovery.

Strength Training:  Building strength is crucial for postpartum recovery. Using light weights or resistance bands can help target major muscle groups while gradually increasing intensity. We love Anna Clausen Wellness!

Swimming:  If you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and a vaginal delivery, swimming can be an excellent low-impact exercise option. It offers full-body conditioning without the pressure on the joints.

Baby-and-Me Classes:  Many communities offer postpartum fitness classes where new parents can bring their babies. These classes not only provide movement but also social interaction and support.

Rest and Recovery:  Above all, listen to your body. Rest is just as crucial as exercise in the postpartum period. Prioritize sleep, hydration, and nourishing meals to support your recovery.

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a mother and father cradling each other and a newborn on the father's shoulder with a beige background with green water color circle and gold glitter accents

Postpartum exercise is a crucial aspect of postpartum recovery that offers numerous physical and emotional benefits. However, it’s essential for new parents to approach it with caution and prioritize safety. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new routine, and remember that every person’s postpartum journey is unique.

Mindful movement after childbirth takes time, patience, and self-compassion. The key is to start slowly, gradually increase intensity, and, most importantly, celebrate your progress, no matter how small it may seem. By embracing safe and effective postpartum exercise, you can support your body’s healing process and enhance your overall wellbeing during this transformative period of parenthood.

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