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  • Writer's pictureJo

Postnatal Exercises to do and avoid during your recovery

Updated: Feb 22

Postnatal Mumma recovering from birth
Postnatal Mumma

Congratulations, you've just had a baby and eager to start recovering your body, heck you weren't expecting to feel this disconnected from your body, am I right?

I was the same, here's me with my first born, right about the time I thought I was ready to jump straight back to my pre-pregnancy exercise....eeek, boy was I wrong and unfortunately I've paid the price for my mistake of not allowing my body to heal and going straight for impact exercise. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! I've subsequently re-trained and now support and educate you on how to exercise and return to exercise during these seasons of our lives.

So, let's get straight the point with what to get started with, what to avoid until you have healed and followed a progressive recovery and return to exercise program like my Re-energised Postnatal Recovery Program.

Although a vaginal and c-section birth are both quite different recovery processes, the same principles apply, you can learn more about a c-section recovery here too.

Postnatal Exercise to do:

These foundations will give you the kick-start you need to Re-energising your body to function at its best! Ensure you are still getting a good balance of rest and recovery alongside these:

  • Re-connect and restore effective breathing patterns

  • Re-connect with and activate your deep core and pelvic floor

  • Focus on posture and re-alignment

  • Unwind Mummy postures with mobility and stretching

  • Walking, starting with short distances and progressing to longer

  • Gradually work towards adding functional movements to your exercise regime.

Learn how to do all of these progressively in the online Re-energised Postnatal Recovery Program.

Postnatal Exercise to avoid:

When recovering from Pregnancy and birth there are some exercises that should be temporarily avoided to reduce the risk of long term damage to your core and pelvic floor. It is recommended these exercises are avoided until you have allowed your body to rest, heal and progressively rehabilitate your pelvic floor and core muscles, and reduce your any abdominal separation (diastasis recti).

  • Jumping and high impact exercise

  • Planks, sit-ups/crunches and full press-ups

  • Holding your breath

  • Lifting heavy weights or objects

  • Wide stance squats

Listen to your body:

You may have heard the phrase 'Listen to your body' before, but what does this mean in terms of postnatal recovery and exercise?

When you start adding more intensity to your exercise from at least that six to eight week mark after birth, keep an eye out for these symptoms as a guide to let you know you might be progressing too fast for your current ability.

Que the four P’s:

  • Peeing; does an exercise cause you to accidentally leak urine or cause you to need to stop and run to the toilet?

  • Pressure; do you feel a bulging or heavy sensation in your pelvic floor/groin area that doesn’t feel normal at any time? This could indicate a pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Pain; does an exercise cause you pain anywhere in your body such as pelvic or back pain?

  • Peaking; do you notice a doming or peaking down the centre of your belly above and/or below you belly button, this is likely a sign of too much pressure being placed on your core, the movement/exercise you are performing is too challenging currently.


If an exercise aggravates any of these P’s, stop and reconsider your technique, modify to an easier option or you may have to temporarily stop doing this exercise until your strength improves. Pushing through despite unwanted symptoms may symptoms them worse or inhibit long term recovery. Do not ignore these symptoms.

If any of these symptoms persist, be sure to see your pelvic health physio for further assessment and guidance and follow my Re-energised Postnatal Recovery Program, for a gradual and progressive recovery and return to exercise program. It includes everything from breathing, mobility and pelvic floor exercises safe for as early as 2 weeks postpartum to return to impact exercise and sports.

Leave me a comment below if you found this helpful? What have you learnt? What else do you want to know, more blog posts coming soon!


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