A postpartum mother sitting with her baby in an exercise studio.

Obvs, I’m all about exercising after pregnancy.

But there are certain risks you’re taking if you jump back in too soon or too fast.

While it’s never my intention to stoke fear, I do think it’s important to know WHY we (–> your doc, trainer, pelvic floor physical therapist) advise you to wait until 6 weeks postpartum and then take a progressive approach to building intensity-

We’re not just being mean.

There’s good reason to take it easy during this early postpartum period.

Breaking it down, the risks of exercising too soon postpartum are:

1) Delayed healing

Your body has a LOT of healing to do postpartum.

Lacerations or incisions are healing and strained tissues are repairing.

If you do too much too soon, you risk trauma to incisions and lacerations and y’all, secondary healing is a bitch.

Once a would RE-opens, it takes A LOT longer to heal.

Image of a c-section scar

2) Exhaustion

Your body is putting a lot of resources towards healing childbirth injuries and recovering from pregnancy.

When you add a lot of exercise to that order, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of stress and fatigue.

During a time when energy stores are precious and we’re already at risk for mood disorders, I highly recommend waiting to exercise until you’re eating well, sleeping well and your stress is under control.

There’s some nuance here- some movement and exercise is actually protective of postpartum depression, but walking and mobility work is more appropriate in the early weeks.

An exhausted new mom napping next to her baby.

3) Pelvic Floor Ish

Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, your pelvic floor and core muscles just did the most.

They’re stretched and strained and they’re VULNERABLE.

They’re also disconnected from their BFFs, the diaphragm and deep abs.

By doing too much too soon, you risk incontinence (leaking) and developing or exacerbating pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.

Give your pelvic muscles adequate time to recover and then retrain your WHOLE deep core (pelvic floor, diaphragm, abdominal muscles) to reduce risk of future pelvic floor injury.

It’s also a great idea to schedule a check-in with a pelvic floor physical therapist who can evaluate your healing and prescribe appropriate pelvic floor exercises.

A pelvic floor physical therapist holding a pelvic floor model.

4) Diastasis Recti

Y’all, everyone develops abdominal separation during pregnancy.

And most of the time, it heals during the first 6-8 weeks postpartum.

But if you create too much demand on your abs BEFORE that tissue has time to heal, you risk exacerbating the separation.

Picture of diastasis recti in a postpartum belly

5) Musculoskeletal Injury

After pregnancy, your body needs a little TLC.

You’re going to have various muscle imbalances, reduced stability around your pelvis, a central stability system (–> your core and pelvic floor muscles) that’s not ready for load.

If you jump into demanding activities (like running), before you do a little basic rehab and core retraining, you’re risking orthopedic injuries in the joints and tissues that take up the slack.

Postpartum mom running with a stroller.

Exercising Postpartum

Postpartum, all of your choices around activity require consideration of risk vs reward.

Some movement and exercise are good.

Just be sure to tune YOUR postpartum exercises to where you are in the recovery process.

Find The Right Support

Perhaps I’m biased (cough, cough), but this is where is can be super helpful to work with a postpartum fitness coach in those early months.

Lucky for you, I’m going to be running a LIVE small group coaching cohort for my Stronger Postpartum exercise program, beginning March-ish.

If you’re interested, get on the waitlist for early access and the best bonuses!

Questions? I’m here for them. Contact me here.

Connect with me on Instagram!

For more expert info on pregnancy and postpartum fitness, pelvic health and childbirth, follow me on Instagram!
Redmond, WA-based Seattle birth doula Laura Jawad, headshot

My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.

Contact me with questions about exercise or pelvic health pertaining to pregnancy or postpartum. I offer customized, online pregnancy and postpartum personal training to folks locally (Seattle-area, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland) and beyond.

Proud Certified Prenatal & Postnatal Coach, Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach and Postnatal Fitnesses Specialist.

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