Women's Wellness 6 MIN READ 735 VIEWS February 25, 2022

Importance of Postnatal Exercises to Regain Core Strength

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Postnatal exercises

Childbirth is one of the happiest moments in one’s life. In order to reach this fun-filled stage, the mother has to undergo a strenuous phase from conception to delivery. The delivery process takes a toll on the mothers and their body requires rebooting. Thankfully, a regular regimen of postnatal exercises can help the new mother cope with the after-effects of childbirth gracefully.

Why are Postnatal Exercises Good?

In simple layman terms, postnatal exercises help you get back in shape. But in addition to this, they also help in:

  1. Weight loss, especially when combined with a monitored calorie intake
  2. Perking up energy levels
  3. Boosting cardiovascular health 
  4. Strengthening and toning the abdominal muscles 
  5. Relieving stress
  6. Promoting better sleep
  7. Cutting down symptoms of postpartum depression

Getting Started with Postpartum Workouts

Both medical practitioners and fitness experts feel that it’s safe to begin exercising after two weeks of childbirth. But it’s important to understand your overall health before starting. 

While in a normal vaginal delivery sans any complication, you can get started within a few days. But if you had a C-section or experienced other pregnancy complications, seek healthcare advice about when you’ll be internally fit to start an exercise program.

Listed below are the general tips and guidelines that will help you get started and keep you safe during your postpartum workouts:

1. Start Slow  

Don’t be harsh on your body. Start with simple walking and easy postnatal exercises initially and progress slowly spanning to about 20-30 minutes per day. Do not overdo it!

2. Watch Your Bleeding 

It is important that the vaginal bleeding has ceased completely before you head out. In case your bleeding recurs after exercising, it’s an indication to stop exercising until the body recovers completely.

3. Exercise and Breastfeeding  

Fortunately, exercise and breastfeeding can happen side by side. Follow a mild to moderate exercise regimen, nurse your baby before workout, keep your body well hydrated, and take a shower before you breastfeed your baby post workout.

4. Focus on Overall Fitness  

Although abdominal muscles appear to be the most distorted and require a concentrated effort to recoup, it’s the whole body that requires an enhancement. Therefore, it’s important to try different exercises working on different body parts.

5. Take Ample Rest 

New mums keen on shedding extra kilos may be attracted to use the baby’s nap time as their exercise slot. Unfortunately, mothers who follow this pattern end up more exhausted and restless. Therefore, it’s advised to catch up with your sleep and start exercising only when you feel rested and restored.

Best Postnatal Exercises to Do

The objective of postpartum workouts is to move your entire body. There are several types of postnatal exercises but your abdominal area and pelvic muscles require extra care. Thus, postnatal abdominal exercises are the ones that help you concentrate on these areas and help regain core strength

Take a look at some of the best postnatal exercises to practice during this time:

1. Pelvic Floor Exercise

Pelvic floor exercise or the kegel exercise is one of the best postnatal pelvic floor exercises as it is a simple exercise that helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. To do a kegel exercise, tighten your pelvic floor muscles like you do to hold your urine. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Give a 10-second gap between two contractions. Do a set of 10 repetitions at least 3 times a day. Do not attempt kegel exercise while urinating. 

2. Diaphragmatic Breathing 

Diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing exercise that a mother should start her postnatal exercises with after childbirth. It can be performed while sitting or laying down and can be done for a few minutes each day. To perform the deep breathing exercise, sit relaxed and put one hand on the chest and the other on the stomach. Inhale slowly and deeply and feel your stomach expand. Then exhale slowly. Repeat the exercise for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Walking 

Going for a walk can be an amazing workout for your body. Try taking your baby along in a stroller. The push and the pull action to maneuver the stroller can be the best exercise and the time can be fun-filled both for the both of you.

4. Swiss Ball Bird Dog Holds 

Swiss ball bird dog holds is an ideal postnatal exercise to enhance stability, posture issues, and combat low back pain often associated with carrying the newborn for long hours. You’ll need a Swiss ball to do this exercise. 

To start the exercise, lie down on top of the ball. Keep your palms flat on the floor and toes touching the ground; balance your torso comfortably on the ball. Keeping your neck stable and looking down at the floor, lift your right leg and left arm at the same time. 

Hold your position for 2-3 seconds. Return to the starting position and do it with alternate sides. Do 20 repetitions in total.

5. Pelvic Tilt 

One of the best postnatal abdominal exercises, the pelvic tilt helps you strengthen your abdominal muscles. To get started, lie down on your back with your knees bent. Pull your knees towards your stomach by tightening your abdominal muscles. Also, bend your pelvis up slightly. Hold the position for up to 10 seconds and do 20 repetitions at least 5 times.

6. Happy Baby Yoga Pose 

The happy baby yoga pose is another popular postnatal abdominal exercise that can gently relax and stretch your muscles to build strength. To get started, lie down on your back and hold your knees close to your chest. Gently start opening your legs towards your hips. Keeping your arms on the inside of the knees, hold your feet face upwards. Hold on to the position for 90 seconds as you concentrate on relaxing your pelvic muscles.

7. Cat-Cow Exercise 

The Cat-Cow exercise is best to support back muscles and strengthen the core. As it enhances spine mobility, it is best recommended to ease back pain. To get started, get down on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your back straight and flat and your head looking down at the floor. Ensure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and knees under the hips. Inhale and take a deep breath. When you exhale, move your spine in a rounded shape towards the ceiling and focus on your head and tailbone moving closer to each other. 

Hold the cat position for 2 seconds. To inhale again, arch your back, lifting your tailbone and head towards the ceiling and your belly moving closer to the floor. Hold the cow position for 2 seconds. Continue doing the cat and cow pose for 60 seconds.

8. Swiss Ball Glute Bridge

Among postnatal pelvic floor exercises, this one is ideal for pelvic floor muscle strengthening and overall stabilization of the body. Done with the help of the exercise ball, it strengthens the abdominal muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings. 

To get started, keep the ball by the feet, lie down flat on the floor and bend your knees. Press the ball with your heels and raise your hips. The glute and hamstring muscles should assist this movement. All this while, the shoulders and upper back must be in contact with the floor. Maintain this position for a few seconds and then go back to the original position. Do up to 20 repetitions of at least 3 sets.

9. Postpartum Planks 

If you have had a normal delivery without any complications, the postpartum planks, also known as the standard planks, are a good postnatal abdominal exercise. They help retrain the core, lend strength to the muscles, and keep the back in great shape. You may start on the knees and slowly progress to a full-fledged plank. 

To get started, lie with your stomach down and place your forearms on the floor. The toes should stick to the floor and enable the feet to flex. Push glutes and core upward in a manner that the toes and forearm touch the floor. You may raise the level of the body up to a few inches. Contract abdominal muscles, roll in the belly button towards the spine and stiffen your buttocks and upper part of the body. Hold your breath for about 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise a few times and subsequently prolong the holding of your breath.

10. Side Plank Leg Lifts

The side plank leg lift is often recognized as the advanced version of the standard plank. One may wait for about two months before starting the side plank leg lift. It is a good exercise for the glutes and obliques. 

To get started, lie with your stomach down and place your forearms on the floor. Keep the elbows beneath the shoulders. The toes should stick to the floor and enable the feet to flex. Take a sideways movement with one forearm bearing the weight. Lift the body off the floor so as to get the side plank position. Lift the leg and hold it in the air for up to 20 seconds. You may perform 1 to 2 sets on either side.


Postnatal exercises can go a long way in regaining the lost strength and shape. These exercises can be mastered with some training. Apart from providing the necessary physical strength, all the types ofpostnatal exercises also ensure mental well-being.

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