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Post-Pregnancy Exercise and Fitness

Walking is a good exercise to start with after giving birth.Restoring good muscle tone is important for your recovery after you’ve given birth. Your abdomen may be soft and large after delivery, and you may want to begin a fitness and exercise program. Speak with your health care provider to learn about a safe fitness plan for you. With any fitness plan, remember to start very gently and build up gradually based on your health and physical condition. Here are some examples of exercises that your care provider may recommend:


Walking is a safe and effective first exercise for your post-pregnancy fitness program. Remember to start with short walks and gradually increase their length as you get stronger.


To help strengthen your abdominals, try head-lifts. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Take a deep breath, then raise your head while exhaling. Lower your head slowly as you inhale. Do this 10 times per session, three times per day. Raise your head a little more each day, gradually working up to lifting your shoulders slightly. Wait three to four weeks before doing full curl-ups.

Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic tilts are another way to strengthen your abdominals. Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet about 12 inches apart soles flat on the floor. Inhale as you press the small of your back against the floor. Then breathe out and relax. Repeat three or four times to start and gradually build up to 12 then 24 repetitions.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises can help your pelvic muscles regain strength after pregnancy. To do kegels: Pull in your abdominal muscles, squeeze buttocks together and firmly tense the muscles around your vagina and anus. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then slowly release muscles and relax. (This exercise can be described as stopping urine mid-flow, but do not practice the exercise this way because it can lead to urinary tract infections.)

Leg Slides

Leg slides can help build leg muscles and abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with both legs flat on the floor. Slide your right foot, sole flat on the floor, back toward your buttocks. Keep the small of your back against the floor. Slide your leg back down. Repeat with your left foot.

Start with three to four per side and increase gradually to 12. 

Caring for Mom

  • Post-Pregnancy Exercise and Fitness