Exercising post-pregnancy is a great way to feel good and keep well, mentally and physically. Giving birth by Cesarean section, or C-section, however, can make this a little more difficult. With safety in mind and the go-ahead from a doctor, the following exercises and workouts can help new moms stay active.

When to Begin Activity

It is absolutely vital for new moms to wait until their doctor has given the activity go-ahead before beginning any exercise routine. It typically takes four to six weeks for the body to heal following a C-section. Depending on the recovery progress, light activity may be possible three to four weeks after giving birth. This, however, depends on several factors, including whether there were complications during the birth and the level of exercise the mother engaged in prior to giving birth.

newborn baby sleeping on mother's chest


Exercises to Avoid

The most important consideration following a C-section is allowing the body time to heal and recover. Any exercise routine should be first approved by a doctor. There are certain activities, however, that must be avoided entirely in the first few months, including direct abdominal workouts, running, and weight lifting. Other mild fitness can help new mothers work toward including these workouts once again.

woman running in the morning with pain in side


Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises are safe, easy, and gentle on the body. They are one of the first activities recommended by doctors following birth by c-section. The pelvic muscles are responsible for supporting the uterus and womb during pregnancy. Strengthening the pelvic floor — through exercises like kegels, squats, and bridge pose — is beneficial for the muscles, reducing swelling, and supporting healing post-delivery.

illustrated image of pelvic floor exercises



Walking is a comfortable and low-impact activity. It’s a great exercise for new moms just beginning to get active again following a C-section. Not only is it an ideal way of improving strength and stamina post-birth, but pushing a stroller while walking can also help to build core strength.

woman walking with her new baby in stroller



Swimming is another low-impact activity to ease back into exercise post-C-section. It places little stress on the body and the amount of time spent in the water can be increased gradually to fit comfort and ability. It is important, however, to avoid swimming until the C-section incision has healed entirely.

woman with swim cap and goggles in indoor pool



Pilates is a great post-C-section exercise for several reasons, including its focus on strengthening the back and core. The routines are helpful for improving posture, which moms need when holding and nursing the baby. Specific to C-section recovery, pilates promotes blood flow and oxygenation and aids in the muscle healing process.

woman doing pilates bird dog pose with video



Yoga is not only beneficial for the body following a C-section, but for the mind, too. It is a highly adaptable activity that allows one to push themselves as much or as little as they feel comfortable. Getting out to enjoy a group yoga class also allows new moms some time to themselves to slow down and relax.

woman doing downward dog yoga in living room



Bicycling is a low-impact aerobic activity to work toward following a C-section. It helps build muscle and bone, and the endorphins released during aerobic exercise are shown to improve mental health and well-being. Cycling can also be fun, and it allows new moms the opportunity to get outside.

a woman on a bicycle on cherry blossom-flanked lane



Jogging is a more strenuous exercise to work toward, with the okay from a doctor. It is another aerobic activity good for getting the heart pumping and endorphins flowing. However, it is important for new moms to avoid push themselves too quickly when it comes to activities like running, which can be hard if they were avid joggers beforehand. How soon someone can begin to do so often depends on her activity level before and during pregnancy.

three women jogging on the sidewalk


Core Strengthening

Core-building activities are good for strengthening the abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles. They should only be performed once the body has healed entirely, though, and after doctor approval. Following the all-clear, core workouts are ideal for new moms looking to repair and rebuild their abdominal muscles.

woman doing plank pose in living room with video


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