You just gave birth to your precious little baby not that long ago and you are feeling really good overall during your postpartum recovery.
Now that the hard part is over, childbirth, you’re ready to get your pre-pregnancy body back. You were really active and remained healthy during your pregnancy, and now you’re eager to know when to exercise postpartum safely.
It’s only been a few weeks since you gave birth. What exercises can you do this early on postpartum?
The 6 Week Postpartum Wait
Curious when it’s ok to exercise again postpartum?
It’s recommended by doctors to wait for clearance until the 6-week postpartum check-up before beginning a workout routine. There is still a lot of healing that is taking place during the first 6 weeks after giving birth.
Your body may still be bleeding vaginally, your incision, whether C-section or episiotomy, is still healing and your hormones are still readjusting to their normal levels.
There is a reason why doctors recommend you wait until 6 weeks postpartum before you start exercising. So be sure to get clearance by your doctor before you begin a postpartum workout that is targeting your abs.
Safe Cardio Exercise During the 6 Week Postpartum Wait
The one exercise that I do recommend to new moms when they start exercising postpartum is gentle walking.
Unless your doctor told you to be bedridden after childbirth, you are probably in the clear to go ahead and walk around your home doing your normal daily activities.
I recommend gradually increasing the amount of walking you do each day. If you can only tolerate 2 minutes of walking around the home at a time, then that’s fine. But by the next week, you should be able to increase it by 2-3 minutes of continuous walking.
While walking, I recommend focusing on your posture and core control.
Don’t be sloppy when you walk, but stand tall and hold your belly in tight, as tight as you can tolerate.
This will help activate the muscles in your core and give you a jumpstart into your postpartum workout routine come 6 weeks postpartum.
Safe abdominal exercise during the 6 week postpartum wait
If you are looking to do some type of exercise specifically for your abs that is safe to do while you wait until when you can exercise again postpartum, I do recommend this one particular exercise.
This exercise is completely safe to do early on postpartum and I highly recommend it as a physical therapist to postpartum moms. This exercise is great for new moms because it helps with relaxation and can even help with postpartum depression.
It’s a breathing exercise that helps activate the transverse abdominis muscle. This is the most important muscle in our core to help with postpartum abdominal healing.
The transverse abdominis acts like a corset around our body and helps to keep everything tight within our core. I love this muscle because it can draw in our mommy pooch and hide our oversized uterus after it was stretched for 9 months.
Winged Arm Breathing Ab EXERCISE
The safe exercise is Winged Arm Breathing.
To perform this exercise you need to be in a seated position without back support. Either sitting on the edge of your bed or at the edge of a straight back chair would work fine.
While sitting on a stable surface with plenty of arm space on either side of you, place your elbows at your side and your hands in front of your belly like you are praying.
This is the starting position.
The next step is to slowly breathe in while you expand your belly (like your belly is inflating with air as you inhale). Open your arms by swinging your hands to the side and keep your elbows tucked in at your side.
To finish the exercise, exhale and let your belly deflate like the air is coming out of a balloon. The hands come together and return back to the prayer position where you originally started.
Repeat this 10 times for a 5 count during each breath.
You’ll love doing this exercise twice a day to help with activating your muscles for the first time postpartum, but also to help you relax during those stressful new mommy moments that a majority of moms have with newborns.
Now that you know how to do this exercise, I recommend you find time every day, whether it be first thing when you wake up or right before going to bed; do this exercise ritually.
You’ll find that as you’re starting to feel better, your back and ab muscles will start to engage and activate easier and your overall well being will be more relaxed and calm.
I have more helpful tips like this in my FREE 5 Day Restore Your Core email course that explains many other helpful tips I used with my 4 pregnancies to lose the postpartum belly weight. You’ll learn what the next abdominal exercise is to perform postpartum immediately after you get approved to work out at your 6 week postpartum checkup. You can sign-up for the FREE 5 day Restore Your Core email course here.
About Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT
Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey. She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visiting her blog, Live Core Strong.