4 Myths We Need To Debunk About Exercising After Having A Baby

Postpartum exercise can be a challenging journey, so do yourself a favour and start by taking the pressure off.

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April 27, 2022 - Updated June 17, 2024

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So, you’ve recently had a baby (congratulations!) and have been cleared by your physician to resume exercise - yay! The only thing is, you’re not quite sure where to start.

First of all, let’s take a moment to recognise what an incredible thing you’ve just been through.

You’ve just spent up to 40 weeks growing a tiny little human, delivered your baby and are now likely coping with a LOT of change (sleep deprivation, anyone?). It’s time to give yourself a big pat on the back and appreciate how incredible you and your body are!

Whether this was your first pregnancy or your fifth, we know everyone’s postpartum journey looks different and there’s no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to exercising after a pregnancy.

If your healthcare provider has given you the all-clear and you’ve decided you’re ready to start working out again, let’s make sure we get some common misconceptions about postpartum fitness out of the way first…

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You’ll be able to pick up right where you left off

No matter how fit and active you were before or during your pregnancy, now is the time to take it slowly and let go of any expectations as you rebuild your fitness after childbirth.

You’ve just gone through an enormous amount of change, so you might want to start with pelvic floor exercises, breathwork and light walks. It’s also important to recognise your workout schedule might look a little different now you’ve got a newborn at home.

Go easy on yourself and make your schedule work for you. There’s nothing wrong with making modifications and cutting a workout short if you need to. And if you need more rest days or miss a workout altogether? That’s okay too!

“If you’re struggling to find the time and energy, give yourself permission to commit to only 10-15 minutes,” Britany Williams says. Your goal shouldn’t be about how strong you can get or how much you can lift during this phase where you are low on energy and time - your goal is simply how consistent you can be.”

If you’re looking for a program in the Sweat app, we have several post-pregnancy programs available which can all be done from the comfort of your own home using minimal equipment.

There’s a right time to return to fitness

While there’s no perfect time to start exercising again, there is such a thing as a wrong time, and that’s before you’ve been cleared by your healthcare provider.

If you’ve been cleared to resume exercise but don’t feel ready yet - that’s okay! Listen to your body and wait until YOU feel ready. And remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Your return to fitness will depend on a range of factors including the type of pregnancy you had, any complications you might have experienced during pregnancy and birth, whether you had a cesarean or vaginal delivery, whether you gave birth to more than one baby, and importantly: how YOU feel.

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Your post-pregnancy body should look a certain way

For a lot of women, the desire to start working out again after welcoming a new baby might be tied to insecurity about how pregnancy has changed your body or wanting to feel like yourself again.

While learning to love and appreciate your body before, during and after pregnancy isn’t always easy, we want to remind you that your body is INCREDIBLE. It grew and nurtured your baby and continues to support you both throughout this amazing journey.

Changes to how your body looks or feels, such as stretch marks, loose skin, a new body shape or different energy levels, are also completely normal after pregnancy and nothing to be ashamed of.

While your post-pregnancy body might feel a little unfamiliar, it is beautiful and there is so much to celebrate. The best reason to work out isn’t to punish or try and change yourself, but because it’s something that makes you feel happy, healthy and confident - inside and out for you and your family.

Sweat Trainer Kelsey Wells has spoken before about how changing her relationship with her body revolutionised her approach to exercise.

“As a fitness professional, I now feel a responsibility to call out those negative dialogues and try to help people make sure their motive to exercise is coming from a place that is beneficial, rather than detrimental, to their mental health,” Kelsey says.

There’s such thing as a perfect postpartum exercise journey

Everybody’s different. You might have been pregnant at the same time as your best friend but had a completely different pregnancy and birth experience from her. It’s likely that your postpartum exercise journey will look a little different, too.

As Britany says, it’s normal to feel a little lost or foreign in your own body, and taking the time to fully connect with your body again is the answer to feeling your best.

“During my postpartum journey, I’ve learned to celebrate the wins no matter how big or small. I’ve learned that high intensity does not always equal high results. I’ve slowed down, taken more deep breaths and truly listened to what my body needs on a day to day basis. When I do that, I feel my best,” she says.

We don’t know who needs to hear this, but your Instagram feed is everyone else’s highlights reel. If you find yourself doom-scrolling or comparing yourself to other new mums during a late-night feed, remember: this is hard for everyone, whether they’re showing it or not. Go easy on yourself and remember to take things at your own pace.

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Ready for your first workout?

Kayla and Kelsey’s post-pregnancy programs

Looking for a structured program to support you as you return to fitness? There are two programs available in the Sweat app, Kayla’s Post-Pregnancy program and PWR Post-Pregnancy with Kelsey.

Kayla’s 16-week program is designed to help women rebuild strength after birth. Kelsey’s program runs for 24 weeks and focuses on improving posture and regaining strength through low-impact movement.

Have you returned to exercise after having a baby? What tips do you have for new mums?

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

Post-Pregnancy Core & Restore
Post-Pregnancy with Kayla
Core & Restore
PWR Post-Pregnancy

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

Disclaimer: Although exercise during and after pregnancy has been associated with multiple health benefits, you should consult with and obtain permission from your physician or other healthcare provider before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for you, especially while pregnant and in the months following your pregnancy. Not all exercise is suitable for everyone or every pregnancy and exercises, including those contained in this article, may result in injury. Do not start this fitness program if your physician or healthcare provider advises against it. This article is for informational purposes only. Any instruction, information, or guidance contained in this article is not a substitute for medical advice, consultation, and/or medical treatment from your doctor or healthcare provider. Do not delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of any instruction, information or guidance contained in this article. You are responsible for your own safety and are participating in this fitness activity at your own risk. Start slowly and do not exceed the exercise recommended by your physician or health care provider. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain, discomfort, bleeding, or shortness of breath at any time while exercising, stop immediately and seek medical advice.


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