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Physical activity after giving birth

When can I start to move again?

As early as a few days! But be gentle and start very, very gradually. 

  • Your body went through a lot in the last 9 months.
  • It needs time to heal if you want it to do its job properly. 

It usually takes 9 to 12 months to get back to your “normal.”

What can I do shortly after giving birth?

 

First few days after giving birth

  • Start activating your pelvic floor (PF) muscles (the muscles that you use to stop shiishii, miishii or gases) 

  • Contract and relax the PF gently up to 10 times, 3 times a day.  It will help with the swelling and healing.  

  • Also think about contracting your pelvic floor 2 seconds before you make an effort like coughing, sneezing, or lifting your baby 

  • Avoid doing exercises such as crunches, sit ups, or the plank. These exercises will put too much pressure on your abdomen and should be avoided for the first few of months after giving birth.

  • You can start walking outside when you feel ready. Start with a 5 to 10-minute walk and increase gradually. 



Around 3 weeks

Start specific pelvic floor exercises

Woman swimming in lake

4 weeks after giving birth 

  • You can start swimming
Person standing wearing snowshoes

6 weeks after giving birth

  • Light to moderate activities can be started again such as snowshoeing and weight training, as long as you do it gradually. 

Avoid activities that require jumping or running 

 

When can I get back to running or volleyball or aerobics (or any activity that involves jumping or running)?

It depends on a lot of factors and will vary from one woman to the other. As a general rule, we recommend to wait 3 months. 

  • However, if you want to know if your body is ready, check with your local Pelvic health physiotherapist. 
  • She will be able to help you take a decision based on your individual situation. 

For some women, it can be earlier or later than 3 months. 

3 things to do to make your exercise session more enjoyable

  1. Empty your bladder before exercising

  2. Breastfeed before the activity 

  3. Avoid extreme fatigue or going beyond your limits

What should I pay attention to?

Before, during or after your exercise, you should not:

  • have any leaks (urine, gas or stool) 

  • feel a pressure, a heaviness or feel a mass coming out of your vagina 

  • have an urge to urinate 

  • have pain  

  • have any bleeding (unrelated to your periods) or discharge 

Questions?

If you have any questions or need some advice, ask your doctor or nurse to be seen by a physiotherapist who has advanced training in pelvic health problems. There might be one in your community.

Or you can contact the pelvic health team.

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