Returning to Exercise After Birth


Having a child is a life changing experience and for many women it is a body changing experience as well.

There are many things that may be common, but aren’t normal and are not necessarily something that we have to live with.

Some of these things can be addressed with exercise and a gentle post-natal recovery program, and others may need further assistance from your pelvic health physio and or doctor.

At Polkadotsi we have no taboos on topics that we discuss about women’s health – we believe that promoting awareness promotes healing, and is beneficial for all women.

What Is Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is the group of muscles that forms the “floor” of what is commonly known as the core.

They are the muscles we use to stop wee, poo, and farts.

During pregnancy and childbirth they are stretched and placed under a lot of pressure, which sometimes results in a weakening of your pelvic floor.

Symptoms of a weakened pelvic floor may include:

  • Accidentally leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, exercise
  • Feeling the urge to go to the toilet and not quite making it
  • Constantly feeling the urge to go to the toilet
  • Finding it difficult to completely empty your bladder or bowels
  • Accidentally pooing or farting
  • A loss of sexual sensation
  • Pelvic pain and or sexual pain

While these symptoms are incredibly common, none of them are normal, and many of them can be addressed with exercise and physiotherapy.

Your post natal specialised trainer may refer you to a pelvic health physiotherapist for advice and treatment.

Returning to Exercise

Even if you were active during your pregnancy, it’s important to return to exercise with care.

  • Exercise has many benefits for the post-natal mum including:
  • Improvement of mood and sleep
  • Addressing common aches and pains caused by postural changes
  • Faster strengthening and recovery post partum

We will work with you to assess your abdominal muscles, and ensure that you do not have diastasis recti (separation of the muscles down the middle of your tummy)

Your trainer will recommend a post-natal program that gently begins strengthening and re-activating the muscles most stressed in your body during pregnancy and birth.

You may not feel that you are “doing” much for the first few sessions – but it is essential to properly strengthen your core and pelvic floor as you return to exercise.

As your muscles strengthen, you can progress to higher impact exercise.

We cannot stress enough that there is no rush to “snap back” in-fact, quite the opposite is true. You spent 9 months creating an entirely new human being, and you are encouraged to gently return to strengthening, healing, and moving your body.

A Safer Approach

Your post natal specialised  trainer will recommend exercises that are safe for your pelvic floor and your recovering body.

We encourage you to be active and to move, and enjoy your post-natal recovery. Many of the exercises can be performed with your baby and may give you quality, connection time while you work out together.

We will also provide you with a list of exercises to avoid including:

  • Situps, Curls and Crunches
  • Double leg lifts,
  • V-ups,
  • Planks and other exercises that may cause your abdominal muscles to separate.


Remember, there are no taboo topics and we have a great list of resources that we can refer you to, if you have concerns about your post-natal recovery.

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