The Do’s and Don’ts of Postnatal Exercise

Postural changes

Due to the changes in the center of gravity during pregnancy, there may be postural issues to address around the neck, mid-back, and lower back. A safe exercise program should look to assess these areas for the inclusion of postural re-correcting exercises – to help prevent ongoing issues such as a sore neck, upper or lower back.


The best exercise to do on your own for general wellbeing is walking as it is simple, safe, effective and can be done with baby.

Walk before you run

Do not return to pre-pregnancy exercise routines. Start with a gentle whole body strengthening program, core exercises and walking. Do not run before you have strengthened your core!

Recommended exercises

Postnatal exercise should be low-impact and moderate, such as:

• Swimming

• Pilates

• Yoga

• Moderate weight training

Your weekly postnatal exercise plan

• 2 whole-body strength workouts

• Daily walking for 30-40 mines plus

• Specific core and pelvic floor exercises 3-4 times per week

Refer to the Postnatal Exercise Program for a whole body and core workout


You must avoid:

Certain exercises are inappropriate and dangerous for postnatal exercise, these include:

• Heavyweights

• Intense exercise

• Running and skipping

• Explosive jumping movements

• Isometric exercises (static holds)

• Crunches and planks

When to return to traditional exercise

Once you have completed 6 weeks of postnatal-specific exercise you can start to resume prebaby workouts and more complex and challenging exercises. However, do not do too much too soon!

Postnatal exercise is imperative for restoring a normal level of pre-baby health and fitness to help you enjoy being a busy mum with energy and vitality and minimize post-pregnancy complaints.

Here is a summary of the dos and don’ts of postnatal exercise.


• Core and pelvic floor exercises should be performed 3-4 times per week

• Start fast walking for safe and moderate cardio exercise

• Start a moderate whole-body strength exercise program with a focus on core work for overall health and fitness

• Consider medical clearance if you are unsure when to start. Get clearance from your doctor if you have had a cesarean


• Don’t return to pre-baby exercise routines

• Don’t do too much too soon

• Do not do sit-ups and planks to strengthen your abs

• Avoid intense exercise, heavy loads, and jumping movements such as skipping.