6 - 9 Months Postpartum

Recovery Progress
X Months Out of 18 Down! 3%

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Overview

Your body is close to coming full circle at this point. By nine months postpartum, your uterus will be back to pre-pregnancy size. At this point, your period may or may not have returned. If not, it might be close. 

You likely have a relatively predictable routine with yourself and with your baby. While it still may be challenging to shower solo if you’re home alone, your baby likely has some type of sleep schedule that is relatively predictable. This predictability allows you to have a little more freedom and flexibility in your life. 

At this point during your recovery journey, you should be able to really focus on building pelvic floor, core, and overall strength. If you’re still experiencing things like leakage at this stage, it’s important to seek care from a pelvic floor therapist near you.* 

While exercise is important at any stage of recovery, this tends to be the time when you can really start to increase your activity. This is important for physical and mental health. 

Core

You may have noticed that your core still does not feel quite like it did pre-pregnancy. This is totally okay. To be honest, it may not ever feel 100% back to normal. However, there are a few things that could indicate that core strengthening and exercises should be top of mind:

  • Back Pain
  • Doming/ Coning at the Abdomen
  • Difficulty with daily activities (lifting your kid, groceries, etc)j
  • Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles)

For core exercises that can be great during this phase of recovery, see our exercise section at the bottom of the page. For structured workouts, you can check out Expecting and Empowered for guided postpartum core and general strengthening exercises. For a more individualized program, find a women’s health therapist near you

How to Rebuild Your Core Strength

Typically, during this phase of recovery, you can start to ask a little bit more of your muscles. You’ve likely built a foundation of strength by working on posture and activating the muscles of your deep core. (If not, it’s totally fine- check out previous months to learn how to build a foundation of strength for your core) When you’re doing core exercises, there are not necessarily exercises that are inherently “bad” though some exercises may be too advanced at certain points. When picking what core exercises to focus on, you should be able to do that exercise without any of the following:

 

  • Doming or coning in the  middle of your abdomen
  • Noticing a separation of the muscles in the middle of your abdomen
  • Having to hold your breath to complete the exercise
  • Being unable to complete the exercise with good form
  • Any pain 
  • Leakage of any kind
  • Pressure or heaviness feeling in the pelvic area or core

If you’re able to complete a core exercise without any of the above symptoms, by this stage of recovery, you can start to incorporate more advanced core exercises if and when you’re ready. This may include things like planks, oblique dips, crunches and variations, etc.

Pelvic Floor

At 6-9 months postpartum, your pelvic floor is actually continuing to heal. While any soreness from the early days of childbirth should be long gone, it’s still possible that you may be dealing with issues related to the pelvic floor.

To review from the previous postpartum guide, there are many different symptoms that could indicate you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. The following are common symptoms that are important to pay attention to and may be common but not “normal:”

  • Pain in the pelvic, vaginal area
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Heaviness, pressure, dragging in the vaginal area
  • Leakage of pee or poop
  • Not being able to control passing gas
  • Having trouble making it to the bathroom on time
  • Peeing frequently (more than 6-8 times in one day)
  • Pain with sex
  • Constipation, straining with bowel movements
  • Numbness or tingling the the pelvic or vaginal area

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek care from a pelvic floor therapist. Learn more here about what you can expect at a pelvic floor visit.

Types of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction & What to Do

The above symptoms are signs that pelvic floor dysfunction may be present. In order to fully recover and eliminate those symptoms, treatment and exercises are tailored to that specific issue when you work with a women’s health therapist. Here we’ll go over common issues and a sample of tips and exercises that can help symptoms.*

Prolapse (Pelvic Pressure)

Pelvic or vaginal pressure could be a sign of prolapse.* Prolapse can occur in many forms but happens when the pelvic floor muscles are unable to support the organs above them. Common symptoms include pain, pressure in the pelvis or abdomen, and/or a sensation of heaviness or dragging. 

With prolapse, anything that increases pressure on the pelvic floor has the potential to make prolapse worse or symptoms worse.* The following are some things to pay attention to in order to limit pressure on the pelvic floor:

  • Limit constipation 
  • Avoid straining when on the toilet
  • Do not hold your breath when lifting or moving
  • Maintain good posture throughout the day
    • Shoulders stacked over hips and ears in line with shoulders

With prolapse, you may notice that symptoms are worse at the end of the day or after a lot of activity in one day. Gravity plays into your symptoms and by the end of the day, gravity is affecting prolapse symptoms more. 

If symptoms are bothering you, try laying on your back and elevating your hips on a bolster or pillows so gravity can help rather than worsen symptoms. 

Common treatment for prolapse may include:

  • Behavior modifications to improve bowel and bladder habits
  • Body awareness to improve posture
  • Diaphragmatic or 360 breathing
  • Pelvic floor strengthening (Kegels) and relaxation training
  • Biofeedback to help work on pelvic floor coordination
  • Core and hip strengthening

While the best treatment for prolapse will include a combination of exercise and behavior modification, these will take some time to eliminate symptoms. As you work on exercises, there are some tools that can help in the meantime:

Leakage

Urine leakage is one of the more common issues postpartum, but luckily it’s one of the easiest to treat! Typically, a combination of exercise and behavioral modifications will help decrease symptoms of urinary leakage. Read on to learn more about the different types of urinary issues that are possible postpartum.

  • Urge: Leaking urine, sometimes called incontinence, due to being unable to make it to the bathroom on time or having very strong urges to urinate that make it hard to get to the bathroom. 
  • Stress: Leaking urine with activities such as coughing, laughing or sneezing. Some may notice urine leakage of small to large amounts with exercise, and this is categorized as stress incontinence.
    • Pro Tip: If you notice leakage with coughing, laughing, or sneezing, a “quick fix” is something called the “knack.” When you notice you are about to cough, laugh, or sneeze, squeeze and lift the pelvic floor muscles or Kegel to help limit leakage.
  • Urinary Frequency: While urinary frequency does not necessarily mean that someone is leaking urine, it can still be a bothersome urinary issue in the postpartum days. Urinary frequency refers to going to the bathroom to pee very frequently and not necessarily feeling like you’re emptying your bladder on each attempt. It’s common to urinate about 6-8 times per day or around every 3-4 hours during the time you’re awake. If you’re consistently going to the bathroom more than those benchmarks or feeling like you’re urinating so frequently that it’s impacting your quality of life, you may be dealing with frequency.

Common treatment for urinary issues may include:*

  • Pelvic floor muscle training to include strengthening and relaxation
  • Lifestyle changes or behavioral modifications
    • Limiting certain foods or beverages that can irritate the bladder (i.e. caffeine, carbonated beverages, acidic foods)
  • Bladder training
    • Gradually working on increasing the time between each time you go to the bathroom

Not being able to control gas or stool

Unfortunately, leakage of gas or even stool is a problem for some. This is most common for moms who had more severe pelvic floor tearing (typically grade 3 or 4) and/or needed the assistance of instruments, such as forceps or vacuum, during childbirth. Leakage of stool or gas occurs due to weakness in the muscles around the anus, and they’re unable to hold back against the pressure of stool or gas. Sometimes, these muscles may be unable to tell the difference between gas or stool if injured, and this can lead to leakage. 

Common treatment for bowel issues postpartum may include:* 

  • Biofeedback training to work on coordinating and/or strengthening
  • Electrical stimulation to help facilitate muscle strengthening
  • Dietary changes
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Bowel retraining

Painful Sex

When returning to intercourse, it is common to experience some discomfort with intercourse. Discomfort or pain may be present especially if you experienced more than a second degree tear during birth. 

Common treatment for painful sex may include:*

  • Pelvic floor relaxation and stretching
  • Dilator training
  • Stress management techniques
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Biofeedback

Pelvic Floor and High Impact Exercise

If you’re not experiencing any or many bothersome symptoms, you may still be unsure how to return to your normal level of exercise without causing any problems for your pelvic floor. If you want to know whether your pelvic floor is ready for more intensity when it comes to things like running, jumping, or high impact exercise, there are some things you can do to “test” it.

The following are some things a physical therapist would typically look at to help determine if you’re ready for higher level exercise. In order to consider yourself “passing” these tests, each exercise should be completed without any pain, heaviness, leakage, or dragging sensation in the pelvic or abdominal area.

  • Walking 30 minutes
  • Single leg balance 10 seconds
  • Single leg squat 10 repetitions on each side
  • Jog on the spot for 1 minute
  • Forward jumps/ bounds 10 repetitions
  • Hop in place 10 repetitions
  • Single leg “running man”

If you’re able to complete the above activities without issue, this is a good indication that your pelvic floor is ready for running or high impact exercise.* 

If you’re unable to complete these activities without symptoms like pain, heaviness, leakage, or dragging by 6-9 months postpartum, it would be helpful to seek care from a pelvic floor therapist so they can help get you to that point.

Adjusting to Motherhood

You’ve made through half a year! Your life may look drastically different than it did 6 months ago if you are a first time mom. Even if you have older kids, your family has likely made adjustments for the newest member of your family.


At 6+ months postpartum, your baby’s schedule is usually more predictable, you may have returned to work, hopefully you are getting more sleep than when your baby was first born, and you are able to eat real meals rather than whatever you can grab between feeding sessions. If that’s not the case, and sleep, nutrition, or your mood are your biggest challenge right now, I suggest checking out our previous Adjusting to Motherhood sections and start there before moving onto this month’s tips.

Why exercising at 6 months postpartum is still hard!

Usually around this timeframe, moms start getting back to (or thinking about getting back to) more formal exercise. Maybe you want to exercise to do something for yourself or you’re a social exerciser, maybe you’re an athlete, or maybe you hate exercising but want to lose the baby weight or to get your body back. While every mom’s motivation to exercise is different, read on for tips on how to overcome common barriers moms face.

Common Barriers: 

  • you lack motivation (who wouldn’t when you are sleep deprived and your alone time is a precious commodity)
  • you’re worried about your milk supply
  • it’s hard to find time in your schedule
  • you don’t have childcare or support from your partner
  • you don’t know what to do even when there is time to exercise
  • you can’t do the exercises you want – maybe you have a birth injury, maybe you don’t know where to start at this point in recovery, or maybe you are tired and fatigued

How do I (Alex) know this? These are some of the most common topics that come up with my personal clients and with moms in the Local Mom Facebook group that I run called Active Mommas. Throughout the years, I’ve faced many of these barriers myself, learned from other experts, and supported other moms as they have found ways to overcome a lot of these barriers. In the next section, I’ll share quick tips on how to overcome the most common barriers.

Overcoming Common Mom Barriers to Exercise

  • Motivation to Exercise
    • This is the #1 reason moms share with me for not exercising. Here is a step-by-step process that can help remove lack of motivation as a barrier.
    • Step 1: Decide If Exercising Is A Priority For You
      • Sometimes lack of motivation reflects our lack of priority for exercise – and I actually think that’s okay! Just be honest with yourself as to what your priorities are, and if exercise or health are one of them, then use these tips to help you exercise even when you lack motivation because none of us are motivated 100% of the time.
      • Quick Tip: If you need help determining your priorities, see our previous exercises from previous weeks on Journaling Your To Do List
    • Step 2: Set a Realistic Goal
      • If your long-term goal is to exercise regularly, your weekly goal should start small and be achievable.
        • Example Scenario: You haven’t been able to exercise routinely yet, but you have decided to make it a priority starting next week.
          • Unrealistic Goal: I will work out for 1 hour 5 days a week.
            • If you haven’t been able to find the time to exercise up to this point, you are likely setting yourself up for failure and possibly injury jumping from 0 – 60 minutes of exercise.
          • Realistic Goal: I will exercise for 10 – 20 minutes, 2x a week. (See Step 3 to make this even better!)
            • Start with a small window that is achievable and build on it each week.
        • Example Scenario: You have exercised some and now you really want to get back to running.
          • Unrealistic Goal: I will run a 5K in 1 month.
            • This goal doesn’t give you enough time to build the strength and endurance necessary to run a 5K at 6 months postpartum. It also lacks structure (see step 3).
          • Realistic Goal: I will do running specific workouts for 20-30 minutes, 3x a week. (See Step 3 to make this even better!)
      • Quick Tip: If you need help setting realistic goals and forming habits, I recommend reading (or my favorite, listening to) Atomic Habits. Here is an article from the author to get you started on setting realistic goals.
    • Step 3: Make it Easy to Accomplish
      • How can you make your goal easy?
        • Quick Tip: Using James’ method, set a goal to exercise before or after a current routine you have that is well established. Also, the more planning you do ahead of time, the more likely you are to follow through at your scheduled time.
          • Example: After I lay baby down for afternoon nap, I will do [specific exercise routine].
            • Pro Tip: If planning exercise routines is a barrier for you, check out Expecting and Empowered. Their postpartum experts will tell you what to do, so all you have to do is make time to exercise.
          • Caution: if this method doesn’t work for you because your schedule is unpredictable, you can using blocks of times rather than specific times works better for some moms
          • Quick Tip: Discuss your plans to exercise in your Weekly Family Check-ins if you need your partner’s support to make time for your health.
      • How can you make your goal enjoyable?
        • Do you like socializing? Would a dance workout make you more likely to exercise? Does hiking sound better than a workout?
    • Step 4: Growth Over Perfection!
      • If you don’t meet your goals, continue to re-evaluate them. Goals are made to be re-evaluated, not abandoned.
        • If you didn’t meet your goal last week, ask yourself: is exercise still a priority? If so, was your goal realistic?
          • If your goal wasn’t realistic for your life now (not how you think it should be), what is the next right step to achieving your goal? Make that your goal this week!
          • Sometimes an exercise goal may actually start with addressing a barrier like finding childcare first and then moving onto exercising once you have childcare arranged (see sections below for ideas on how to address related barriers)
      • Quick Tip: If you struggle with perfectionism, I highly recommend you read (or my favorite, listen to) Growth Mindset – I know, I’m a self-help Junkie. This book helped create a lot of positive change in my life. Realistic goals should not be rigid, they should allow for real life to happen and for you to grow over time.
    • Note: If you are feeling a general lack of motivation, this may be a sign of postpartum depression. See our postpartum resources for help.
  • Schedule
    • The second most common reason moms share with me for not exercising is not having enough time. As a mom, I completely understand this feeling. A hard truth I have come to realize in my own life is that saying that we don’t have time for something is another way to say that it is not a priority, so my tips for this barrier are similar to the section above with a few unique tips.
    • Step 1: Decide If Exercising Is A Priority For You
      • Quick Tip: If you need help determining your priorities, see our previous exercises from previous weeks on Journaling Your To Do List
    • Step 2: Schedule Based on Your Priorities
      • Quick Tip: Write out a weekly schedule. Fill in your schedule based on priorities – your top priority is scheduled first, second, third, etc. If you run out of time in the week, you will need to decide if another event should be de-prioritized in order to make time for another event that may feel important. Remember that if you are an overachiever like me, time is not unlimited 🙂
      • Quick Tip: If your schedule is jam packed with family priorities to the point that there is no room for your own health, I highly recommend trying a Weekly Family Check-in to start sharing the mental load. Your family will benefit from having a mom that takes care of herself.
  • Support
    • Knowledge
      • If you feel that you don’t have the knowledge to exercise, that’s probably why you landed on our page! If you need additional support beyond our free guides, we have partnered with Expecting and Empowered to offer a discount on their workouts. Their postpartum experts will tell you what to do, so all you have to do is make time to exercise.
    • Childcare
      • This is a pretty common barrier for moms. Here are some ideas for the 3 options I see:
        • Exercise with Your Child:
          • Mommy & Me Workouts
            • Video Links
            • Stroller Strides & similar
          • Naptime/Sleeptime Workouts
        • Enlist Help from Partner/Trusted Free Sources
          • Quick Tip: If your schedule is jam packed with family priorities to the point that there is no room for your own health, I highly recommend trying a Weekly Family Check-in to start sharing the mental load. Your family will benefit from having a mom that takes care of herself.
          • Trade with a mom-friend, grandparents, baby-lovers
        • Paid Childcare
          • Gym
          • Daycare
            • Drop-in
  • Milk Supply
  • Physical Limits
    • Birth related injury
      • If you have a birth or maybe even pregnancy related injury or condition that limits you physically, it can be really frustrating both mentally and emotionally. I (Alex) have struggled with symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse since the birth of my daughter and it has been a long journey. My best advice is to work with a pelvic, obstetric or postpartum therapist who has experience working with your condition. With a lot of hard work, some SRC recovery shorts, and time, I have been able to get back to some of the exercises I love even after 2 more pregnancies! There is hope yet mama!
    • Not able to do the exercises you love YET!
      • Maybe you don’t have a specific injury from birth, but maybe you are feeling frustrated that you still can’t do some of the exercises you love. It can take over a year to fully recover your strength and endurance after having a baby, so don’t fret, but do make a plan for how you will get from where you are today to where you want to be.
        • Can you take the exercises you love and make them simpler or shorter?
        • If you need help making a plan for how to get from where you are today to where you want be beyond our free guides, here are a few resources:
    • Tired
      • While exercise can help improve mood and energy, if you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night, it’s time to address your sleep deprivation before ramping up your exercise. Falling below this threshold may actually impact your performance and contribute to pain with running (Christopher et al, 2021).
  •  

Common Struggles

Throughout the first year postpartum, there are common struggles that many experience at different time points. By the 6-9 month mark, you’ve likely returned to work and are trying to juggle your new schedule with time for yourself, any other family members, and maybe even some time for fun. As life settles into a “new normal,” it’s still possible to deal with a few sometimes frustrating struggles. (P.S. it’s also normal and OK if you’re dealing with many struggles, small or large!)

Postpartum Periods

During the 6-9 month timeframe after your baby arrives, you may be welcoming your old friend back, your period. However, don’t be surprised if it already came much sooner or has yet to make its appearance. When your period returns can be rather unpredictable and relies on a variety of factors including hormonal shifts, weight changes, and stress. When it comes to your postpartum period, it can also be affected by breastfeeding and many will have a delay in the return of their period if breastfeeding.

It is important to know that even if your period has not returned, it is still possible to get pregnant. So if this is not something you are planning for at the moment, be aware!

According to nhs.uk, there are some differences you may notice initially with your postpartum periods:

  • Irregular periods
  • Cramping may be worse 
  • Heavier periods
  • Small blood clots in your period (if it is much different or you’re passing large clots, please speak to your healthcare provider)

Pro Tip: Prioritize and practice self care to make your postpartum periods easier to handle. Get rest when you can and take walks and get active to help relieve cramps. Happiest Baby recommends snacking on healthy fats during your period. This can include foods like avocado, lentils, prunes, and meats.

Intercourse/ Sex Drive

There are many factors that can affect not only how intercourse feels postpartum but also sex drive postpartum. When it comes to changes in a person’s sex life after baby, things like desire, arousal, lubrication, and comfort all play a role. All of these things are essential for normal sexual function, but unsurprisingly, all of these things are affected by things like poor sleep, stress, and hormones. All of which go hand-in-hand with a new baby!

There is some research looking at whether or not having a vaginal delivery or cesarean section can affect sex life after baby. According to Eid et al, a vaginal delivery is associated with lower levels of desire, arousal, and lubrication. On the other hand, a C-section is associated mostly with lower desire. 

According to research done by Fuchs et al, most women report showing less interest in sex because of tiredness, breast hypersensitivity, and conflicts between partners. Additionally, they found that a woman’s sense of attractiveness varies greatly before, during, and after pregnancy, and this can also affect sex life. 

While it may seem like there are many factors working against new moms when it comes to their sex lives, if it’s something that is important to you, know that there are things you can do to help this area. While the solution depends on the specific issue that may be interfering with your sex life (i.e. hormones, fatigue, etc.), there are some things you can do.

Pro Tip(s):

  • Communicate with your partner. While some things should seem obvious (hello waking up every 2-3 hours to feed a 12 week old causing you to be bone tired!),it’s important to talk to your partner about where you’re at because unfortunately, they cannot read our minds. 
  • Along with communication, talk to your partner about what you need. If you get to the end of every day completely burnt out, that is okay. So try to come up with a plan to give you some alone time. 
  • Take time for yourself. It can be as easy as sitting in a quiet space for 30 minutes. But try to set aside at least one or a couple of times per day where you have a few minutes of peace and quiet. This can help lower stress levels and help the muscles relax. 
  • Get active. Physical activity helps to boost mood and, in turn, could help with your sex life. Walking is a great place to start, but when you’re ready try an activity that really gets your heart rate up and may even leave you a little breathless.
  • Try different positions. If you’re specifically dealing with pain or discomfort, try a variety of positions as well as plenty of lubricant to help with comfort.
  • Consider talking to your doctor. It is possible that your low libido may be due to hormonal changes. If that’s the case, there may be things your doctor can do to help.
  • For more great ideas and thoughts from new moms on how to navigate postpartum sex, check out this article.

Postpartum Weight

Postpartum weight can be a challenging subject. On one hand, it’s important to focus on other areas of healing and recovery since in most cases we don’t recommend focusing solely on weight loss postpartum. However, staying active and leading a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight can help improve and prevent various health conditions. So inevitably, postpartum weight is an important topic. In our opinion, we just don’t recommend making it the main attraction of postpartum recovery.

When it comes to postpartum weight (most often postpartum weight loss), there are things to consider:

  • Weight loss takes time and returning to pre-baby weight can take 6-12 months, and this is perfectly ok. “Bouncing back” immediately after baby is not healthy or what our bodies are meant to do.
  • Breastfeeding could help with weight loss according to some research (Jarlenski et al, 2014)
  • Sleep matters when it comes to weight loss
  • Exercise and physical activity may look different than pre-pregnancy
  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” method to postpartum weight loss

Pro Tip: Be open-minded to new types and methods of exercise. Pre-pregnancy you may have been used to long, intense workouts or runs. For a period, you may have to adjust to 10-20 minute chunks of exercise. For some (myself!- Kristina) this could be a difficult adjustment, but remember, any movement is exercise and it counts. Someday you’ll get back to your long, luxurious workouts, but flexibility is key in the first year.

Baby Wearing

Baby wearing can be crucial when it comes to still being able to get things done that are on your to-do list, especially if you have a teething or fussy baby. Baby wearing allows baby to be close to you for comfort but keeps your arms free. However, baby wearing can come with some aches and pains if not done “correctly” and as your baby gets bigger, especially at 6-9 months. 

 

According to Healthline.com, there are a variety of benefits to baby-wearing:

  • Reduces crying (of baby)
  • Promotes health
  • Enhances connection
  • Eases everyday life

 

There are a variety of groups dedicated to helping you learn how to properly wear baby and keep things safe for baby and comfortable for you. While there are a variety of things to consider when it comes to baby-wearing, it can be a struggle if your carrier is not fit properly. 

 

If you find that you’re experiencing any discomfort with baby wearing, consider these ergonomic tips for baby wearing:

  • Lengthen your spine and stand with good posture
  • Draw your chin and head back so your ears line up with your shoulders
  • Relax your shoulders, don’t allow them to draw up towards your ears
  • Stack your ribs over your hips
  • Avoid tipping your pelvis dramatically forward or back.

Posture during Feeding

You probably perfected the early days of feeding posture, but now your baby is much more interested in the world around them and probably much more mobile! Not only can this make breastfeeding itself challenging, but it can also make things harder on you and your body. As much as possible, try to keep in mind basic posture principles by avoiding rounding your head and shoulders forward and trying to keep shoulders stacked over hips. If you’re nursing while laying on your side, try to keep your pelvis and spine in a line. 

Kindred Bravely has a great article on breastfeeding an older baby, and some of the tips are helpful for your own comfort too:

  • Nurse in a calm environment
  • Have toys on hand to keep baby busy 
  • Adjust positioning as needed
  • Shorten nursing times as needed
  • Pain that increases significantly (i.e. if you start with 2/10 pain and do an activity and your pain goes up to 5-6/10 pain, that is too high)
  • Significant increase in vaginal bleeding after or during an activity is a sign of too much. While you’ll have some bleeding in the early weeks postpartum, a large increase in bleeding is a sign of too much activity.
  • Not being able to easily carry on a conversation while walking or moving can be a sign of doing an activity with too much intensity. For example, if you go for a walk (which we encourage) but are walking so fast that you cannot carry on a conversation, this is too much in the early days.

Exercises for 6 - 9 Months Postpartum

As we mentioned in the pelvic floor section, there are some specific things you want to ensure you can do without issue before your pelvic floor is ready for higher level exercise. In addition, there are other muscles that we want to be strong enough before really pushing your body with high impact activity. 

The following is a strength test that you can do to ensure that muscle groups outside of the pelvic floor are prepared for running or high impact exercise. These should all be able to performed up to 20 repetitions:

  • Single leg calf raise
  • Single leg bridge
  • Single leg sit to stand
  • Side lying hip abduction (leg lift)
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When it comes to actually creating a workout plan, it can be really nice and one less mental load to have something already laid out for you. Personally (Kristina here), even though I am a physical therapist, I have zero capacity to plan my own workouts at the end of the day. Add on being postpartum, and the energy just wasn’t there. We highly recommend a program like Expecting and Empowered that takes you through the postpartum phase and beyond with workouts tailored and modified for the phase of recovery that you are in. If you use our code PRT, you can receive a $20 discount on an annual subscription or $5 on a monthly subscription.

To get you started, however, we’ve included some exercises that we feel are specifically helpful during this phase of recovery. To start, pick one to two exercise from each group for a well-rounded workout routine. You can add on as you feel comfortable or if there are specific areas you feel need more attention than others.

Flexibility

½ Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Thread the Needle

Chest Stretches

Core

Side Planks

Crunches

Deep core contraction with leg lower

Deep Core + Heel Taps

Russian Twist

Pelvic Floor

Kegel Elevator: 5 second hold at max, 5 second hold 75% of your maximum, 5 second hold at 50% of your maximum, repeat x2

Kegel Quick Flicks

General Strengthening (Lower + Upper Body)

Walking Lunges

Deadlifts

Squat to Chop

Resisted Hip Extension

Dumbbell Squat

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    CREDITS

    Sources

    Christopher SM, Cook CE, Snodgrass SJ (2021) What are the biopsychosocial risk factors associated with pain in postpartum runners? Development of a clinical decision tool. PLOS ONE 16(8): e0255383. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255383

    Eid MA, Sayed A, Abdel-Rehim R, Mostafa T (2015) Impact of mode of delivery on female sexual function after childbirth. International Journal of Impotence Research 27 (118-120).

    Goom T, Donnelly G, Brockwell E (2019) Return to running postnatal guidelines for medical, health, and fitness professionals managing this populations. https://absolute.physio/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/returning-to-running-postnatal-guidelines.pdf

    https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/when-will-my-periods-start-again-after-pregnancy/Jarlenski MP, Bennett WL, Bleich SN, Barry CL, Stuart EA (2014) Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women. Prev Med (69) 146-150.

    *Note: We provide information on postpartum recovery not healthcare advice. We encourage you to discuss any content with your healthcare provider – we value their role in your recovery and this site is not a replacement for healthcare services like obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, primary care providers, physical and occupational therapists, and mental health providers. See our Terms & Disclaimer and our Resources for more information.