HomeArticlesFitness Tips for Pregnant and Postpartum Moms

Fitness Tips for Pregnant and Postpartum Moms

Keeping a regular workout routine is so beneficial during pregnancy and postpartum, but it’s hard to know what is safe and appropriate for your stage of pregnancy.

This is why I created the SLAM Pregnancy track for Get Mom Strong, my at-home fitness program for pregnant and postpartum moms. The following are some of the most common questions I’m asked about working out, from the first positive pregnancy test to the return to fitness postpartum.

Why Should You Continue Working Out While Pregnant?

You can and absolutely should exercise during pregnancy so long as you have medical clearance. It helps prepare your body for delivery and recovery. Studies show that staying physically active as your pregnancy progresses can yield significant health benefits including decreased rates of gestational diabetes, reduced likelihood for a c-section, and faster postpartum recovery. Plus, exercise during pregnancy can also boost your mood and make you feel majorly empowered.

Exercise Modifications for Pregnancy

From looser ligaments to stretching abdominal muscles, there’s a lot going on during pregnancy. Adjustments need to be made to exercises as your baby grows to help protect you and your baby from injury, and minimize dysfunctions such as diastasis recti, prolapse, and incontinence.

Here are some general modification guidelines:

  • Lower the intensity and pace of workouts, whether you’re walking, running, or strength training. Pay attention to your body – now isn’t the time to start a rigorous new regimen. The talk test is a great measure of exertion. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising.
  • Ditch the sit-ups, crunches, twisting, and planks. These exercises put extra pressure on the core’s connective tissue that runs between your “six pack” muscles. Increased strain can lead to increased diastasis recti, pelvic floor dysfunction and more. Instead, try:
    • Heel taps or seated marches instead of sit-ups
    • Wall planks instead of prone planks
    • Elevated mountain climbers instead of prone mountain climbers
    • Forearm side planks instead of Russian twists
  • Relax and breathe. Your core is a pressure system, and how you manage your breath matters. When you inhale, your diaphragm flattens and pushes air into the lungs and your pelvic floor releases. As you exhale, the diaphragm recoils and the pelvic floor gently lifts. During exercise, remember to exhale on the exertion, e.g. inhale, squat, exhale as you rise back up.
  • Watch for signs of coning or doming from your tummy. If you notice any, modify or ditch the exercise altogether. Not doing so can increase the extent of your diastasis recti.
  • Be cautious of exercises flat on your back. As your uterus grows, the weight may press on the vena cava (the main vein that carries blood to your heart from the lower body), causing you to feel dizzy or weak.

Getting Back to Working Out Safely

Everyone’s postpartum recovery is different. Let your body heal at least six weeks (often longer for c-section moms) before starting to work out again. Here’s what I recommend for people who’ve had a healthy delivery:

  • 0 – 4 weeks postpartum: Focus on core breathing and light walking.
  • 4-6 weeks postpartum: With practitioner clearance, begin gentle core work.
  • 6-12 weeks postpartum: Ease into low-impact workouts. It isn’t advised to run until at least 12 weeks postpartum.
  • 12 weeks and beyond: Slowly increase the intensity of workouts as your fitness level allows.

Always listen to your body – working out too hard too soon can set you back long-term.

Making Time for Exercise as a New Mom

Moms give so much of their time and energy caring for their families, and it can be hard to find time for regular workouts. The pressure to “bounce back” doesn’t help. Give yourself some grace. This is a season.

But, here are some ways to try and fit working out into your busy new schedule:

  • Keep an “all or something” mentality. It’s better to get in a quick 10 minute session or a few bursts of workouts over the day than it is to skip it altogether.
  • Skip the commute to the gym. SLAM workouts were designed to be done at home—they require minimal space and equipment.
  • Get the kids involved! As your kids get older, invite them to workout with you. They will see how you prioritize your health and what it means to be strong.
For more information on SLAM Pregnancy and the Get Mom Strong community, or to download the Strong Like a Mother app visit getmomstrong.com



Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.