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Returning to exercise after having a baby

The simple idea of returning to exercise postpartum can be both exciting and scary at the same time! Meli Comaschi-Cordoba explains what you need to know.

Jan 21st • 

The simple idea of returning to exercise postpartum can be both exciting and scary at the same time!

No worries, I have your back, and I’ll walk you through some important things to take into consideration before starting to work out again.

But before you start navigating Google looking for “Mums and Bubs” sessions in your area, there are a couple of things you can do to stay ahead of your game, so that when the time comes you are ready to go.

If you are worried about being away from every form of exercise after becoming a mum, no need to be – motherhood is a very demanding job both physically and mentally!

One thing I want to make very clear is that postnatal is forever. That means that now that you are a mother, your body has changed. And with those changes come different ways – probably new ways – to train your body.

We can classify postnatal in three stages:
Stage 1: Early postpartum, the first six weeks after having your baby.
Stage 2: Beyond postpartum, until twelve months after having your baby.
Stage 3: Rest of life, after 12 months.

What type of birth did you have?
Depending on the type of delivery, you may have to wait a bit longer before you start exercising to ensure proper healing. I always advise waiting for the 6-week check-up regardless of whether it was a vaginal or c-section delivery. For vaginal births, it may be safe to start after the 6-week mark if there aren’t complications; for c-sections it is advisable to wait a bit longer (between 8 to 12 weeks).

So what can you do?
You can start with pelvic floor and transverse abdominis breathing exercises as soon as you feel OK, even from the very early days. It can make all the difference for when you go back to exercise more intensely. Quality over quantity is vital when it comes to rebuilding from the inside out. Ask your support system for 10 to 15 minutes and go to quiet place to do this –  and, as a plus, you will be having some precious “me time.”

What’s next?
Having the guidance of a specialised postnatal trainer after you are cleared by your health provider can help you to exercise again and achieve your goals safely.

I saved a gold nugget for the end so you can remember it well (you are welcome!)…

Pay a visit to a Women’s Health Physio – there’s a big chance your doctor or midwife won’t check you for abdominal separation or check your pelvic floor. We can fairly say that Women’s Health Physios are our eyes on your inside. Yeah, I know, pretty amazing, huh?

Whatever your case is, be sure to start gently, to listen to your body and make your wellbeing a priority. Regardless of what social media or other people say or think, there’s no one or nothing you have to keep up with.

Your motherhood journey is your own, and you should respect and honour your body for what it has done and continues to do for you.


Meli runs Phoenix for Mums in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.

You can also find her on Instagram.

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