What is a Postnatal Workout?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Walking or jogging is a good postnatal workout.
Walking or jogging is a good postnatal workout.

A postnatal workout is an exercise program to help women regain pre-pregnancy levels of fitness. Another name for the postnatal workout is a postpartum workout. The postnatal workout can be a continuation of prenatal and pregnancy fitness, or may be something new, particularly if a woman’s exercise program has been interrupted, as in the case that she had to spend a period of the pregnancy on bed rest.

Gentle stretches and strength training may be integrated into daily activities.
Gentle stretches and strength training may be integrated into daily activities.

There are many different postnatal programs available, and sometimes a woman will be given information about an exercise regime as part of her “new baby” information packet. Because it has been found that women who still carry the extra pregnancy weight six months after delivery are more likely to be overweight later in life, it is good to begin a postnatal exercise program soon after delivery. Obstetricians, primary care physicians, and responsible exercise trainers recommend that women check with their physicians before undertaking such a program, particularly if they have undergone a Caesarean section.

Women who've had a Caesarean section should take extra care in discussing when to return to exercise.
Women who've had a Caesarean section should take extra care in discussing when to return to exercise.

Within the general goal of returning to fitness, a postnatal workout can have several different specific goals. It can focus on losing weight, a goal that is prominent for many women after giving birth. Other goals can be returning to one’s pre-pregnancy figure, speeding up the recovery of the pelvic floor, strengthening muscles in the lower back and arms for lifting and holding the baby, and transitioning back to a pre-pregnancy training regime. Some postnatal workouts involve both mother and baby as a way to play and bond. Any workouts that involve one’s baby should be approved by the baby’s pediatrician and should provide proper support for the baby’s head and neck.

Postnatal workouts are available in a number of forms. Workout guides can be delivered as magazine articles in parenting magazines or articles on the Internet. They can be found as streaming video online, as DVDs or VHS tapes that you can purchase or take out the library, or as training manuals. You may even find a television show with a postnatal workout.

Postnatal workouts may involve gentle exercise that is quite ordinary, like walking, low-impact aerobics, or swimming. It may also include specialized moves and approaches in exercise programs like yoga or Pilates. The workout can also include a variety of other types of exercise equipment, such as tubing and handles, dumbbells, and exercise balls.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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    • Walking or jogging is a good postnatal workout.
      Walking or jogging is a good postnatal workout.
    • Gentle stretches and strength training may be integrated into daily activities.
      Gentle stretches and strength training may be integrated into daily activities.
    • Women who've had a Caesarean section should take extra care in discussing when to return to exercise.
      Women who've had a Caesarean section should take extra care in discussing when to return to exercise.