Exercise plan 12 weeks after pregnancy

Some women can move to more intense exercise after 12 weeks. But 12 weeks is a guideline.

More intense exercises include:

  • running
  • abdominal crunches
  • resistance work
  • gym exercises

Before moving to more intense exercise

Before moving to more intense exercise you should have:

  • strong pelvic floor muscles
  • healthy BMI (body mass index) -this means less stress on your joints
  • check your tummy muscles for a diastasis rectus abdominus (DRAM)

Read more about exercise and your posture.

Pelvic floor muscles

If you do high intensity exercise with a weak pelvic floor, you could cause damage you cannot reverse.

Read more about pelvic floor muscle exercise.


If your BMI is high after pregnancy, start off with low impact exercise, such as fast walking or swimming. 

These are exercises where your joints and pelvic supports are not under too much strain. Along with a healthy diet, these exercises will help you achieve a healthy body weight. Then you can do running and higher impact sports.

Read more about BMI.

DRAM - abdominal separation

Check your tummy muscles for a diastasis rectus abdominus (DRAM) before doing any:

  • tummy exercise like crunches, sit ups, planks
  • twisting your trunk, for example, lifting older children in and out of the car

Read more about DRAM.

Returning to running

Take things slowly when you increase the amount of exercise you do. You might be progressing too quickly if you:

  • have low back, pelvic or joint pain
  • leak urine (pee) whilst running
  • have a feeling of a pressure or heavy sensation in your vaginal region

Listen to your mind and body. Higher intensity exercise can put you under more body stress.

This added stress from intensive exercise can:

  • affect your ability to recover between runs, and cause joints and muscles to feel achy after runs
  • put you at a higher risk of bone stress fractures in the months after having a baby

Page last reviewed: 4 June 2020
Next review due: 4 June 2023

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.