Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Exercise after pregnancy

Physical activity or exercise after pregnancy has benefits for your physical health and mental health.

These include:

  • improved fitness
  • better mood
  • more energy
  • improved posture
  • reduced feelings of anxiety and depression

How your body changes after pregnancy

Having a baby changes your body. This can affect how soon you can be active.

After having a baby, your:

  • tummy muscles stretch
  • posture is different - posture is the position you hold your body in when sitting or standing
  • pelvic floor muscles may be injured
  • body tissue is more stretchy and less supportive
  • joint stability is affected

If you had a caesarean, you will have a wound that needs time to heal.

Exercise after a caesarean

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP before you start getting active if you had:

  • any complication after giving birth that may have slowed down your recovery, such as an infection

Activities to start with after pregnancy

Start gradually and follow an exercise plan.

First focus on:

  • pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • your posture

Exercise plans 0 to 12 weeks after pregnancy

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support your bowel, bladder and uterus.

This can help you if you have a:

If you have these symptoms, avoid high effort activity until your pelvic floor muscles are stronger.

High effort activity includes:

  • running
  • jumping
  • lifting heavy weights

If you do high effort activity with a weak pelvic floor, you could make prolapse or incontinence symptoms worse.

Do your pelvic floor exercises daily.

How to do pelvic floor exercises


Wait until 6 weeks after giving birth if you had a forceps or vacuum delivery.


Exercises for your posture can help:

  • improve your physical strength after pregnancy
  • ease back pain

How to correct your posture after pregnancy

You can practice improving your posture by following these steps:

  1. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  2. Bring your ribs over your hips.
  3. Roll your shoulders back and down.
  4. Tuck your chin in.

Keep the back of your neck long.

Illustration of two women standing. The woman on the left has a straight green line drawn on the side of her body and the words 'correct posture' underneath her. The woman on the right has a curved red line drawn on the side of her body and the words 'incorrect posture' underneath her.
Correct posture (left) with shoulder back, chin tucked in and back straight.

Watch how to correct your posture

This video shares advice on how to position your knees, pelvis and shoulders.

Correct posture during pregnancy

Sitting posture

Your sitting posture is also important.

A good sitting posture helps to support your:

  • shoulders when you're feeding your baby
  • back

To have a good sitting posture, make sure you:

  • sit on your sitz bones, not your bum - your sitz bones are 2 round bones at the bottom of your pelvis
  • support your lower back with a cushion to help you sit up
The woman on the left sits feeding her baby. She is hunched over showing incorrect sitting posture. The woman on the right sits feeding her baby. She is sitting upright showing correct posture.
Correct posture (right) when sitting and feeding your baby.

When to get advice about exercise

Get advice from a physiotherapist if you have:

Women's health physiotherapists are specially trained to help with these symptoms. Talk to your GP to get a referral.

Page last reviewed: 22 August 2023
Next review due: 22 August 2026

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