Are you ready to ‘Jump Back into The Gym’ after Having a Baby?

So after all the excitement and all the planning your new baby is finally here. Your little bundle of joy is causing you all sorts of happy and challenging moments and now is the time for you to get back to the gym.

But where do you start?

What do you do first?

Do you just launch back into where you left off?

Do you just follow the the latest high intensity craze?

Let us take a couple of steps back and take at look at what you have just achieved.

You must realise that your body went through a huge amount of change over the last nine months.

Not just physical change but hormonal and emotional change also. This takes a little while to rebalance itself and get back to ‘normal’.

Also, the birth process itself can be quite traumatic and place a huge amount of strain on the body.

You also need to take into account whether it was a natural birth or C-section, the length of labour and if there were any complications at the birth itself. All of these factors can have an influence on the right sort of exercise for you.

And afterwards?

The simple process of looking after a baby is hard work. From the huge learning curve to the sleepless nights to constantly being on alert… it’s tough and amazing all at the same time.

But there does come a time when you are ready to start looking after yourself and hitting the gym again. When you take that first step you need to make sure that you are doing the right things for your body and not running the risk of long term injury.

When my clients come to me to start the process of getting back into shape the biggest thing they realise is how little control they have over their bodies. Their muscles are still relatively strong, but they have little stability and little abdominal control.

Initially this is frustrating as most of them just want to get back and get strong again. But they do.

And you will too.

However, there are just a number of key questions that you need to ask yourself before you get back to those high intensity workouts again…


1. Do you have control of your pelvic floor muscles?

It is so important to re establish control and strength of your pelvic floor muscles following child birth. Preventing incontinence issues, controlling your pelvic alignment and helping to decrease lower back pain are just some of the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

Also, the pelvic floor muscles are also linked to your deep abdominals (the transversus

abdominals). When you focus on your pelvic floor exercises, these also help to activate these

deep abdominals. The result…your abdominals ‘pull in’ and this helps to flatten your abs.


2. Are you in the right frame of mind to start exercising?

Looking after a new born can be a very stressful affair. With the late night feeds and the constant changing nappies this can raise the levels of stress throughout your body. With this increase in stress, comes the increase of cortisol.

What we need to realise is that exercise can also cause an increase of stress on the body.

Therefore if you are in a state of high stress, then you don’t really want to add another high stress activity. This will just increase your overall stress loading on the body.

So just be aware of the level of stress you are under and if you are highly stressed, then choose a low stress type activity which will help to lower stress rather than increase it even further.


3. Has the gap between your Rectus Abdominus closed?

Your Rectus Abdomimus separates throughout your pregnancy to allow for the growth of your baby. In some cases this gap may take longer to close back together. This is called Rectus Diastasis. It is very important for this gap to close as if you go on to do your crunches, planks or other harder abdominal exercises you do run the risk of developing a hernia.

Check this out with your doctor or consultant to make sure that this gap has closed. Generally there should be a two finger gap or less between your Rectus Abdominus muscles. If in doubt ask your doctor.


4. Do you have enough control of your joints and body?

Throughout the last stages of pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is released to make childbirth easier, well as easy as possible anyway. This stays in your body for about five months after giving birth, even longer if you are breast feeding.

What relaxin does is makes all of the ligaments and tendons around your joints loose and more flexible. So when it comes to exercise, you will not as have as much control around the joints as previously. Therefore you will need to make sure that you carry out a fair amount of stability work to make sure that you don’t injure yourself.


5. Has your digestion settled down after having your body?

In the human body, there is only a certain amount of space. When your baby is growing it tends to take up more than its fair share. All of your internal organs are pushed up and into your diaphragm. That is why your stomach is smaller than normal in the latter stages and you just can’t eat too big a portion at any one sitting.

After giving birth, it takes a little while for these organs to return to there normal position and also shape.


6. What’s the rush?

A bit of common sense should take over here. When anyone decreases their training intensity over any period of time, it takes a while to build back up again. Initially start by doing a little but often.

Then slowly increase your training as your body allows you. Listen to what it is telling you and err on the side of caution. There will be plenty of time to go flat out in the future.

A final note is to really emphasise that everyone is different and everyone can and will progress at different levels. So find someone who is an expert in this field to help you in this journey. You need someone who can guide you and progress you at the right level for you.


Please don’t just sign up for the local bootcamp or latest high intensity fitness craze. I have seen too many mums come back from these sorts of classes with all sorts of injuries.

Find something, or someone, who has true understanding of the process that is required to get your body back in shape healthily, safely and effectively.

Lyndon Littlefair

Dad of one little girl

Ps If you found this article interesting and would like to receive great information and motivating emails straight to your inbox, just sign up here.