There is no easy answer to this but I will try my best. Returning to exercise varies for every individual and is dependent on a number of factors such as your birthing experience, the recovery of your core muscles (pelvic floor, transverse abdominus, multifidus and diaphragm), your pre-birth fitness and your general feeling ie your personal level of fatigue.
There are some general rules that can be followed in return to exercise, however it is important to check with your physiotherapist, midwife or doctor before returning to exercise or sport post partum. The general rules are as follows:
0-3 weeks post partum:
- Transverse abdominus exercises
- Pelvic floor exercises
3-8 weeks post partum:
- Low impact aerobics
- Low intensity swimming or aerobics classes (provided that your bleeding has ceased)
- Transverse abdominus and pelvic floor exercises
NOTE: it is important to wait until your six week check up before returning to a group exercise class
8-12 weeks post partum:
- Slowly increase your intensity or weights from your exercise during weeks 3-8
- Progress your core exercises
12-16 weeks post partum:
- It may be safe to return to high-impact exercise, running, sport or abdominal exercises however it is best to visit a physiotherapist for a pelvic floor and abdominal check to ensure that you are safe to do so.
NOTE: Sit ups, curl ups, planks, hovers and mountain climbers are not recommended during the post partum period as they place pressure on the recovering muscles and may impact your recovery in a non-positive way.
These guidelines have been adapted from Pelvic Floor First – http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/pages/returning-to-sport-or-exercise-after-the-birth.html