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Postnatal Series: Postnatal Exercise for the First Six Weeks

Postnatal Exercise for the First 6 Weeks

In this series Merrithew® Master Instructor Trainer Laureen Dubeau takes a look at postnatal fitness through the lens of STOTT PILATES®.

After a regular vaginal delivery, exercising can resume – with permission from a physician and after bleeding has ceased. The exercise program should focus on restoring stability and strength. Fatigue may be a factor, so be sure to start slowly. It will take some time to get back to pre-pregnancy condition.


  • Be sure all bleeding has stopped and stop exercising if it starts again. Energy levels may be low from caring for a new infant
  • Exercises should be gentle and focus on restoring strength and stability
  • Keep a constant focus on reactivation of the pelvic floor
  • Avoid prone positions (lying on the stomach) as breasts may be painful if breastfeeding
  • Avoid overworking the abdominal muscles if a diastasis recti has occurred (a separation of the abdominal muscles above the belly button at the midline)

Exercise: Leg Slides with Mini Stability Ball

Starting Position:

Lying supine (on the back), pelvis and spine in a neutral alignment, knees bent with one foot resting on a Mini Stability Ball, arms long by sides.

Movement 1:

  • Breathe in and roll the ball away pressing down slightly
  • Breathe out and roll the ball back in
  • Keep the abdominals engaged throughout
  • Repeat 8-10 times on each side

Note: If you feel the lower back arching up away from the floor, do the exercise in an imprinted position – tighten the abdominals and gently press the lower back down onto the mat. Keep this position throughout the exercise

Movement 2:

  • Start with both feet on top of the Mini Stability Ball and the spine imprinted
  • Breathe in and roll the ball away, only as far as the imprinted position can be maintained
  • Breathe out and roll the ball back in
  • Repeat 8-10 times on each side

Additional Exercise Options:

Offering on Reformer, Side Kick Stretch on Cadillac, Footwork on Stability Chair

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