Nurturing Strength: A Guide to Returning to Strength Training After Giving Birth

By Dr. Christine Martirez PT, DPT on 5/1/2024

strength training

After the miraculous journey of pregnancy and childbirth, many women are eager to reclaim their strength and fitness levels. However, returning to strength training postpartum requires a thoughtful and gradual approach to ensure optimal recovery and pelvic floor health. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of safely reintroducing strength training after giving birth and how pelvic floor therapy can serve as a valuable resource in this process.

Understanding Postpartum Recovery

The postpartum period is a time of physical and emotional adjustment for new mothers. While the body is incredibly resilient, it undergoes significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth, including:

  • Pelvic Floor Weakness:

    Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Muscle Imbalances:

    Changes in posture, hormone levels, and abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti) can contribute to muscle imbalances and instability.

  • Joint Instability:

    Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can affect joint laxity, increasing the risk of injury during exercise.

  • Fatigue and Recovery:

    Sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, and the demands of caring for a newborn can impact energy levels and recovery.

Returning to Strength Training Safely

  • Listen to Your Body:

    Pay attention to how your body feels and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Start with low-impact exercises and focus on form and technique.

  • Core and Pelvic Floor Awareness:

    Prioritize exercises that engage the core and pelvic floor muscles, such as pelvic tilts, gentle abdominal bracing, and pelvic floor contractions (Kegels).

  • Progressive Overload:

    Gradually increase the intensity and resistance of your workouts over time to challenge your muscles while avoiding overexertion.

  • Rest and Recovery:

    Allow adequate time for rest and recovery between workouts, especially in the early postpartum period when sleep deprivation and fatigue are common.

  • Seek Professional Guidance:

    Consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist who can assess your pelvic floor function and provide personalized recommendations for returning to strength training safely.

The Role of Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor therapy plays a vital role in postpartum recovery and returning to strength training:

  • Assessment:

    A pelvic floor physical therapist can assess the strength, coordination, and function of your pelvic floor muscles to identify any areas of weakness or dysfunction.

  • Individualized Treatment:

    Based on the assessment, your therapist can develop a customized treatment plan to address pelvic floor issues and guide your return to strength training.

  • Education:

    Pelvic floor therapy provides valuable education on proper body mechanics, breathing techniques, and pelvic floor activation strategies during exercise to prevent injury and promote optimal function.

  • Hands-On Techniques:

    Your therapist may use hands-on techniques such as manual therapy and biofeedback to improve pelvic floor muscle function and coordination.

  • Continued Support:

    Pelvic floor therapy offers ongoing support and guidance throughout your postpartum journey, helping you navigate the physical and emotional challenges of returning to exercise.

Returning to strength training after giving birth is an empowering journey that requires patience, perseverance, and proper guidance. By listening to your body, prioritizing pelvic floor health, and seeking support from a pelvic floor physical therapist, you can safely rebuild your strength and confidence postpartum. Remember to honor your body's needs, celebrate your progress, and embrace the journey of postpartum recovery with compassion and self-care.

Looking to get back into strength training and looking for postpartum guidance? Reach out to us at Pelvic Health Center in Madison, NJ to set up an evaluation and treatment! Feel free to call us at 908-443-9880 or email us at

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