How to Ease Into a Fitness Routine After Baby

How to Ease Into a Fitness Routine After Baby

As a NASM CPT Certified Trainer and PROnatal (Levels I & II) and AFAA Perinatal Specialist, my clients come to me to get back on their feet after delivery. Exercise is a game-changer for not only your physical health (boosts energy levels, helps you sleep better, great for your cardiovascular fitness), but mental health (releasing endorphins to help navigate postpartum depression and simply feeling a sense of accomplishment through personal goal setting), as you navigate this huge life change. But how quickly in the fourth trimester can you get back to killin’ it in the gym? Here are my top tips for easing back into a steady fitness routine after the little one arrives:

Get Cleared by Your Doctor

I can’t stress this enough. Before you do ANYTHING strenuous on your body, especially if you’ve had a C-section or a complicated birth, please check in with the people who have many degrees in this stuff! Most women are cleared 4-6 weeks after delivery. In most cases, however, prior to getting clearance, you should be able to do some core breathing and pelvic exercises. I highly recommend it!

Give Yourself Some Grace

The first three months after delivery are titled many things: postpartum, the fourth trimester. But let’s be honest, it’s basically called SURVIVAL. Before you start any fitness routine, I ask you to take a breath and acknowledge that your body just went through a LOT and that it’s going to take substantial time to get back to the physical level you were at pre-baby. Lots of stuff is happening during survival time: you’ve got a dramatic drop in hormones, you might be breastfeeding and maneuvering through boob engorgement, not to mention you’re barely getting any shut eye at all. Letting your body heal internally and externally from this dramatic bodily shift is really the focus here. And what’s three months in the grand scheme of life? It’s nothing. So be kind to yourself, and set realistic goals that make you feel damn good. You deserve it!

Start Slow

Once you’re cleared by your doctor, check yourself for diastasis recti and continue to monitor it as you increase your fitness routine. Start slowly with movements you were doing in your third trimester. I recommend strength training with light weights and/or body weight. Think about the daily functional movement you will be performing when you have a bigger baby to carry around. Work on posture for the baby bjorn, strengthen your back and shoulder muscles for hinging over to give baby a bath, and work your lunges and squats for when you’re holding your little one and squatting to pick up the pacifier they repeatedly drop on the ground.

Bring in Reinforcements

Ask for help from your partner to carve time out for YOU to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. This time can also look like working with a Pre & Post Natal-Certified

Trainer (hi!) to help safely guide you back into your fitness routine, and serve as an emotional support system/friend in your corner who is dedicated to you and your body.

Listen To Your Body & Rebuild Your Core

Oh those abs! If you have severe separation, I recommend working with an expert, either a physical therapist or a Pre/Post Natal Specialist. If you have mild to minimal separation, your core breathing technique will be your new go-to exercise. Use it as you strength train! Add in functional movement that specifically activates your core: hip bridges, squats, deadlifts, and balancing exercises. One of my favorites is balancing on one foot while doing bicep curls. Overall, let time be your friend! Slowly add more weight as you feel stronger (and you will!).

Don’t Compare Your Journey to Others

Friends. Remember that Instagram is a highlight reel and not the day-to-day. Take YOUR journey day by day, put in the work, and stay away from the comparative media that makes you feel less than. Focus on your body, your needs, and if you need a cookie every now and then because parenting is hard, EAT THE COOKIE.

Amanda Butler is an NYC-based personal trainer, fitness instructor, and fitness model. NASM CPT, PROnatal (Levels I & II), AFAA Perinatal, AFAA Group Fitness, KettleBell Concepts, CPR/AED, TRX, and Nutritious Life Nutrition Certified and proud mother of three, she’s always on the move and rewards herself with a weekly Levain cookie, split with her husband Pablo. Follow Amanda on Instagram or visit her website for more health & fitness tips.

Nanit is dedicated to delivering high-quality, reliable content for our readers. Our Parent Confidently articles are crafted by experienced parenting contributors and are firmly rooted in data and research. To ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, all articles undergo a rigorous review process by our team of parenting experts. Additionally, our wellness-related content receives further scrutiny from Nanit Lab, our think tank of scientists, engineers, physicians, academic experts, and thought leaders.

Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.