When can I start exercising after delivery?

Typically, if you’re ready to start a fitness routine, you should check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you to begin exercising, especially if you have had a C-section.

If your goal is weight loss, consistent exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to lose weight and return to your "pre-pregnant" weight. But don’t over-do it. A one to two pound weight loss per week is the healthiest rate of weight loss. It's not uncommon for it to take up to 12 months for you to return to your previous weight.

How do I pick an exercise routine?

Here are some questions you can think about before choosing an exercise routine:

  • What physical activities do I enjoy?
  • Do I prefer group or individual activities?
  • Are there any activities I can do with my baby?
  • What programs best fit my schedule?
  • Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
  • What goals do I have in mind? (e.g., losing weight, strengthening muscles, or improving flexibility)

How do I get started?

When starting out, you should plan a routine that is easy to follow and stay with. As the program becomes more routine, you can vary your exercise times and activities.

  • Choose an activity you enjoy. Exercising should be fun and not a chore. You might even be able to include your baby. Try jogging or walking with the stroller, and think of your little bundle of joy as a 12+pound weight. Exercise can double as playtime.
  • Schedule regular exercise into your daily routine. Add a variety of exercises so you do not get bored.
  • Abdominal exercises will be most effective after six weeks.
  • Stick with it. If you exercise regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle.
  • If you feel you need supervision or medical advice to begin an exercise program, ask your doctor.
  • A general rule after C-sections is to not lift weights heavier than your baby (6 to 10 pounds) in the first 6 to 8 weeks.

Stop exercising and call your doctor if you have:

  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Increased vaginal bleeding
  • Faintness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue and muscle weakness

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/01/2018.


  • The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Exercise after pregnancy. (http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-After-Pregnancy) Accessed 2/4/2019.
  • NHS Choices. Keeping fit and healthy with a baby. (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/keeping-fit-and-healthy.aspx) Accessed 2/4/2019.
  • Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Postnatal exercise – sample workout. (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/postnatal-exercise-sample-workout) Accessed 2/4/2019.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy