Five Easy Postpartum Exercises You Can Do Throughout Your Day with Baby

Five Easy Postpartum Exercises You Can Do Throughout Your Day with Baby

I remember our hospital classes covering every trick for changing diapers and all the stages of labor, but not once did they mention the words “pelvic floor” or “abdominal separation". File these two under the many things they fail to tell expecting moms to be aware of once they are no longer expecting!
Up to 60% of new moms experience diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation, yet so little is taught on how to repair our bodies. It is also rarely discussed in the single postpartum doctor's visit US women typically have. 
Nine months of the baby growing and pushing down and outwards can take a toll on the pelvic floor (aka the hammock of muscles supporting your organs) and your abdominal connections. It can sound weird and scary and it is a bit freaky to feel a gap between your muscles in your abs when you flex; however, repairing both does not have to be scary.

Try these five exercises to repair and strengthen as you go through your day with your baby. 




One of the easiest to integrate into your everyday life with baby, when you are walking around with your stroller “suck it in” s strongly as possible with your abdominals, focusing on your lower abdominals. Consistently doing this will strengthen your pelvic floor to better support your hips as you walk. At first, practice doing this for a block or two at a time and then lengthen as you strengthen. 


Elevator breaths are a great exercise to do while nursing your baby or during long periods of baby cuddles. Visualize your belly as an elevator. Sitting up straight or lying down flat on your back take a deep belly breath to fill your abdomen up with air to the “top floor”. Then with five sharp exhales, contract your abs in small increments down the “floors” until your stomach is all the way flat and contracted on the “base floor”. With your stomach contracted, hold it as tightly as possible for a few seconds. Then release and repeat 4-6 times. As a bonus, deep breathing also helps promote letdown while nursing.


Great for soothing a crying baby, stand and cradle your baby against your chest with your legs spread out wide and your toes facing slightly out. Lower into a sumo squat holding your baby and bounce three times. Then rise slowly to a stand, focusing on the sense of “zipping up” from the base of your pelvic floors (think Kegel contractions!) through your abs. Inhale while bouncing and exhale while zipping up. Repeat 4-6 times.


Another fun exercise with baby, this one is a spin on the hip bridge. Laying on your back with your knees up and feet on the floor, place your baby on your lower abs sitting and facing you. Push up into a hip bridge while positioning your baby on your upper thighs and supported by both of your hands. It is similar to a regular hip bridge, except now you should focus on “zipping up” and contracting from the base of your pelvic floor through your abs. Gently lower and raise, focusing on the zipper feeling every time you go up and hold briefly at the top to connect with your baby through a smile or silly face. Repeat for three sets of 5-10 bridges. 


For those endless hours sitting and breastfeeding, this one both gets your circulation moving and repairs your pelvic floor. While sitting up straight with your feet on the floor, focus on slowly lifting one leg while keeping it at a 90-degree angle. As you lift the leg, focus on the movement's connection with your lower abdominals and use them to stabilize the leg. Repeat alternating slides like a slow march. Find yourself lying down and cuddling a sleeping baby? You can do a version of this on your back as toe taps by slowly lowering and raising each leg at a 90-degree angle. 


Avoid any ab exercises that involve two legs. I have even seen these in baby & me classes taught by instructors unaware of abdominal separation. To adapt the exercises, convert to one leg at a time instead. 
Also, avoid any bouncing exercises that make you leak, leaking is a sign your pelvic floor is not yet strong enough to support the pressure. No shame in alternating-leg jumping jacks! 
Finally, an estimated 20% of women experience severe pelvic floor damage. There are professional pelvic floor therapists that are often covered by insurance, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local mommy group for recommendations!