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  • Writer's pictureJen Curtis

The Ultimate Guide to Early Stages of Recovery Post-partum

Q&A: Hi Jen… I just gave birth two days ago and I’m wondering which exercises I can already start doing for pelvic floor strengthening and DR rehab. I recall during our training session that you said there are some things that can be done right from the beginning. If you have any video resources even better!

Hey Ilana. Thanks for the question. First of all, Congrats! And secondly, well done for being so pro-active with recovery!!

I’m going to do my very best to answer your question as I think it’s really important and can benefit lots of others in this group, but please be warned! It’s not that simple and it might not be the answer that you’re hoping for… And it’s looooong!

It’s really important to point out that you only gave birth a week ago, so your body has a lot of healing to do. It’s really important to give it the rest that it needs, and you shouldn’t be starting any kind of exercise programme before getting the all clear from your doctor at your 6 week check-up.


Before prescribing any exercises for recovery, any professional working with post-partum women would need to ask the following questions:

1. Did you have a vaginal delivery? Were there any tears/stitches? What grade? How are they healing? Episiology? Is the pelvic floor actually weak? (it might not be…)

2. Did you have a C-section? How is the scar healing?

3. Do you have an abdominal separation? How wide is it? How deep is it? How does it react to different exercises (does it bulge or “tent”?)

4. Can you do a pelvic floor contraction? Is it even? (Is one side weaker than the other?)

5. Do you have even a mild grade of prolapse?

6. How much are you sleeping?

I don’t expect you to answer these kinds of questions here of course! But just so you know that these are the kinds of questions that a trained professional has in mind (or should have in mind) that will dictate exercise selection.

There are only a few things that I can really suggest at this stage, ESPECIALLY at this stage after birth and without having the answers to the questions above (and without actually seeing you with my own eyes).


1. Breathing.

Diaphragmatic breathing (or the “Piston Breath”) into the belly and pelvic floor. This ensures that the tissues are moving through a small range of motion constantly and will assist with healing.

Most people breath up into their chest (aptly-named chest-breathing), and often the tummy actually comes IN on the inhale (paradoxical breathing). We want to flip this around.

You can practice this lying on your back: On the in-breath, your diaphragm should descend, essentially pushing all your abdominal organs downwards (towards your feet). This should cause your belly to rise and your pelvic floor to gently relax and descend. On the exhale, the opposite will happen: your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles will recoil to where they were, and your diaphragm will relax and go back up into your ribcage.

You do not have to pull your belly in or do a pelvic floor contraction with the breath.

This is the first way in which we can start to engage these muscles to help them heal. The breath is their first function (look at your baby!)