Find out when it is safest to begin working out after having a C-section and get physical therapy expert advice on the best and worst exercises.


how long should I wear a postpartum belly wrap

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.



You just had a cesarean birth and you want to know when it is safe to begin working out after a  C-section.

You are absolutely determined to have a smooth recovery. You know it’s going to take time, but you want to do everything you can to speed up the recovery in the safest way possible.

Exercise is definitely a part of your postpartum journey goals, and now it’s time to figure out what is safe and what is not safe to do for your postpartum workout.

I’m a physical therapist and a mom of 4, and I will be answering all your C-section postpartum workout questions here in this article. Let’s dive in.

When Is It Safe To Start Working Out After Having A C-section?

The recommended time to begin working out after having a C-section is 6 weeks postpartum. But don’t just start right at the 6 week bench mark.

You need to get clearance from your doctor at your postpartum 6-week checkup first.

This is important because your doctor will check to see if you’re healing at the normal rate in which they expect your body to heal after having a baby. If you begin working out too soon, you are likely to cause injury and further harm to your body. 

Exercise During The 6-Week Postpartum Wait

You may be wondering…Is there any type of physical activity you can do while you are waiting for the 6 week postpartum check up?

I recommend focusing on light gentle walks, whether that’s in your neighborhood where there aren’t a ton of hills or on a treadmill set at a 0 degree incline. You want to avoid straining prior to 6 weeks. Again, the goal is to heal.

You can also incorporate light breathing exercises that can easily be done while sitting or walking. Breathing is a great way to decrease stress, relax the muscles and engage the diaphragmatic muscles within your core. 

When Is It Safe To Begin Working Out After Having A C-section?

What Exercises Are Safe To Do When Starting A C-section Workout During Postpartum Recovery?

Wondering what exercises you should start with as you begin strengthening your belly muscles after a C-section?

Well, you want to begin with gentle pelvic floor exercises that help engage the deep, inner core muscles of your belly. This is by far the #1 core exercise for any new mom, especially moms who just had a C-section. 

Other exercises that are safe to do after having a C-section include postural exercises that are gentle and don’t require a lot of movement such as isometric, or stable, contractions, breathing exercises and gentle walking. 

After mastering the first abdominal exercise that is the cornerstone to C-section recovery, then start these exercises for further core strengthening

Exercises To Avoid After Having A C-section Recovery

Exercises to avoid after having a C-section include any exercise that causes you to strain the abdominal muscles.

For example, if you are lying on your back and you lift your head off the floor, you are going to cause excessive strain to your abs.

The same goes for lifting both legs off the floor at the same time. That will strain the lower belly muscles.

Combine lifting the head and both legs together and you have a serious recipe for straining the core after having a C-section. So avoid those movements all together earlier on in your recovery process. 

Instead, remember to keep your head down.

When lifting one leg to perform a pelvic floor exercise, remember to contract your core muscles by flattening your back to stabilize your spine before doing any exercise. 

Other exercises to avoid that can pose harm to your body after having a C-section include intense HIIT and cardio-style workouts, crunches, planks, sit ups, oblique twists and Russian twists.

Physical Therapy Exercise Tips For C-section Recovery

The most important thing to remember is to not push your recovery by introducing intense workouts that are going to do more harm than good. Keep your workouts light, simple and short while avoiding any sense of straining to your body. Be aware of your pain levels and monitor your body’s response to exercise.

To get started with postpartum C-section core strengthening, try this physical therapy recommended exercise here.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

*It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.

how long should I wear a postpartum belly wrap

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