Sleep, Rest, and Exercise After Giving Birth

Sleep, Rest, and Exercise After Giving Birth

It is normal to feel tired during the first weeks after birth. During this time, you are getting used to being a mother. Your sleep pattern is changing to meet the needs of a new baby and the needs of your body as it heals.

  • If your bleeding gets heavier, slow down your activity.
  • Limit how many people you allow to visit.
  • Get a lot of rest in the first few weeks.
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps.
  • Do not lift things that weigh more than your baby for the first few weeks and avoid heavy housework, laundry, or shopping.
  • Let other people help around the house and care for other children.
  • Do more when you feel like it but do not push yourself.

Resuming exercise or incorporating new exercise routines after delivery is essential in supporting lifelong healthy habits. Exercise routines may be resumed gradually after pregnancy as soon as medically safe, depending on the mode of delivery (vaginal or cesarean birth) and the presence or absence of medical or surgical complications. Some women can resume physical activities within days of delivery.

Pelvic floor exercises can be initiated in the immediate postpartum period. Abdominal strengthening exercises, a maneuver that increases abdominal pressure by pulling in the abdominal wall muscles, have been shown to decrease the incidence of diastasis recti abdominous and decrease the inter-rectus distance in women who gave birth vaginally or by cesarean birth.

Regular aerobic exercise in lactating women improves maternal cardiovascular fitness without affecting milk production, composition, or infant growth. Women who are lactating should consider feeding their infants or expressing milk before exercising to avoid the discomfort of engorged breasts. They also should ensure adequate hydration before commencing physical activity.