The postpartum period often comes with physical and emotional challenges. The demands of caring for a newborn, coupled with hormonal changes and sleep deprivation, can contribute to profound feelings of exhaustion in new mothers. One effective way to support postpartum recovery is through Pilates—a low-impact exercise method that focuses on strengthening the core, improving flexibility, and promoting overall well-being. (1)

The Role of Pilates in Postpartum Recovery

Pilates is an ideal exercise method for postpartum recovery due to its emphasis on controlled movements, breath awareness, and core strengthening. Here are some key benefits:

  • Alleviates and prevents back pain - targets spine-supporting muscles, counteracting strain from pregnancy, and redistributing pressure around the spine, pelvis, and hips.
  • Enhances posture - fortifies muscles supporting the spine, countering poor posture habits that may arise from pregnancy, breastfeeding, and lifting the baby.
  • Tones abdominal muscles - focuses on tightening abdominal and oblique muscles, promoting healthy fat burning for a firmer stomach.
  • Promotes gentle exercise - postnatal Pilates is a low-impact activity, minimizing stress on joints, especially crucial after the additional strain of carrying a baby during and after pregnancy.
  • Strengthens and stabilizes the core - a central tenet of postnatal Pilates, essential for recovering from the stretching and weakening of core muscles during pregnancy. (2)

Pilates Exercises for Postpartum Women3

a. Pelvic Tilts: A gentle movement to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles.

b. Leg Slides: Helps engage the core and improve hip flexibility.

c. Bridge Exercise: Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back while promoting pelvic stability.

d. Modified Hundreds: A modified version of the classic Pilates Hundreds exercise, focusing on controlled breathing and core engagement.

When to Start Pilates Postpartum

Pilates are deemed safe and suitable for all women approximately six weeks after giving birth (postnatal). However, if you underwent a caesarean section, it is advisable to wait until after your postnatal check-up before initiating these exercises. Once given the green light, starting with gentle exercises and gradually progressing is key to a safe and effective postpartum fitness plan.


  1. National Library of Medicine - (Ashrafinia #)