Firm Foundations™ – Pregnancy and Postnatal Fitness

Post natal Exercises Level 1
(0 - 3 weeks)

Each exercise should be done at your own comfort level. You should feel no pain or discomfort while doing any of these exercises. Check that your posture and form are in good alignment and breathe easily with each exercise. Holding your breath can put downwards pressure on your pelvic floor. Make sure that with any exercise your pelvic floor is able to lift and hold, otherwise it is too hard for you at the moment. Wait until your pelvic floor control improves and then come back to that exercise a few weeks later.

Make sure that you feel your pelvic floor muscles gently relax after you hold them. If you do not, it means that your muscles may be either letting go before you release, or that you are not relaxing them properly. Focus first on your hold time being easy and comfortable, and then let go, feeling the muscles release after each exercise.

Disclaimer: This exercise handout is not intended to replace the advice of a health and fitness professional who can tailor your program specifically to your health and fitness needs.

Photos and models by Fitness, Form and Function and Stuart Frost Photography

1Side lying pelvic floor and PN abdominal bracing

Starting position

Lying on your side, focus on the inside lifting your pelvic floor muscles first and then draw in your lower abdominal muscles.  Hold this for 1 - 2 seconds first while breathing easily and aim to build up by one second at a time until you can hold for 10 seconds, and can repeat 10 times with a 10 second rest between each one. This can sometimes take a few months.

2Sitting Pelvic Floor and PN Abdominal Bracing

Starting position

Start this exercise when you are comfortable sitting down. Sit tall and focus on your pelvic floor muscles. Lift slowly, hold them and relax. Check that you are still breathing normally while you do this. Work on this first. When you can lift and hold your pelvic floor without holding your breath, then start to hold your pelvic floor for longer, starting with a 2 - 3 second hold and aiming to increase this by one second at a time until you can hold for 10 seconds. Build up to doing 10 in a row, with a 10 second rest in between each one.

3Standing PN abdominal bracing

Starting position

Stand in front of a mirror with your feet facing forwards. Make the weight even on both feet. Check your position and stand tall. Lift your chest, face your head forward and gently draw in your lower abdominal muscles. Hold for 2 - 3 seconds if you can and relax slowly. Repeat 2 - 3 times and build up to longer holds, first aiming for 5 seconds, and then building up over time to a 10 second hold.