When is the right time to start exercise after birth?

If you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal delivery, it's generally safe to begin exercising a few days after giving birth or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section, extensive vaginal repair or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.

Try these four exercises to help with postpartum recovery:

1. Side planks

Side planks focus on tightening the deep abs without the downward pressure on the belly.

Lie on floor on your right side, legs stacked, torso propped on right elbow. Lift hips so body forms a line; reach left arm up. Hold for 30 seconds (shown above). Switch sides; repeat. Work up to 1 minute per side.

A new mom doing side planks wearing Sweat and Milk's Camelia Nursing Sports Tank Bra in pink.

2. Clamshell

This strengthens your hips and glutes to help support the lower back.

Lie on floor on right side, head resting in right hand. Bend knees 90 degrees in front of you and lift both feet together off floor. Open knees to create diamond shape with legs (shown above), then close. Do 20 reps without dropping feet. Do 3 sets.

3. Cat-Cow

This classic opens up those tight belly and back muscles.

Begin on floor on all fours. Inhale as you arch your back, and gaze forward. Exhale as you round back and bring head into chest (shown above). Do 10 reps.

4. Happy baby yoga pose.

Your pelvic muscles can tighten and become painful after childbirth. This yoga pose can help relax and gently stretch your muscles to relieve pain.

Lie on your back and bring your knees toward your chest. Open your knees slightly wider than your hips. Keeping your arms on the inside of your knees, use your hands to hold onto the outside of your feet or ankles. Bend your knees so that the bottoms of your feet face upward and gently pull your feet downward to lower your knees toward the surface. Focus on relaxing your pelvic muscles as you work toward holding this pose for about 90 seconds.

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