Rosie is an experienced Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga and Infant Massage Instructor working in East London. Here she shares advice about how to help the body to heal after birth and reintroduce exercise.


Last year I was watching an episode of Planet Earth and was struck by the story of a flamingo. In contrast to the other flamingo’s this one had white feathers, as Attenborough explained, because she had raised child a year ago. Flamingos get their pink colour from the food they eat, which affects the pigment of their feathers, but this flamingo, still in her postpartum recovery period, had not yet got her colour back. David didn’t say a year after falling pregnant, or even a year after giving birth, but a year after raising a chick.

It struck me that if this postpartum recovery period were more visible for us, there mightn’t be so much pressure for new parents to ‘get their bodies back’, ditch the ‘mum tum’ etc.

There is a lot going on for new parents which we can’t see from the outside but that will affect their healing period and return to ‘normal’ activity. Everyone will have their own experience of their bodies in this time, but these are a few things to be aware of when deciding what kind of activity would best support your recovery.


During and after pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin which helps the muscles and connective tissues of the body to become more flexible in order to birth the baby. After birth it can leave joints feeling a bit ‘loose’ and there is a tendency to overextend in stretching.


The pelvic floor comes under pressure during pregnancy, and some degree of weakness and even prolapse is possible after birth. This applies for caesarian births as well! Rebuilding the strength of the pelvic floor is important before starting any high impact activities such as jumping and running.


Around 70% of birthing people will experience some degree of abdominal separation during pregnancy, where the superficial ‘six pack’ muscles come apart.

Given the right support these will come back together of their own accord, but high intensity exercise abs exercises, like crunches, can reinforce the separation and make this recovery longer.


None of these are things that anyone around you can see, and you could be forgiven for thinking the answer to them is MORE activity. But in order to rebuild strength and integrity, it is better to start small and then progress. Low intensity exercise where you can focus on refined and controlled movement are a good place to start, walking, postnatal yoga and pilates and swimming. Once you have better support from the pelvic floor and abdominals then you can reintroduce other activities, keeping an eye out for any warning signs that you might be going in too hard.


In my class I provide a space where new parents can come together and work on rebuilding this foundational strength, as well as stretching out tight head, neck and shoulders. Classes are informal and you can jump in and out as you need. We also include baby massage and yoga for your babies, which can help them with their physical and emotional development.

I will be running a 5 week course at Tracks E7 from 8th March, space is limited, find out more or book here.

JC Candanedo