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Kegel exercises for new mums

Kegel exercises for new mums may be the most important aspect of your physical recovery after a pregnancy. Your pelvic floor muscles need to be strong to prevent stress incontinence when you cough, sneeze, lift or carry. Here are tips for easy exercises you can do to increase strength and muscle control.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – If your delivery was straightforward, you can start doing Kegel exercises immediately.
Kegel exercises for new mums may be the most important aspect of your physical recovery after a pregnancy.
Photo: Johnér

Your body has gone through great changes for about 40 weeks. You’ve carried your growing baby and then given birth. Both a vaginal delivery and a caesarean section are extremely physically demanding and you need time to recover.

At the risk of sounding ironic – try to set aside some time for relaxation!

When you add hormone fluctuations and caring for your newborn baby around the clock into the mix, one thing becomes crystal clear: some moments to yourself are a necessity not an indulgence!

A midwife explains: The first 48 hours after giving birth

The first six weeks – recovery

It’s important for any new mum who wants to regain her physical strength and stability after pregnancy and childbirth to see the first six weeks as a recovery period. At the risk of sounding ironic – try to set aside some time for relaxation, spend time bonding with your baby, and stick to gentle movements and Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. This is the basis for finding your balance again after your pregnancy.

This good advice comes from René Rodig’s Fitness Programme for new mums. He and his wife run mamifitness®; together they help soon-to-be and new mums to create good fitness habits.

More from mamifitness®: Exercise after a c-section

Runner Petra Månström’s tips: Post-natal exercise

Kegel exercises for new mums

Your pelvic floor consists of several layers of muscle which form a sling that supports your bladder, uterus and rectum. These muscles get stretched during your pregnancy and it can take up to a year for them to recover their former strength. Kegel exercises help you to tone these muscles, and avoid stress incontinence when you cough, sneeze, lift or carry.

Low-impact exercise, plenty of fluids and high-fibre foods.

If your delivery was straightforward, you can start doing Kegel exercises immediately; but you should consult your midwife if you have perineal tearing or a c-section incision that needs to heal first.

• Soft start: Gently tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for two seconds and then relax for two seconds. Repeat ten times. Do this three times a day.

• Strength: Strongly tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds and then relax for five seconds. Repeat ten times. Do this three times a day.

• Muscle control: Contract your pelvic floor muscles as tightly as you can for as long as you can. Aim for 60 seconds. Do this once a day.

Mamifitness® 6-week programme

Mamifitness® founder René recommends Kegel exercises and other low-impact exercise for the first six weeks after giving birth. Combine gentle exercise with plenty of fluids and high-fibre foods. It’s possible to do all these exercises while holding your baby. At the end of the article, René shows us some of the exercises in greater detail.

Also read! Post-pregnancy diet for new mums


  •        Week 1

Walk around the delivery ward/your home a little every day.

Try your best to stand, walk and sit as upright as you possibly can.

Do “vein exercises”¹, which are good for your blood circulation, two-three times a day.


  •      Week 2

Be as active as possible around your home every day and try to spend some time outdoors.

Do vein exercises two-three times a day.

Do Kegel exercises² once or twice a day. If you can already control your pelvic floor muscles, you can start with a basic exercise³ instead.


  •      Week 3

Go for a walk outdoors lasting 15-30 minutes once or twice a day. If you experience any tenderness or pain, reduce your walks to ten minutes.

Do vein exercises once or twice a day.

Do a basic exercise for five-ten minutes every day.


  •       Week 4

Long walks of 30-60 minutes once or twice a day. If you experience any tenderness or pain, reduce your walks to twenty minutes.

Do a basic exercise for five-ten minutes every day.


  •      Weeks 5 & 6

Long walks – walk as far as you and your baby are happy to go.

Do a basic exercise for five-ten minutes every day.

Read all our René Rodig articles

1. Vein exercises – to improve blood circulation

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – René Rodig shows us an exercise that improves your blood circulation after giving birth.
Good for your blood circulation. René writes numbers in the air with his son Malte, aged 8 months.
Photo: BabyBjörn

Sit leaning back on a soft surface with support for your back (particularly your lumbar region!). Keep your legs slightly bent. Do these three exercises.

A. Stretch out both your legs at the same time. Then pull both your legs towards you at the same time. Switch between stretching your legs out and pulling them in ten times.

B. Pull one knee towards your upper body as far as you comfortably can. Switch to the other knee. Repeat five times per leg.

C. Write the numbers 1-10 in the air with one foot. Let your ankle do all the work. Repeat with your other foot.

2. Kegel exercises – find your pelvic floor muscles

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Kegel exercises for brand new mums that you can do sitting on a chair either with or without your baby.
If your delivery was straightforward, you can start doing Kegel exercises immediately. Consult your midwife if you have perineal tearing or a c-section incision.
Photo: Johnér

An exercise that helps you find all three layers of muscle in your pelvic floor. Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor and your back straight. First do the exercise by yourself – once you’ve got the hang of it, you can hold your baby in your arms.

While exhaling: tighten your front and back pelvic floor muscles and pull in your sitting bones inwards/upwards. Stretch your back and push your heels towards the floor. Feel how your mid-section is taut and stable.

While inhaling: relax your back without bending it. Relax your front and back pelvic floor muscles and allow your sitting bones to glide apart. Feel how your whole mid-section becomes relaxed and heavy and drops down.

3. Basic exercise – pelvic floor workout

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – René Rodig from Mamifitness® shows us Kegel exercises that are good after giving birth.
Kegel exercises; René shows us one example of several possible basic exercises.
Photo: BabyBjörn

This exercise involves lifting your legs and contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Repeat 15 times on each side.

Breathe in through your nose. Press your palms against the floor and pull in your stomach muscles.

Breathe out through your mouth. Contract your front and back pelvic floor muscles inwards and upwards at the same time as you lift your legs off the floor. Keep your abdomen straight and steady: don’t tilt it backwards.

Source: Mamifitness, Vårdguiden [Swedish healthcare website/telephone service]