Every miscarriage is different. For most women, figuring out the best way to heal afterward can be complicated. Once your doctor clears you for physical activity, though, exercise may relieve stress or anxiety, improve energy levels, and help you regain a sense of balance during this difficult time. Exercise also makes you feel good—which is yet another reason to learn how you can safely work out after a miscarriage.
Give yourself time to recover and heal.
More than anything, experts recommend giving your body plenty of time to mend. “Your body needs time to recover,” explains Dr. Alison Mitzner. “Your body is going through a lot of physical changes, hormonal changes, and your emotions are also heightened during this difficult time. Take the time to heal,” she says.
The amount of recovery time for each person varies, depending on a couple factors: when your miscarriage occurred and any physical symptoms that might be lingering. With a first trimester miscarriage, it’s common for your body to return to its normal state somewhat quickly, so you can get back to usual workouts (unless your doctor advises otherwise). If your pregnancy loss occurred during the second or third trimester, any healthcare provider will likely recommend that you wait longer before working out.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, including bleeding, spotting, or pain in either your abdomen or breasts, allow them to subside before returning to exercise. This will help your body avoid unnecessary complications during the healing process. Embrace the downtime and allow your body to fully recoup.
Talk to your doctor before returning to your exercise routine.
“Typically, you can resume within two weeks or so, but this can vary,” says Dr. Mitzner. “Always be sure to speak to your doctor before starting exercise, and [he or she] will advise [you as to] when you’re able to resume. Focus more on how the exercise will make you feel than any weight loss, too. There are many benefits physically and emotionally.”
Aaptiv trainer Jaime McFaden says exercise is safe, as long as your doctor has cleared you and you’re listening to your body along the way. “Our bodies are incredible and can recover fairly quickly from trauma. Exercise helps combat anxiety and stress, which can be good after a loss.”
Start slow, and listen to your body.
Even though you could be tempted to go all-in as soon as you get the green light, try to resist the urge to push yourself, says McFaden. Instead, aim for gentle, low-impact activities, such as walking or yoga. Then, slowly add in moderately intense exercise like cycling or strength training as you rebuild your endurance. Consider adding meditation to the mix to support your overall mental health.
“You may want to start with light exercises and low-impact exercises depending on how you are feeling,” says Dr. Mitzner. “You know your body best. If you start feeling worse, you may need to back down the intensity or amount and slowly work your way back up to your normal exercise routines. Any exercise that will get you moving helps, not only for your physical well-being but to boost your mood, too.”
Dr. Mitzner advises that women pay close attention to how they’re feeling upon resuming exercise. Signs to slow down include feeling out of breath, lightheaded, or sick. If you start experiencing cramps, bleeding, or other symptoms, you should stop working out and talk to your healthcare provider.