The best advice is to listen to your body and your doctor.
About a week after she gave birth, while her newborn son Leonardo was taking a nap, Hilaria Baldwin squeezed in a run. "I gave myself the goal of 5-10 min to jog. I surprised myself and did 23 minutes," she captioned a sweaty selfie on Instagram last Thursday. "I feel great and refreshed."
But a few days later, the yoga star took to Insta again to express her frustration over flak she caught for exercising so soon.
"The body has to heal, even in perfect birthing conditions," one person had commented on Baldwin's pic. "Uterus recovering, pelvic floor needs to strengthen again, relaxin hormone pulsing through system and making joints loose, milk production ramping up production, and already running," another person said about the 32-year-old mom of three.
Baldwin responded in an impassioned post, pointing out that every body is different: "My pregnancy, birth, and recovery is between ME AND MY DOCTOR," she said. "So please: stop with the negativity about me just having a baby."
While it might seem like all new mothers would need a good deal of time to recuperate, there is no one-size-fits-all healing period after a vaginal birth, says Jen Gunter, MD, an ob-gyn based in San Francisco. "If Ms. Baldwin's body tells her she is ready, that is great," she wrote in an email to Health.
"I am sure [Baldwin] was in excellent physical shape beforehand," Dr Gunter added, "so she might be able to do more sooner that someone who was less physically active before and during her pregnancy."
Baldwin, too, credited the fact that she has always been fit, and exercised throughout her pregnancy: "Fitness is my job…. Which means my body is accustomed to working out," she wrote on Instagram. "I don’t want to sit down, lay down and do nothing. That’s not what my body is telling me it wants and needs."
The reality is that every woman's experience truly is unique. “Of course someone who has a large tear and was in labor for 36 hours may have a longer road back to exercise than someone who had no stitches and a six hour labor and delivery," Dr. Gunter said.
"The best advice is to let your body be your guide, just go slow," she explained. And obviously, she added, you should consult with your doc.