Activity After Intestinal Transplant

In the hospital, your child may be given an exercise routine by a physical therapist. The exercise will focus on different components of exercise, including:

  • Aerobics: Works on getting the heart rate up and condition the lungs and respiratory system, helping to increase your child’s stamina.


  • Flexibility: This helps to reduce stiffness and increase muscle stretching.


  • Strengthening: This helps your child build muscle strength.


  • You can continue this exercise regimen once you go home to keep your child active and continue to increase their strength and stamina.


For the first three months after your child's transplant, heavy lifting and vigorous sports are restricted. By one-year post-transplant, your child should be able to return to most regular sports. Some sports like football, hockey, and wrestling should be avoided. They involve direct, rough contact which could cause injury or internal damage.


Other physical activity is encouraged, as well. Routine childhood activities like biking, swimming, t-ball and hiking should be resumed within the first year depending on your child's rate of recovery and the reccomendations of your transplant team. 


It is important to note that if your child experiences any pain or shortness of breath during activity to inform them to stop the activity. If the symptoms persist, call your transplant team right away.


It is also important to realize that your child will still tire more easily than other children his or her age. Even though they may feel better than they did before, their body is still healing from a major operation. It is normal for your child to want days of rest or ‘non-activity’ days. Do not see these days as a set-back or as a day to make you worry. If your child has multiple days of rest in a row and it seems as though their energy level has taken a complete 180, then it may warrant a call to the transplant team to make sure something else isn’t going on.