I have had a few people ask me about exercising after a c section.
In order to answer their questions, I headed over to a fellow fitness professional, Jago Holmes, who has been training ladies that have been recovering from a c section for years to see if he could share some tips on exercising after a c section.
Here are some tips from Jago…
C (caesarean) section births are becoming more common these days for a wide variety of reasons ranging from:
- a fear of the pain of delivery
- designing the perfectly timed birth
- emergency birth
The c section technique was originally developed for emergency births because the baby may have to be removed as quickly as possible to avoid potential harm to either the mother or baby.
There are certain things that can be done to help promote recovery and repair the damage after a c section but unfortunately many women do the wrong things when it relates to exercise.
Damage to the Abs Is Not As Bad as People Think
The damage and injury caused to the abs after c section isn’t as bad as most people think because the incision used during a typical c section doesn’t normally cut through the muscles, it’s just the outer sheath covering the abdominal muscles (aponeurosis) which is affected. After the incision into the sheath, both sides of the rectus abdominus muscles are pulled apart.
When the baby has been taken out, the rectus sheath is repaired and then the muscles are realigned. From this point onwards the recovery of the abdominals is exactly the same as for a vaginal birth.
For both types of delivery, the muscles will start to realign themselves within three to four days.
During this time only pelvic tilting exercises should be performed which will help to further tighten, strengthen and realign the abdominal muscles.
Within about six weeks the abdominal muscles should have fully recovered however this could take much more time if they were weak before the c section or the pelvic tilting techniques have not been practiced on a regular basis.
When to Start Pelvic Tilting Exercises after a C Section?
Pelvic tilting exercises should start immediately after delivery.
Pelvic tilting exercises are gentle movements which can be done seated, standing or lying. They don’t require a lot of effort, but can make a huge difference in the speed of recovery, but also the firmness of the abdominal area.
An Exercise You Should NOT Do if You Have Had a C Section
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you do sit ups or curl ups after a c section until the abdominal muscles have realigned and recovered.
Doing this could lead to potential damaging of the stomach as the gap between the muscles may be forced apart, possibly stretching the muscles wider, leading to long term damage.
9 Things to Remember When Exercising After a C Section
- It is quite normal to feel numbness around the abdomen and a tingling or tightening around the scar, but you should be fine to do the pelvic tilting exercises.
- If you do have any concerns about exercising after a c section, please do contact your primary medical provider.
- Trying to stay mobile and routinely performing pelvic tilting and pelvic floor exercises will help speed up your c section recovery time and allow you to be more active much sooner.
- After a c section delivery, doctors recommend that you should wait 8 – 10 weeks before doing any formal or more intense exercise. This will depend on your fitness level prior to the c section and how you have recovered from the c section. Consult your primary medical provider on what exercise intensity if best for you at this time.
- You must protect your scar and abdominal area as much as possible and you should use caution whenever moving around or getting up and down from sitting or lying to standing.
- GREAT CARE should be given to certain everyday tasks and activities such as getting out of bed, getting up off the floor, climbing out of the bath, lifting heavy objects and walking up and down stairs etc.
- Take your time getting up, roll on to your side for support and then push with your arms to avoid placing extra stress on the weakened back and abdominal muscles. ALWAYS AVOID A FULL MOVEMENT from lying or sitting to standing. Instead break the movement down in to three parts.
- The essential factor in working your stomach muscles is to always tilt the pelvis backwards and pull the muscles in tightly throughout the entire exercise.
- Pelvic tilting exercises are not the same as pelvic floor exercises, but can be performed at the same time with a little practice.
That is it.
I hope this gives you a start on what to do when exercising after a c section.
Here is a little information on Jago.
Jago Holmes is a certified personal trainer with over 10 years experience working with moms who have given birth by c section. He has created an easy to use and highly effective system that every new mom can use to tone and flatten their baby belly and safely speed up their c section recovery.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Jago’s exercise after c-section program.
It is Rick again. Thanks for reading this guest blog post.
Please do share your experience with c section and exercise or if you have some tips of your own, please do share in the comments below.