Home > Body > Health > Recovering From A C-Section – An Inside, Out Job!

About a quarter of the UK’s births are currently via C-section, however, unlike other major abdominal surgery, you don’t go home to rest and recover, but to start life as a new mum with all the demands a new born brings!

So what are the key things you can do to aid in your recovery and get back to feeling reconnected with your body?

The first couple of weeks:

Rest:

If you’d had your appendix out, you’d be recuperating, so in between caring for baby get as much rest as you can.

Walk:

Not a hike, but a walk round the block will reduce any risk of post op blood clots and fresh air is always a win.

Watch for infection:

Any sign that your scars not healing well get checked out by your health care provider.

Constipation:

Avoiding this is important, for healing and overall health. Post op you might find it takes a few days to settle back down to normal. Help yourself by keeping your fluids and fibre rich foods up to aid in bowl movement. If this persists abdominal massage can also help.

Avoid:

Lifting anything heavier than your baby.

You’ve started to heal, what next?

The Scar:

Your scar is just the bit you can see and under the skin there is a lot more healing taking place. During the healing adhesions form, initially good (to close the wound) they can cause potential issues as they bind to organs and tissues in the pelvis: incontinence, pelvic pain, and back pain. Women also often find that they experience pulling or restrictions in the area, when getting back to moving more. Once you feel comfortable to do so, start reconnecting with your body by gently massaging the stomach (no need to go directly on the scar to start with) , above and below the scar and once t has fully healed on the scar too. I’ve worked with lots of women who have expressed a lack of ‘connection’ or feeling ‘like that bits not there’ in relation to their tummy post c-section. This is often accompanied with poor core control, stress incontinence and other issues. During a c-section recovery session , I teach my client simple massage techniques to do at home, this allows them to continue the work I’ve done and aid in a quicker and more complete recovery.

Breathing:

The simplest and easiest way to start your road to recovery post birth, in general. All of the core muscles (Diaphragm, Pelvic Floor, Abdominal wall, Lumber Back muscles) work together when we breathe. Sit with your hand on your tummy, take a deep breathe in and then exhale through pursed lips till you have no air left. You’ll feel the tunny move away from your hand, you might also feel the lower back tighten and the pelvic floor move upwards. Repeat this as often as you like, it will aid recovery, reconnection and relaxation. This would be my first step back towards any type of ‘exercise’ as it’s setting the foundations for a strong and well functioning core.

Exercise:

Getting back into formal exercise after a c-section can feel scary, but with the emphasis on working from the inside out and getting you back to fully functioning, before smashing out a gym session or a 10km run, you shouldn’t have any issues. If I’ve worked with a client during pregnancy, we will often start with breathing and gentle reconnection exercises 6 weeks post section, depending on how she is feeling, but more often than not it is 6+ weeks (around the time you have your post birth check with your GP) This is the time to focus on working from the inside out: Breathing, postural exercises, walking, things that will aid recovery. Below are my three ‘go to’ movements, that are safe and effective. 1- Pelvic Tilting: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. On an out breath, tilt your pelvis so your lower back presses into the floor, inhale and release. Repeat x 10 2- Bridging: Start position as above. As you exhale, lift your bum off the floor till you have a slope from your knee to your chin, inhale as you lower. Repeat x 10 3 – Leg Slides, start position as above. As you exhale so the belly moves down, start to slide the leg forward, just as far as you can without your pelvis moving. Inhale as you bring the leg back in. Move slowly! Repeat x 5 each leg If you can, book a session with a women’s wellness coach specialising in postnatal recovery, for a combination of hands on soft tissue work, breath work and recovery exercises to get you on the right road to full recovery.

Nutrition:

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but what you eat is important ‘poor nutrition = poor recovery and slow post natal healing’ Especially after a c-section when the the body needs to repair the damage done by the operation part of your birth. So what do you need and why? Protein – helps tissue repair. Vitamins A, C & E – repair the skin and underlying tissue. Boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and help wound repair. Magnesium – attracts water into the intestines so helps reduce constipation. Collagen – great for wound healing and scarring Omega-3 – helps maintain cells and reduces inflammation.

                Be Kind to yourself, take things slowly and allow the body time to heal.

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