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Recovery After C Section
However, you need to use a certain amount of caution until your stitches heal, working into the exercises gradually.
After your stitches have healed, your muscles can be strengthened in the same way as if you had a vaginal delivery unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Regardless of the exact type of C Section you had, there are some basic exercise principles that you can use to help speed up your recovery.
For Recovery After C Section: Suggested Post-Cesarean Exercise Program
Day #1 - Focus on deep breathing, making sure to protect your incision by applying pressure (also called "splinting") your stomach with a pillow or your hand while breathing. You can also begin pelvic floor exercises right away as tolerated.
Day #2 and 3 - Continue exercises from day #1 plus add the pelvic tilt (side-lying or sitting), leg slides and hip hikes as tolerated. The explanation of these three exercises can be found here.
Day #4 and 5 - If you are able to get up and walk around easily, discontinue the breathing exercises. Check for diastasis recti abdominis and if needed, do the corrective exercises.
Day#6 - Do all previous exercises and add pelvic tilt on all fours.
Advancing Your Exercises- As you progress through your recovery after C Section, gradually add more challenging abdominal exercises, including the oblique exercises as directed by your doctor. The key is consistency and not trying to do too much too soon. Listen to your body.
Normal tissue healing takes about 5-6 weeks for good scar tissue to form. Therefore, as a general recommendation, beyond six weeks you can begin slowly progressing your abdominal strengthening as well as the lengthening of your muscles. A great way to regain your core strength after a c-section or at any time in your life is by using the Plank Exercise. It is an isometric exercise and will help build your deep, stabilizing abdominal strength.
Using an exercise ball is also a great way to regain your abdominal muscle tone -- a progression from abdominal exercises done on the floor or a mat.
Sometimes, after your scar heals, you may notice a puckering. This may be due to scar adhesions from the way your scar tissue healed. Several days after having your stitches removed, you should be able to begin gently scar tissue massage as advised by your doctor or health care professional. Place your fingers over the scar and gently move the scar in circles (clock-wise and counter clock-wise). Your fingers should not slide over the skin. This can help smooth out your scar.
Later, once your scar is healed, you can do a gentle back extension stretch. Laying on your stomach, with your hands on the floor or table, gently arch your back until a stretch is felt in your stomach. You should feel a strain, but not pain. If any exercise is painful, discontinue the exercise and contact your doctor.
Read More About Recovery from C-SectionRead about Abdominal Exercise After a C-Section
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