After your C-Section, it's important that you take the time you need to heal. After all, your body has been through a lot to bring your baby into the world. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to integrate exercise into your routine after a caesarean in a way that will aid your healing process and help you build up your strength.
To begin with, it's important you follow the advice of your midwife and don’t rush your body into any form of exercise too soon. If you are feeling ready to begin introducing some exercise after your C-Section and your midwife or health advisor agrees it is safe to do so, we have some recommendations on where to start.
Walking After a C-Section
The very first place to start when it comes to exercising after C-Section birth is walking. Staying mobile is going to be essential to your recovery, helping to avoid complications such as blood clots. You’ll be expected to get up and move around as soon as possible.
After you head home, walking is going to be the easiest way to add exercise to your daily routine in those first days and weeks after baby arrives. Walk a short distance to begin with and don’t overexert yourself.
As you recover your strength, you’ll be able to walk for longer distances and increase your pace.
Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pregnancy can impact your pelvic floor, so this is a great place to start with dedicated exercises. Good pelvic floor function supports healthy bladder and bowel movement, helps to keep your lower organs where they are supposed to be, and can improve sex functions too. Gently working to improve your pelvic floor function after C-Section will help to keep you in good health and bodily function so you can put your focus on baby.
There are a great range of pelvic floor exercises you can begin to introduce into your daily routine that will help build your strength and aid your recovery after your c-section, and there are also many exercises that don’t require any equipment or space to try.
C-Section Core and Abdominal Exercises
Core and abdominal exercises are closely related to pelvic floor exercises, and the combination of the two exercises after your c-section can help you rebuild the strength in your tummy muscles and protect your spine.
Take it easy when you start with any abdominal exercises after a C-Section, and don’t start these exercises without speaking to your medical professional. If you are ready you can try some slow exercises including the following:
- Hold your breath and gently squeeze your abdominal muscles, hold this for five to ten seconds then gently release.
- Bridge slowly upwards, bracing yourself with your arms and palms flat to the ground, exhaling as you lift your bottom of the floor and create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the ground.
- Stand up and raise your arms directly above your head, then slowly bend at the hips and lower yourself to a 90 degree angle or wherever feels comfortable. Slowly come back up.
Exercising after C-Section Safely
Whilst you might be itching to get back into your exercise routine, especially if you are usually a very active person, its important to remember that getting back into exercise too soon after your C-Section could set you back even further.
Giving your body the time it needs to heal will help you to get back to your pre-C-Section capability quicker and be overall better for your body, so take your time. Generally, it is recommended you wait at least 6 weeks before returning to any pre-pregnancy levels of exercise.
Build up your intensity gradually, prioritize low impact exercises, and listen to your body. If you experience pain from your C-Section scar when you begin exercise, you are likely not ready. Avoid high impact exercises that will put too much pressure on your body, like running or weight training.
Looking for further advice on C-Section recovery? Speak to a midwife