Today, I want to chat about C-section recovery. A C-section or caesarean can be planned or unplanned. For many women it's not even a thought, until it happens. And then, in those early weeks postpartum the overload of information on what to do can all be too much.
That's why we have here a week-by-week guide to C-section recovery.
Recovering from a surgery like a caesarean is not a simple process. There are a lot of layers including connective tissue, abdominals and skin that are stitched back up and need to be healed.
It's important to have a better understanding on how your body recovers from this surgery and ways you can take care of yourself and aid the healing process.
Here are some top tips for c-section recovery week by week for the first six weeks.
Weeks 1 -2
Rest where you can. It's easier said than done, but it's important more than you know. Now is not the time to say 'I feel good' and get moving as much as you can. That time will come. For now, your wound and your pelvic floor (and your entire body!) needs you to rest.
Aim to log roll to get out of bed. This will help to reduce any unnecessary pressure on your incisions We like to call it the 'log roll out of bed.'
Ask your Doctor questions. When it comes to your wound healing, no question is silly. Your doctor should give you the time, so make the call. Ask the question. Feel reassured. Never be scared to ask questions, especially when it comes to your health.
Remember that common is not necessarily normal. If things feel painful or don't feel right, you need to ask your doctor or midwife. If you ask another woman and she experienced the same, but didn't do anything about it, doesn't mean you do nothing. If it doesn't feel right, ask.
Supporting the wound when you cough, sneeze or laugh use a pillow or a rolled up towel to help, so always have one on hand.
Do not lift too heavy. The weight of your baby is the most you should be lifting right now. Try your best to move your house around so that you are not lowering too low, nor lifting too high.
Everything should be at an easy height for you at the moment.
Especially when changing your baby - as you'll be doing this quite a lot!
Numbness is different for every woman. Take note of how it feels for you. The numbness will most likely fade soon enough, but this is a topic to discuss with your doctor.
Pelvic floor is part of your recovery post c-section delivery. For some reason there's a myth out there that having a c-section means you don't need to worry about pelvic floor exercises post-birth.
The weight of your baby in your pregnancy pressing down on to your pelvic floor means that, despite your delivery mode, you need to focus on your pelvic floor postpartum. For full details, follow my Core Rehab program.
Active recovery is important. Staying completely sedentary is not necessarily going to help in your recovery, unless of course this is the exact guidelines given to you by your care giver.
Progressive exercises and movements help you to become stronger and recovery quicker. As with any recovery post-surgery you need to progressively build your strength back up. You do not have knee surgery and do absolutely nothing for six weeks then get up and run. The same goes for postpartum.
Pelvic floor exercises, gentle core exercises, stretching and short walks are all key in your recovery in those early weeks and months post-birth.
It's why I have an entire section BEFORE module one of my Core Rehab program that gives you guidance on what to do in the first six weeks postpartum.
Do yourself a favour and listen to this podcast 'All the Tips You Need for Your C-Section Recovery' with Women's Health Physiotherapist, Beth Scott.
Your six-week postpartum check-up does not give you the tick of approval to jump straight back into your pre-pregnancy workouts, running, jumping, boxing and heavy lifting. If you do this, there is a good chance in the months and even years to come, you will regret it.
Continue to build your strength with my Core Rehab program and feel confident and ready for the Stronger Mama Challenges to give you that complete tone and fitness you are wanting.
There is not skipping ahead to the 'good part'.
There's no cheating when it comes to postpartum recovery.
But there are answers, and it doesn't have to be slow and hard.
Follow along for guided week-by-week expert advice, and feel confident that sooner rather than later you will be feeling energised and strong again.
Core Strength and Diastasis Recti
Trust me when I say, it's all about progressive recovery. Post C-section it's not JUST about your wound. You need to also be mindful of diastasis recti or abdominal separation. It's common, and most women who carry to full term in their pregnancy get some degree of abdominal separation.
Again, I show you exactly what to do for this. So join with me in my 12 module Core Recovery program, which is also the stepping stone to my popular 28 Day Stronger Mama Challenges.
I'll get you feeling fit and fab again - we just need to do it the right way.
Your future self will thank you for this.
Honour your body and do it justice. You've totally got this - and I've totally got your back.