Here at Legacy Physical Therapy, we’ve worked with lots of moms who have delivered via C-section. Oftentimes Post C-section moms are told not to move, and there isn’t anything they should be doing immediately postpartum and they should just lay there and let themselves heal. We want to emphasize that this is WRONG.
There are things that you can be doing in the immediate period post c-section to help yourself heal and recover faster. Here are our 5 tips for C-section recovery.
- Get Moving – Get moving by getting up and walking around your house. We recommend starting walking 5-10 minutes at a time or going outside and walking around a small block. As you get further out from the c-section, try to increase the distance you go. Short intervals of walking helps improve blood flow, helps with swelling and lymphatic drainage.
- Working on your posture – After an abdominal incision, like a C-section, there is tendency to hunch or crunch down and give in to the scar, but this can lead to scar tissue getting stuck down more and not moving well. Try to get upright and be in a “tall posture”. This can feel daunting since your abdominal muscles were already stretched out during pregnancy and they can feel weak. Start practicing this in a supported position, like standing against a wall. The wall serves as a good reference point to ensure your back is up nice and tall and provides a gentle stretch to the abdominal muscles. You can even be holding your baby in that position and this will allow you to work on keeping your posture up and tall vs hunched forward.
- Find your Breath – develop good diaphragmatic breathing, which consists of a big inhale and opening up the lungs and diaphragm followed by an exhale and deflate the lungs and diaphragm allowing good movement through the diaphragm, belly and pelvic floor.With inhalation the rib cage and abdomen will expand, with exhalation it will deflate, which creates a good pumping action going and coordinates a natural contraction of your deep core muscles.
- Don’t Forget about the pelvic floor – As you inhale and expand the diaphragm, the pelvic floor naturally moves out a bit, then as you exhale, think about gently pulling your pelvic floor muscles up and in. Think of it like you are trying to pick up a marble with your vagina. You ideally want to have good coordinated movement of your diaphragm, abdominal muscle and pelvic floor. Early on, after your c-section delivery, a couple of times a day, try doing 5-10 deep breaths. This is the best exercise initially for your abdominal muscles and your deep core.
- Regular Bowel movements – If your bowels and rectum are full, it’s going to put more pressure forward onto the abdomen and pelvic floor. Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of fiber, lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, and you are staying hydrated so that you are having nice soft bowel movements. Key is to keep yourself regular to avoid pressure building up and discomfort through the area.
So those are our 5 key tips for helping you heal after a c-section, but here are a few bonus tips as well.
Bonus tip 1 – Make sure, along with the dietary side of things, you really want to make sure you are taking in nutrient dense foods with a decent amount of protein because that will give your body enough nourishment to heal appropriately. Protein is optimal for tissue healing.
Bonus tip 2 – If you feel like you have to cough or sneeze, think about using a tiny pillow to support your abdomen across your belly. The little bit of compression on your belly will decrease the amount of “stress” through the belly area.
If you have any questions and would like to get back to moving after your c-section don’t hesitate to call us at Legacy and schedule a discovery visit, to see how we can help you!