Although C-sections are an increasingly common part of the birthing process (an estimated one in three American women who gave birth in 2006 had a C-section), this procedure is still considered major surgery. This means that, as in the case of any other surgery, it will take time to heal. Pushing yourself too hard too soon after a C-section can cause complications and slow the healing process, so stay on the safe side and return to your previous exercise routine slowly and patiently.
Method 1 of 3: Stay on the Safe Side
Step 1. Talk to your doctor before starting your exercise routine again
Keep in mind that any exercise after pregnancy must be authorized by a doctor, this is especially important after a major surgery such as a cesarean section, since the suture or incision could be compromised if the mother works too hard. Still, keep in mind that the doctor will check on most new moms at least once after a cesarean section to make sure their body is healing properly so, at this postpartum checkup, tell your OB / GYN. you want to start exercising again and ask if it's okay.
the content of this article no It is intended to replace the advice of your doctor.
Step 2. Wait at least six weeks after surgery to start an exercise routine
Pregnancy and childbirth can be traumatic for the body, even when everything goes well. For example, a normal pregnancy can sometimes cause a condition called diastasis recti, in which the abdominal muscles separate as the belly expands. In addition to the above, a C-section will leave an incision that will take time to heal. This makes relaxation during the recovery period especially crucial, even if you were in excellent physical condition before pregnancy.
- Traditionally, new moms are advised to wait between six and eight weeks after any type of pregnancy before restarting all kinds of exercise. During this time, physical activity is usually limited to very gentle things, such as walking. Recently, doctors have started allowing women to start exercising a little earlier. However, this does not necessarily apply to those who have undergone a cesarean section, as this procedure implies that there is an incision that must heal.
- Since each woman heals at a different rate, be prepared to wait a little longer than this minimum time limit if your doctor advises you to do so.
Step 3. Start with gentle, low-impact exercises
It is advisable that the first exercises you do after a cesarean section are very gentle, even if before pregnancy you have lifted weights or run marathons. Your muscles, especially those in the hips and core, were strained by pregnancy and lack of exercise during it, so you will have to gradually work them until they regain their previous level of toning. Don't overdo it, as exercising too much too early could cause injury.
- Check the following sections to find a selection of low-impact cardio and strength exercises you may want to try. Your doctor or physical therapist will also be able to give you several ideas.
Step 4. Transition to your normal routine for several weeks
With a light exercise routine that gradually increases in intensity, you will surely regain your previous physical condition quickly, just a few months after your C-section. Be patient, consider that you have just gone through a pregnancy and major surgery, so the small inconvenience of having to stick to a gentle exercise routine is nothing compared to your health and safety.
Step 5. Be gentle with your body
As you work to return to your regular exercise routine, it's important to minimize the unnecessary strain you put on your body. Take the following basic precautions to stay on the safe side:
- Take about five minutes to warm up and another five to cool down each time you exercise.
- Limit your first few workouts to around 10 minutes at a time, three times a week.
- Drink lots of liquids.
- Wear a supportive bra, and don't forget the nursing pads if you're breastfeeding.
- Stop exercising immediately if you feel any pain or fatigue.
Step 6. Consider wearing compression garments while you heal
A very popular way to protect a cesarean wound during exercise is to wear a type of clothing that is designed for postpartum, known as a "compression garment." These types of clothing, which can go by different names such as "recovery shorts," etc., support the cesarean section wound while it heals through gentle pressure, making them useful garments for new moms who want to regain your good physical condition. While compression garments can be considered expensive (some cost almost $ 200 a pair), many mothers have absolute confidence in them.
Note that compression garments are not intended to shape the body, so if you think this could bother you, consider that you do not have to feel ashamed to wear this type of garment (so do not be embarrassed if you use them)
Step 7. Prepare to face some physical and emotional barriers
Exercising after a C-section can be difficult even if you are healing perfectly. Chances are that you are very busy, that you fatigue more easily and you could even feel sensitive or unmotivated due to hormonal processes beyond your control. Do your best to overcome these obstacles and exercise when you can, this will help you feel better and give you a lot of energy to take care of your new child.
If after your pregnancy, you often feel too tired, sad, unmotivated, or listless to exercise, you could be suffering from postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor to get a treatment plan that's right for you
Method 2 of 3: Tone Your Muscles
Step 1. Try to do the bridge exercise to strengthen your hips and core muscles
These gentle and easy exercises will help you tone muscles in your hips and torso. Follow these steps to make a bridge:
- Lie on your back with your legs apart and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
- Contract your lower abdominal muscles as you lift your hips off the floor.
- Raise your hips until they are in line with your upper body. Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Slowly lower your hips until they are flat on the floor.
- Do three sets of 10 reps, or as many as you can without forcing yourself.
Step 2. Try Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor (or lower pelvic plane)
These exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are important for balance and stability. In addition, Kegels improve your ability to stop the flow of urine, something that can sometimes be a problem for women after giving birth, also consider that they can be done anywhere. Follow these steps to do a Kegel:
- Locate the pelvic floor muscles by squeezing the muscle you use to stop the flow of urine ahead of time, if you find it difficult to find them you can wait until you have to go to the bathroom to locate them. These are the muscles that you will use during a Kegel exercise.
- Focus on gently tightening your pelvic floor muscles. You can do this exercise in virtually any position, although many find it easier to practice while seated.
- Hold your muscles tight for five seconds.
- Gently loosen the muscles. Repeat the exercise as often as you like.
- Keep in mind that some women find it uncomfortable to do Kegels with a full bladder, as this can cause pain and cause a slight discharge of urine.
Step 3. Try forward stretches to strengthen your lower back
Back strength is important to everyone as it is crucial to maintaining proper posture and avoiding low back pain. Follow these steps to do a forward stretch:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
- Raise your arms above your head. Bend at the waist and begin to slowly lean forward.
- Keep bending over until your upper body is in line with the floor, keeping your back straight.
- Get up slowly until you are on your feet again.
- Do three sets of four to six reps, or as long as you don't feel discomfort.
Step 4. Try push-ups to strengthen your abs
While abdominal strength is important, push-ups and squats could be a bit intense for someone who has just had a C-section. Instead, try an exercise called the push-up at first, which will not force you on your wound area. To do a push-up, follow these steps:
- Get into push-up position: knees and palms on the floor.
- Lower yourself by flexing your elbows as you lift your knees off the floor.
- Straighten your body. Your feet, hips, and shoulders should be aligned.
- Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, while keeping your abdomen and hips muscles firm.
- Repeat two to four times.
Step 5. Do arm rotations to strengthen your arms and hips
While postpartum exercise routines generally place a great emphasis on core strength, it is not recommended that you ignore your arms and legs. Try the following steps to strengthen your limbs:
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, with your arms wide open at your sides.
- Trace the smallest circles you can with your fingertips in the air, keeping your arms stiff as you do.
- Increase the size of the circles slowly over a period of five minutes. Use your leg muscles to stabilize yourself when the larger circles start to affect your stability.
- When you get to the largest circle you can trace, start reducing its size by rotating in the opposite direction.
- Rest for a few minutes before repeating the exercise one more time.
Method 3 of 3: Do Cardiovascular Workouts
Step 1. Walk around your neighborhood
Walking is an extremely safe and effective way to exercise. Not only is it a gentle enough activity to resume exercise after surgery, but you can also take your child for a walk in his stroller. Use the routine of going for a walk as an excuse to get some fresh air for the first few weeks after delivery.
Step 2. Try swimming or water aerobics
In general, activities carried out in the water tend to be low-impact. Try taking a trip to the pool in your area and swimming between five and ten gentle laps, or you could also enroll in some water aerobics classes to dedicate yourself to a gentle, balanced, and most importantly, low-risk routine.
If you swim, wear a soft style like front crawl, backstroke, or breaststroke. Don't try difficult or high-impact styles like the butterfly
Step 3. Get into cycling
As long as you don't go over bumps or steep bumps, cycling can be a wonderful way to get a low-impact workout. Best of all, it's something you can do at the gym and at home, as long as you have a bike. You can even add a baby carrier to your bike and take your baby for a ride.
Try to limit your bike rides to flat areas and gentle hills. Keep in mind that straining to pedal uphill or over bumps or bumps can be problematic if your incision has not yet fully healed
Step 4. Try the elliptical machines
While running is generally off limits for a time after a C-section, elliptical exercise machines offer a low-impact alternative. If you are using an elliptical machine, proceed at a moderate pace and use a resistance level that you are comfortable with. Don't push yourself too hard as, although unlikely, you could also hurt yourself on an elliptical.
Step 5. Increase your routine to more demanding activities
Once you have worked on your routine for several weeks without any problems, you can begin to increase the impact level of your cardiovascular exercises. Gradually reintroduce more difficult and higher impact exercises such as running, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, aerobics, and so on. Increase the intensity of your exercise routine as quickly as is comfortable for you, if at any point the exercises begin to cause you pain or too much fatigue, decrease the intensity.
- Maybe, apart from recovery shorts, you also want to wear a girdle when you exercise.
- Consider incorporating your baby into your exercise, very carefully, of course. For example, the simple act of cradling your baby can become an exercise if you do it by marching in your place. The average baby weighs around 3,400 kilograms (7,5 pounds) and gains weight as he grows, so over time he could become part of your exercise routine.
- If you notice that your postnatal bleeding suddenly returns or your incision seems to be opening, stop exercising and see your doctor immediately.
- Make sure you don't have diastasis recti before doing any abdominal exercises. This condition occurs when your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and do not rejoin in the center after it. Your doctor will likely recommend modified exercises until the problem improves.