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How Long Until I Can Exercise After a C Section?

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by Sam Wilson

Mum of two gorgeous boys and the owner of samwilsonfitness, a company dedicated to female health and wellbeing.

If you've just had a C Section, chances are you are feeling pretty battered right now!  A C Section is a MAJOR operation.  You only have to look at any videos on YouTube to see that.  It was a real eye opener for me watching one of these videos and really set it clear in my mind about how much the body goes through in this operation.  Contrary to popular belief, the abdominal muscles themselves are not 'cut' but rather they are pulled apart with some force to get the baby out.  Make no mistake, this is a real operation and one that needs and requires rest and optimal nutrition to heal properly.  You are not allowed to drive so a sit up or crunch movement certainly isn't a good idea.  So, when can you start to exercise and which exercises are best?

Guidelines say 10-12 weeks are optimal but of course this depends entirely on you, the individual, as to whether you can start exercising again at this point.  I always ask clients how they are feeling and particularly, how the scar is healing.  Can you feel it pulling?  Is it hurting?  Have the stitches healed well?  Are you using an oil to massage the area?  What is the sensation like in that area?  Generally, are you feeling fit enough to start moving around again gently without pushing yourself too much. 

Always start with some pelvic floor exercises (ask me if you need advice on how).  How do these exercises feel and do you feel connected to this area?  Any incontinence issues should be dealt with before progressing to harder exercises.  Walking is the best exercise to start with, then you can progress to other exercises but nothing strenuous.  Specific post natal sessions where you are guided are best.

Concentrate on how you perform your daily tasks.  I always tell clients that there is little point in doing corrective exercises once a week if the rest of the time you are lifting badly and your posture is bad.  Keep rolling on to your side to get up for example, rather than sitting straight up in bed or on the sofa.  When feeding late into the night and early hours, it's hard to remember, but do try as this will help.  Lifting car seats (who invented these and why are they so heavy?!) must be the hardest thing.  I remember trying to get my sleeping babies into the house without waking them up and trying to get the seats up the stairs with little regard for my own back or core.  As a result, my back did suffer and I had to work hard to build up my core strength again.  Brace yourself by breathing out when lifting your babies and really think about tightening the core muscles ready for load.

So, to recap:

Rest, recovery, pelvic floor reconnection, light walking and fresh air.  Fresh, nutritious food and lots of water.  Once you feel stronger and able to do more core focused work then squats, lunges and standing core work such as pulldowns with a resistance band are great starting points.

Finally, because the body needs as much rest as possible to recover from this operation, enlist as help from friends and family.  DON'T RESTRICT CALORIES! This is not about losing weight.  That can come later if you want it to.  This time is about recovery and looking after yourself and your baby.  Good luck and be sure to ask for advice if you need it.

Yours in health,




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