Whether it was planned or unplanned, a C-section recovery is no small feat. The reason for this is because your doctor cuts through your fat cells and connective tissue, and then into the abdominal cavity in order to spread the abdominal muscles apart. When that’s done, the bladder has to be moved out of the way so that he or she can reach the uterus and make an incision to remove your baby. Once the baby is delivered, the placenta is removed before the uterus is stitched up, the bladder is put back into place, and everything else gets stitched up again to varying degrees.
Understanding how the procedure works will help you best take care of yourself and support your recovery. Here’s a week-by-week guide on your healing process.
C-section recovery guide
You’ll feel some numbness and soreness at the incision site during the first week of recovery. Your scar might also feel raised, puffy and look darker than your normal skin tone. It’s important to support the wound when coughing, sneezing or laughing by bracing your abs or applying gentle pressure to the site with your hand.
You intestines will also be sluggish after surgery, which is why you might feel gassy and bloated, but this can be remedied by moving around as often as possible. Even though it might seem impossible to get to the bathroom at first, it’s very important for C-section recovery.
A C-section is a major operation, and a lot of women tend to forget that fact. The focus should be on healing and recovery for the first six weeks after the operation. This isn’t the time to push your body. in fact, strenuous activity or heavy lifting is seriously discouraged for the first 6 weeks after a C-section. You can, however, start performing pelvic floor exercises and core breathing exercises straight after giving birth.
After the sixth week
You’re not done healing quite yet just because you’ve hit the 6-week mark. Although your doctor might “clear” you for exercise, your body might not be fully healed from pregnancy and delivery. You can start with some exercises that that’ll help you build a strong foundation and slowly start toning and flattening your tummy. As soon as you’re ready and able, you can ease yourself back into weight training exercises and running, if that’s your thing.
A note on Diastasis Recti
A lot of new moms want to start working on flattening their stomachs straight after pregnancy, but if you’ve had a C-section, it’s a MAJOR mistake. Rigorous ab workouts can actually do more harm than good, causing pelvic floor and intra-abdominal pressure. Some women develop a gap in their abdominal muscles during pregnancy, which is a condition called Diastasis Recti. Abdominal workouts can worsen the condition and cause serious injury to those muscles.