Podcast Episode #211

What are some steps to follow post cesarean section for a smoother recovery? [Listener question]

caesarean birth recovery

Understanding some steps may help with recovery from a caesarean birth, supporting a smoother recovery for regaining strength, energy, fitness, mobility, and overall wellness postpartum. In this podcast episode, I discuss things to consider during pregnancy as well as the postpartum phase offering practical advice and effective strategies for caesarean birth recovery.

Keep up your pregnancy fitness

The foundation for a smooth caesarean birth recovery begins during pregnancy. Of course, there are challenges when it comes to maintaining fitness during pregnancy – fatigue, nausea, lack of time, the list goes on. However, when possible, staying fit and strong through tailored exercises can not only help in managing pregnancy-related aches and pains, but can also significantly impacts mental health and postpartum recovery. Regular, pregnancy-appropriate exercise can enhance your physical resilience, preparing your body for a quicker and more efficient recovery after childbirth.

Deep Breathing

One of the first steps recommended post-caesarean is engaging in deep diaphragmatic breathing. This simple yet powerful technique aids in activating the abdominals and pelvic floor muscles, contributing to internal healing and reducing the risk of complications. It serves as a cornerstone for beginning physical recovery, enhancing circulation and promoting relaxation.

Log Roll to Get Out of Bed

The log roll technique is helpful for safely getting in and out of bed following a caesarean. This method minimises strain on the abdominal area, supporting the surgical site and aiding in pain management. It involves rolling onto your side and using your arms to push yourself up while swinging your legs over the bedside.

Pain Management

Be guided by your healthcare professionals for effective pain management for a comfortable recovery. Pain management can support more effortless movement, which is helpful for preventing complications and facilitating a quicker return to normal activities. Consultation with healthcare providers to manage pain through medication or other therapies ensures that you can move more freely and support your body’s healing process.

Bowels

Post-caesarean, it’s common to experience changes in bowel movements due to hormonal shifts, medication and change in environment. Attention to bowel health, including avoiding straining and possibly using stool softeners, can be helpful. Maintaining a healthy diet rich in fibre can also support digestive health and comfort. Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider if there are any concerns re constipation or bowels.

Horizontal Rest

Incorporating periods of horizontal rest helps with fluid redistribution and alleviates pressure on the abdominal muscles. While early mobilisation is encouraged to prevent blood clots and promote healing, balancing this with adequate rest is key to a smooth recovery.

Exercise – Walking

Gradually increasing walking duration post-caesarean is advised. Starting with short, manageable walks and gradually extending the time supports physical recovery, aids in mental well-being, and helps in regaining pre-pregnancy fitness levels.

Deep Abdominal Exercises, Pelvic Floor Exercises

From the early weeks postpartum, engaging in deep abdominal and pelvic floor exercises can significantly impact your recovery. These exercises help in strengthening core muscles, improving pelvic floor function, and enhancing overall stability and posture. Check out FitNest Mama’s postnatal online program for more guidance during this phase.

Exercise for Any Stiffness/Aches

Addressing any stiffness or aches through targeted exercises is essential, especially for new mothers experiencing discomfort from breastfeeding positions or carrying their newborn. Gentle stretching and strength exercises can alleviate discomfort and improve physical well-being.

First 6 Weeks – Functional Exercises

During the first six weeks postpartum, focus on functional exercises that support daily activities and contribute to overall recovery. These exercises should be gentle, focusing on rebuilding strength without overexerting the body.

More Structured Post Med Clearance

After receiving medical clearance, usually around six weeks postpartum, you can begin more structured exercise programmes. Depending on your goals, this could range from gentle yoga to more vigorous activities, tailored to support your recovery and fitness ambitions.

Return to Running Post 12 Weeks

For those eager to return to running or undertake more high-impact activities, a graduated approach post-12 weeks is recommended. Ensuring that your body is adequately prepared and supported through a structured return-to-running program can prevent injuries and aid in long-term recovery.

Support Wear

Post-caesarean support wear can offer additional abdominal support, helping to reduce discomfort and support the healing process. Various brands offer garments designed for postpartum recovery, providing gentle compression to aid in mobility and comfort.

Postnatal Rehab Plan

Developing a postnatal rehab plan, incorporating exercises, rest, and proper nutrition, is crucial for a comprehensive recovery. Tailoring this plan to your specific needs and recovery goals ensures that you can regain your strength and wellness effectively.

C-Scar Massage

Caesarean scar massage can be beneficial in the later stages of recovery, helping to reduce scar tissue formation and improve elasticity. However, it’s important to seek advice from healthcare providers to determine the appropriateness and timing for scar massage techniques.

Recovering from a caesarean birth requires patience, gentle movement, and a focus on holistic wellness. By incorporating these strategies into your recovery plan, you can support your body’s healing process, regaining strength and energy to enjoy your postpartum journey fully.

** This podcast has general information only. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or medical condition. 

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Episode Links

Preparing for birth Pelvic health checklist

Free 7 Day Trial Pregnancy Workouts

Free 7 Day Trial Postnatal Workouts

FitNest Mama Website

Instagram @fitnestmama

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