It doesn’t matter if it’s planned or an emergency procedure – your 1st or your 5th – c-section is major deal and it takes time to heal. For such a common surgery lots of women approaching birth are still in the dark about what happens after you deliver your gorgeous bub. Before we shine a light on healing after c-section remember mama’s – every woman’s experience is different & therefore also your recovery – no judgement.
Now lets bust some myths!
It’s the easy way out
A few years back C-section became synonymous with the phrase – too posh to push. People started to think that c-section was an easy way out of childbirth. Sadly untrue. For some women c-section comes after many, many hard fought hours of contractions that ended in an emergency operation, so for them the struggle was real throughout. For others the decision was out of their hands, but whether it was by choice or not, the recovery for c-section is no joke. It’s major surgery. There is a lot of pain after (don’t worry your doc will prescribe meds that are totally safe for your bub), getting comfortable to breastfeed can be difficult, you can’t drive, you can’t pick up anything heavier than your little baby (what about my toddler I hear you cry!) the list goes on.
You need to wait 8 weeks until you can workout
While there is no way I recommend putting on the sweats and running a marathon, just like a vaginal birth, c-section mama’s can begin reactivating their deep core as soon as the day after birth. Gentle deep core breathing exercises are 100% safe and actually send oxygenated blood flow to the injured area which can speed up healing. Due to the surgery you might not feel anything, but the deep core are thinking muscles. This means just by thinking about engaging them, they activate, no movement necessary. The first and crucial step in postpartum recovery is to heal the Diastasis caused by pregnancy and in the case of C-section, a large diastasis was created to get the baby out. Closing this separation begins with the gentle core breathing mentioned above.
Love your scar!
Yes! You must love your scar! So many postnatal women I talk to and work with are scared to touch their scar, some are totally grossed out by it and others are just confused as how and if they should deal with it. The process of the surgery creates a lot of scar tissue. It is crucial that the scar tissue is mobilized to avoid long lasting issues such as pain, tenderness and loss of sensation to the lower abdominals. Once the scar has healed begin with perhaps a heat pad, followed daily gentle touching, building to light stroking as you slowly desensitize the scar. Once you feel comfortable get some lotion (I love Egyptian Magic cream) and begin to give the scar a daily firm massage, rubbing along it, around it, even pinching and pulling it up away from the belly. If you are still struggling with scar management seek out a trained therapist to help – don’t leave it – love it!
Got fat feet?
Ah yes – another gorgeous side effect of pregnancy is swollen feet. This is partly do to fluid retention, additional blood volume, hormonal changes and the loss of the transverse arch in your foot caused by the extra weight of the baby. For most pregnant women, this goes away after childbirth. For C-section mamas it can become a lot worse after birth. Try and make it out the bed on the first day for a ginger and slow walk – it will help. Gentle massage, compression socks and lots and lots of fluids will also reduce swelling! If it’s accessible to you, many of my clients have also reported enormous success with a trained reflexologist who can come to the hospital in the first days to help relieve the swelling.
Vaginal birth in your future?
Known as VBAC – Vaginal birth after c-section is possible these days and under the correct circumstances, recommended. Talk about it with your OB. There are some risks involved depending on your last surgery and any other complications that may have arisen from past births but begin the conversation – it is possible!