Did you know that 25% of babies are now delivered by c-section in the UK? Some of these are planned, some emergency but each will be for a reason. Our ‘bounce-back and snap into shape’ culture along with the press and social media would have you believe that the procedure and recovery is just run of the mill – think again, this is major abdominal surgery where you are trying to recover and learn the art of parenthood at the same time.
Life After C-Section
All the advice surrounding healing post operation is around rest, recovery time, eating well and asking for help. You are a sleep deprived new mum whose hormones are raging. You are trying to establish a feeding ‘routine’ and work out if the contents of your new baby’s nappy match that on the chart! Throw in a few visitors, a little food and that fact you can’t drive anywhere, and you could be excused for not really putting yourself at the top of the list.
Firstly, you must listen to your body, those first few days are vitally important. Nourish yourself with good food and rest, let the visitors do the work and you just concentrate on you and your baby. As the first few weeks pass you will start to feel a little stronger and movement will become less uncomfortable. Over these initial weeks you can start to work through light movements to aid healing and start rebuilding strength. Walking will also massively help your recovery – even just for the fresh air.
How We Can Help
Then the 6-week check appears, and we can really help you out! Pilates is a really good place to start, a gentle re introduction to movement, a chat with a specialist instructor and an ab check. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you had a c-section you won’t have diastasis recti or pelvic floor weakness – you can! We can assess any other pain site you may be experiencing and work through how best to approach them. Your abdominal muscles and fascial lines have been disturbed and re-built, it will take time to regain your abdominal strength and lessen the back pain.
Focusing on breathing technique, posture, alignment and how you manage your daily tasks will go a long way, alongside some abdominal exercises.
Alongside movement, massage therapy is also an important element to your recovery. Showing you the skills to be able to self-massage your scar, work on areas of tightness and where you feel less movement to release those ‘sticky bits’ under the skin where things have been moved and pulled around to make those stitches. These massage techniques can also help you to become accustomed with your scar, increase the sensation around the area and improve its appearance.
Our c-section recovery programme allows for both movement and massage appointments to work together and a pace that is right for you and your recovery. You can prioritise one over the other, run them concurrently or make appointments and alternate between the two.
Thinking – its too late for me? We have clients in their 50’s who have benefited greatly from these techniques and have seen big improvements in abdominal mobility and reduction in pelvic floor dysfunction as well as increased core strength.