Welcome to our C Section recovery guide.
We hope it helps you to heal more optimally, and helps prepare you for what your body needs during the postnatal period, the support you need personally, and some top tips to help you recover as best as you can.
– Spend 5 minutes every day lying down on your back, gently lifting your tummy off the scar, to allow it to breathe. To get some space and some air. You can also start to stretch one, then both arms over your head to help improve the elasticity and mobility, gently stretching the tummy and fascia from your finger tips, through your chest, tummy to your scar. By pointing your toes away you can also get a lovely stretch all the way down below the scar too.
– Avoid wearing tight high waisted leggings. It will affect how your body handles pressures, healing, and your breathing mechanism postnatally. Try for a softer material, cotton, and not too tight.
– To help reduce increased pressure in the abdomen and pelvic floor, use a step to put your feet on when you need to go for a poo, to help reduce straining.
– Place your hands around your lower ribs, and focus on breathing here, into your ribs, to help your diaphragm and ribs move well for optimal healing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. We have a video on breathing for healing, so check out our instagram videos for this.
– Walking is key to healing. Start on day 1 by aiming for 5 minutes, at whatever pace your body can handle. This will be VERY SLOW….And that’s ok! Try to do this walk on your own if possible, so someone else is pushing or carrying baby. You can then build this up each day. Try to aim for 20 minutes to 30 minutes walking each day by week 2. In the early days you may find it more beneficial to try 5 minutes in the morning, then 5 minutes later on. This can be really helpful.
-You can start using oil to gently massage your scar once it has closed and the stitches have come out. Start above and below the scar, then build up to gentle circles along the scar. Circling in towards the scar rather than away. Even from day 1 you can gently place your hands on your tummy, and then start to touch your scar, and the area around it. More stimulation of the skin around the scar will help the healing process too, so gently massaging your lower tummy softly or touching the scar with soft pieces of fabric, gently sweeping them around the area of the scar can be great to help the sensation come back.
– Prepare for 4 weeks of support to avoid you having to do too much lifting. 6 weeks if you have a toddler or older child too.
– Avoid picking up car seats/ older child/ buggy for at least the first 3 weeks. After this, try to breathe out when you lift, so you are helping your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to work in the right way.
– Try to avoid carrying your child on your hip. This significantly affects the healing process as it puts your pelvis, lower back, hips and upper back into an imbalanced place. This can have a greater effect as your body is trying to heal at this time.
– Avoid any crib which is completely ‘next-to-me’, because you don’t have the space to get up from lying properly. The best way to get up from lying postnatally, especially after a C-section is to turn onto your side, bend knees then drop your legs off the bed, feet on the floor, then push up with your arms to get up into a sitting position. When you lay in bed and just twist to pick up your baby for a feed, then twist back, it places a lot of pressure on the abdomen, and ribs. It can also affect the healing of the mid-line (diastasis recti).
– Try to sit on both buttocks evenly when you are sitting down, and propped up well so you are not in a deep chair or slumping. If you are feeding your baby, use as many pillows as you can so that you are not bent over your baby too much. See a lactation consultant if needed to help you. I often find that prolonged sitting after a C-section can feed into more coccyx, sacrum and lumbar spine pain and issues. We can help with this through osteopathy, but sitting more upright, and getting up every 30 minutes can be helpful for this. We also have a postnatal coccyx pain blog post on our website, and you may find this really helpful.
– Cranial Osteopathy is fantastic for babies.
Cesarean section births mean that they have not been exposed to the forces of the birth canal, which means that sometimes they need a little help. They also may have been in the birth canal a while or had a bit more of a stressful birth if it was an emergency section, so a Cranial Osteopathy appointment can be wonderful to help balance them post birth, identify any issues that there may be with digestion or feeding, sleeping, and help you with this too.
– Plan for your postnatal osteopathy appointment. After a C-section, the best time to come in is anytime from 3 weeks. Postnatal osteopaths are specialised in helping your body to heal optimally after birth. This means assessing your scar, and pain you may be in. Pelvic pain and coccyx pain, and aches in your tummy and lower back are quite common postnatally. We can help with this, as well as assessing your scar, and checking for any diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), and pelvic floor dysfunction. We do see pelvic floor dysfunction and leaking after C-section as the incision in the abdominal wall and uterus, can affect bladder function, and also pelvic floor function. So we can help with this too. We are happy to help with absolutely anything and everything postnatal.
We really hope you have enjoyed this blog and that you have found it helpful. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
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Thank you for reading, Jo Day.
Principal Osteopath and clinic owner at Herts Osteopathy Health Hub in St. Albans, UK. Women’s Health Osteopath and Pilates Practitioner. 💜💜