Top 8 Exercises After C Section for Better Recovery

Most women try everything they possibly can to make their flabby tummy return to flat after delivering a baby. While there are many ways to try to get in shape, it is important to take your time and select your post-partum fitness routine with care. It becomes even more important to select a routine with caution when you have had a C-section. Before you start any exercise, you need to ensure that you have taken adequate time to recover. 

When Can You Exercise After C-Section?

The best thing is to talk to your doctor and ask them if it is safe for you to start working out again. If there are sutures on the incision, you need to take special care because certain moves can cause complications. It is usually a good idea to see your doctor at least once after your C-section to ensure everything is progressing just fine. You can ask your OB at your post-delivery checkup about starting your exercise.

Keep in mind that a C-section is a major surgery, and you should not push yourself too soon. Do not engage in anything that makes you overexert yourself for at least six weeks after your surgery. Never engage in any strenuous physical activity for at least the first couple of months. You can start with your pelvic floor exercises though when you feel up to it.

Best Exercises to Try

Once your doctor gives you the green signal to start with your exercise after C-section, you need to take your time and determine what you can and cannot do. Again, your doctor will guide you in the right direction, but you can try the following exercises, as they are generally safe after a C-section. Some of these exercises work your hamstrings, quads, and pelvic floor muscles, while others strengthen connective tissue and back. Here is how to perform these exercises.

1. Belly Breathing

  • Find a comfortable couch and lie on your back.
  • Relax your body with your hand placed on your belly.
  • Breathe in through your nose and feel your tummy expand.
  • Exhale through your mouth, and while doing so, suck your bellybutton in toward your spine.
  • Hold the position for 3 seconds, and repeat 5-10 times thrice a day.

2. Seated Kegels

  • Get a chair and sit on the edge of it. Place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Try to contract your pelvic floor muscles by imitating how you would try to hold back your urine.
  • Feel as if you are closing all the openings of the anus, vagina, and urethra.
  • Hold this contracted position for a few seconds and then increase the duration. Release the contraction and exhale.
  • Do 8-12 reps with a 2-minute rest between each contraction. Repeat twice a day.

3. Leg Slides

  • Lie on your back on a flat surface with your feet flat and knees bent. Put a towel under your feet.
  • Inhale deeply and contract your abdominal muscles while exhaling. Pull your bellybutton to your spine while exhaling. Do not change the curve of your lower back.
  • Maintain this contracted position and then extend your foot away from your body using the towel. Extend your leg fully and then return to the starting position.
  • Do 10 reps on each side. Do it once a day.

4. Wall Sit

  • Stand with your feet a couple of feet away from the wall.
  • Lean back toward the wall and lower yourself as if you are squatting. Keep lowering your body until your knees and hips are at 90-degrees to one another.
  • Inhale deeply and pull your bellybutton into the wall while breathing out.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible. Relax. Take a minute and then repeat again 5 times.

5. Cesarean Delivery Scary Massage

  • Lie on your back to perform this exercise after C-section.
  • Keep your fingers right above your scar and pull the skin gently. Slide it side to side and up and down.
  • Work in one direction first and then massage more aggressively.
  • Move the scar in circles, side-to-side, and up-and-down in small movements. Perform tissue mobilization in all directions and in all areas of the abdomen.
  • Do not persist if you experience any pain.

6. Planks

  • Start by getting in a pushup position first. Keep your palms and knees on the floor.
  • Slowly lower your body on your elbows and lift your knees off the floor at the same time.
  • Straighten your body and ensure your hips, feet, and shoulders are in a straight line.
  • Maintain this position for a minute and keep your hip and abdominal muscles tight.
  • Relax and repeat 2-4 times.

7. Forward Bends

  • Stand with your hands on the hips and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise your arms slowly over your head and bend forward at the waist.
  • Bend until your upper body becomes parallel with the floor.
  • Keep your back flat and then rise back to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of 4-8 reps each.

8. Bridges

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and legs apart. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle.
  • Raise your hips off the ground while squeezing your lower abdominal muscles.
  • Keep lifting your hips until they become aligned with your upper body.
  • Stay in this position for a few seconds and then lower your hips back to the ground.
  • Perform three sets with 10 reps each.

Precautions for Safe Exercise

When doing exercise after C-section, you should always stick to gentle, low-impact exercises for the first few days. Even if you have been lifting weights or running marathons before your C-section, you should not go very hard soon after your delivery. Muscles in your core and hips will become loose by your pregnancy, so you need to start slowly and gradually return to your old routine.

Here are some basic precautions you should take when exercising:

  • Warm up first for at least five minutes and cool down whenever you exercise.
  • Keep your body hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Do not exercise for more than 10 minutes in the beginning.
  • Do not work out more than thrice a week.
  • Get a supportive bra and wear it whenever exercising.
  • Do not exercise if you feel tired or experience any pain. 
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