C-Section Recovery: 8 Tips for Healing

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Every birth experience is unique for mother and baby.

Some births are vaginal, either unmedicated or medicated. Other births are planned caesarean, or even emergent cesarean.

While cesarean section (C-sections) started out being used only in emergent situations, now over 32% of babies being born via C-section. 

C-Section Recovery*

C-Sections are most definitely a major surgery. With most major surgeries there’s information provided on how to care for the area, as well as plans for rehab. However, post C-section moms are given very few instructions about how to care for themselves.

These are my tips for moms who are preparing for a C-section, or have had a C-section. The way you handle your recovery will help you immensely during your motherhood transition and/or if you want to expand your family in the future.

Top C-Section Recovery Tips

1. Rest!

You just had a major surgery. You need to rest and recover. If you are able to manage it, limit the amount of lifting you do to the weight of you baby. Plan on spending the first two weeks just resting. And enjoy it. Be waited on!

2. Wear Comfy, Supportive Clothes

Higher waisted underwear and leggings are an easy option to help support your incision and ab muscles.

3. Nourish Your Body

Healing is a lot of work. Not only did you have a major surgery, you also had a baby. You need nutrients to help your body heal. Make sure you are getting a balanced diet and drinking water.

Pro tip: Add electrolytes to your water for flavor and added nutrition. I am also a fan of collagen. Collagen is made up of amino acids which will replenish some of what we lose being pregnant and growing a baby.

4. Recovery: Breath Work & Mobility

Again, you just had surgery. And with any surgery there is rehab that starts soon after.

Take your two weeks to snuggle, bond, and rest. Once you get to two weeks, start working on breathing again. It seems silly. Obviously, you have been breathing for the last two weeks, but try to get more conscious about your breathing.

Spend 5-10 minutes per day sitting on the floor in “criss cross applesauce” and feel as you breath. Feel your diaphragm lift and lower, your ribs expand, your breath in your back, and your pelvic floor lift and lower. Connecting to your breath helps your brain/body connection. Which postpartum, your body is different.

You can also start on mobility exercises. The goal is to add in all ranges of motion to help your body heal. Mobility work will also help with the upper back and neck tension. Then at six weeks, begin to add in core and pelvic muscle activation exercises.

Note: It’s important to build up a good foundation before starting any major forms of exercise or before adding stress to your body (such as returning to work).

5. Walk

Around two weeks post-surgery start going on 5 to 10-minute slow walks. Add 5-minute increments as your body feels you can. Around six weeks the goal would be around 30 minutes.

Your pace should feel comfortable. If you’re getting sore during, right after, or the next day, then you need to slow down and/or go for a shorter time. Remember, your body is healing and deserves grace.

6. Scar Massage

At eight weeks, you can start performing massage to the muscles around the incision. Start with gentle pressure, progressively moving to a firmer pressure. Perform circle clockwise and counter clockwise to loosen the muscles that were cut and help prevent adhesions from forming.

Pro tip: Use coconut oil or other lubricant while performing. At 12 weeks, you can start with gentle pressure over the actual incision to help aid in blood flow and healing.

7. Heat

Use heating pads, showers, and baths to aid in recovery. Heat helps to keep blood flow moving through the muscles, which helps prevent scar tissue and adhesions from forming.

Pro tip: Place the heat pad over your abs. Use around 20 minutes per time and if possible, do a couple times per day.

8. Start Early!

Like I stated above, take your 2-3 weeks to rest and then start implementing rehab work early. It will in the long run to heal your core (diastasis recti) and pelvic floor correctly.

However your birth experience goes, it is important to understand how much your body has achieved. And it’s even more important to give yourself grace and to find a supportive community along the way.

Please remember healing is not linear. You will have ups and downs and that’s normal. Consistency and grace are key!

*Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. This content should not be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider regarding a medical condition or concern. 

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Jenny Heidt
Jenny is a chiropractor practicing in West Fargo focusing on moms, from preconception thru the motherhood journey, and is a mama to 2 beautiful girls. As a family we enjoy traveling and spending time trying new restaurants and parks in the area. I also enjoy working out and helping moms find safe and effective ways to get moving.


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