Cesarean section is a big surgery! There’s so much pressure on mothers to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible these days. This can make a lot of women look for quick fixes. Cross fit and bootcamp style workouts are all the fad these days. But they can do more harm than good when it comes to supporting your back and pelvic floor muscles after a cesarean. It’s so important to take it slow and steady so you don’t end up with back pain! There are other alterantives such as reformer pilates and yoga but of course they need to be delivered by the right health professional with specific knowledge about post partum exercises. So here are 3 exercises that you need to keep in mind when getting back to exercise after child birth.

picture of a woman with cesarean

Abdominal muscle strengthening after cesarean

A lot of new moms end up with back pain after a cesarean section. It’s partly because there’s not enough information about how to and when to progress with your exercises after a cesarean. There’s pressure on moms to get back to their pre baby weight and there are lot of cross fit and bootcamp style workouts that promise quick weight loss. Doing high intensity training too soon after a cesarean can actually make matters worse. The abdominal or tummy muscles are already weak due to the stresses of pregnancy and child birth. Repetitive running and jumping exercises can put a lot of strain on already weak muscles. Abdominal muscles actually help to protect the lower back that has already undergone quite a strain during pregnancy. If the abdominal muscles are not able to support the jonts of the lower back, it can lead to inflammation and pain with activities. So it’s very important to progress slow and focus on exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles and not put strain on them. Planks and sit ups are something that need to be avoided in the initial stages.

Pelvic floor exercises after cesarean

Even if you’ve not had a vaginal birth, your pelvic floor muscles have been progressively stretching especially in the thrid trimester. For a few women, cesarean happens as an emergency procedure. Which means that your body has already undergone labour and something hasn’t gone right and you’ve had to have an emergency cesarean. So the pelvic floor muscles were still preparing for birth and had undergone a lot of stretching. It’s absolutely crucial to still work on strengthening them. And it’s not just Kegel’s exercises that I’m talking about. There are a lot of other exercises including pilates and yoga that help with gently strengthening the pelvic floor without putting strain on the joints especially in the post partum phase.

Weight training post cesarean

You shouldn’t be lifting any weight heavier than your child for upto 3 months after the cesarean. However, some women may need longer to heal so it’s very important to get back into weight training slowly. I would even recommend doing a 1 on 1 session rather than a group class when you’re getting back into exercising after having your baby. It’s so you can focus on the form without hurting your back. Especially with exercises like squats. Also see a qualified health professional. A physiotherapist will be able to give you the right guidelines to start your weight training. Exercises like reformer pilates and aqua aerobics are great full body workouts that will not hurt your back. A physio will also be able to do a complete assessment of your back, abdominals and pelvic floor and guide you to the right treatment strategies moving forward.

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