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When Can I Start Exercising After a C-Section?

Returning to exercise after your C-section will largely be down to your individual circumstances.

I’ve teamed-up with Gemma Pilkington, renowned ‘Mummy MOT’ practitioner to give you some practical pointers on this commonly asked question.

Be kind to yourself and don't put yourself under pressure

A C-section is like any other major abdominal surgery. The recommended recovery period is anywhere between 6-12 weeks depending on your individual circumstances and if there were any complications around the procedure itself.

If some things didn’t go exactly as planned or, if it was an emergency C-section, then chances are you may need a little longer to recover physically and mentally.

The key message here is to be kind to yourself and don’t put yourself under any pressure to get back into an exercise routine.

Don’t forget your pelvic floor

Regardless of how you have delivered your baby, either vaginally or via caesarean section, your amazing body has still undergone huge hormonal and physical changes. This includes your pelvic floor!

Understanding how your pelvic floor works, how and when to use it and how to strengthen as well as release these muscles is a vital part of your post natal recovery and return to exercise.

How is your Scar?

When your scar is dry, clean and the scabs have fallen off, usually around 6-8 weeks, this is a great time to start massaging the area.

The new skin may be pink, puffy, have altered sensation or be thickened on and around it. All this is completely normal.

Mindful touch, movement of the tissues on and around the scar will help soften and mobilise the thickened area which is helpful to do ahead of increasing exercise and body movement.

Start to exercise from the inside out. Always listen to your body and stop any exercise that causes increased scar pain, a sensation of heaviness into the vagina or bleeding.

If you are unsure of how your scar is healing, are worried, have concerns or ongoing pain, pelvic health physiotherapists can help with scar assessment, management and scar therapy.

Your fitness before and during pregnancy

Your fitness levels before and during pregnancy will also factor into how quickly you can start enjoying exercise again.

The more active you can be during pregnancy the better.

This doesn't have to be anything more complicated than regular gentle walks which can be done right up until the birth.

Take it easy at first, slow and steady. Keep the walks short and stay on flat, even ground.

Listen to your body and gently build-up your walking time and pace gradually over several weeks.

Only start doing more strenuous walks once you feel ready and you've had your midwife/doctor 6-8 week check-up and they are happy for you to resume gentle exercise.

Once you feel ready to progress your exercise routine

Listen to your body and consult with a medical professional before starting something new.


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