What is safe to do after a Caesarian Section?

My baby is 7 weeks old and I had a Caesarian Section. I was told not to do too much when I left hospital, but what can I do now?

By now the scar from the Caesarian Section (also known as C-section) should be healed well, although the tissues on the inside are still strengthening up. So you can do things like walking, low impact aerobics, swimming or bike riding for exercise.

Normal day to day lifting is OK, but take care to tighten your tummy and look after your back, keeping it straight when lifting. Holding your breath is a good gauge. If you need to hold your breath, it is too much for you to lift (lifting furniture is not recommended!!!). Household activities like vacuuming, mopping, sweeping and hanging out the washing are fine.

An important thing to guide you at any stage after a caesarian is that if you feel any real pulling or stretching or pain at the scar site from your caesarian, you should not continue to push through that.

You should also take care when doing abdominal exercises. Postnatal Abdominal Bracing is recommended once you are comfortable to do this (usually five to seven days after the birth) and should be continued for at least the first few months after the birth. You should take care when doing other abdominal exercises such as sit ups, abdominal curls or crunches, as these can place strain on the caesarian scar. If you experience any discomfort after doing any exercise, it is too soon for you to do these. Stop for one or two weeks and try again later, meanwhile continuing with the Post Natal Abdominal Bracing exercise (described in the booklet As Your Shape Changes).

Your body is still recovering from the birth like anyone else, so you can still have the effects of the relaxin hormone in your body, so you should take care not to overstress your pelvic floor and also your back. You should not commence any high impact exercise until at least three to four months after the birth. Use the guidelines in Postnatal Exercise Guidelines for further information on exercising after your baby is born. You should also use the post natal tests in As Your Shape Changes, to ensure your body is back to normal 'on the inside', to be strong for you and your baby.

Click here to read a Q&A with Dianne for the Pelvic Floor First enewsletter in June 2012.

To learn about some strategies that will help you to recover quickly and well after your caesarian birth, watch the online DVD developed by the Physios at the Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane -

Early Inpatient Postnatal Mobility—post caesarean birth

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