Your core muscles go through a lot during pregnancy and caesarean birth. Here, are a few exercises to help strengthen your core during your c-section recovery phase.
1. Go on walks
A C-section cuts through some of your stomach muscles, resulting in a pouch of fat on your tummy. This causes stress on your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Walking is a low impact exercise that burns calories safely. Go for a walk with your baby at least thrice a week.
2. Belly breathing
This exercise is a great relaxation technique. It also helps retrain the core muscles to work together during daily activities.
- Lie on your back on a comfortable bed or couch.
- Place your hands on your belly and relax your body.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, feeling your abdomen expand into your hands.
- Breathe out through your mouth. As you exhale, pull your bellybutton in toward your spine, contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times, 3 times a day.
3. Seated Kegels
Kegels are an excellent exercise to strengthen and activate the pelvic floor. They have been shown to decrease stress incontinence following childbirth.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet on the floor.
- Contract the muscles of the pelvic floor. It should feel like you’re trying to hold back the flow of urine.
- Hold this contraction as long as possible. Start with 5 seconds and work up to a longer duration.
- Take a deep breath in and then breathe out fully, relaxing the contraction.
- Try Kegels in different positions like standing or lying on your side.
- Perform 8 to 12 times with a 2-minute rest between contractions. Repeat twice daily.
4. Wall sit
This full-body isometric exercise is an excellent way to get all the muscle groups to work together in unison.
- Stand with your feet 1 to 2 feet away from the wall.
- Slowly lean back toward the wall, lowering yourself into a sitting position.
- Engage your core. Take a deep breath in and while you exhale, feel as if you’re pulling your belly button into the wall.
- Hold for as long as possible. Rest for 1 minute, then repeat 5 times.
5. Delivery scar massage
Two weeks after delivery, you can safely get a post-pregnancy massage. However, avoid the abdominal area during the initial days, and focus only on the back, hands, and legs until around four weeks after delivery, when the scar tissue starts forming, the abdominal area can be massaged without pain.
Be sure to consult your doctor before engaging in exercise postpartum.
Always start small, working up to more challenging movements. Avoid activities that place a lot of stress on the abdominal muscles and hip joints to avoid setting derailing your c-section recovery.
If you notice an increase in bleeding, fatigue, or inflammation of the scar area, stop and seek medical help.