4 Ways to better recover from a C-Section
A cesarean delivery is a surgery where a lateral incision is made down through the abdominal wall to deliver a baby. The surgeon will make another lateral incision low on the uterus and retract into the uterus to rupture the amniotic sac and remove the baby. Once baby is delivered the placenta is removed, uterus is irrigated with saline and pulled out of the pelvis, then placed on the woman’s abdomen for repair.
Think about what happens when you cut an apple into slices and allow it to sit on the counter……it becomes brown due to oxidation when it is exposure to room air. This happens when our internal organs become exposed. Our organs are perfectly compact in to our body and when opened and exposed the self protective healing mechanism is for the body to make scar tissue. A c-section is no exception.
This is MAJOR abdominal surgery!
Typically after any sort of major surgery we are instructed to seek out therapy for rehabilitation. Rarely are physician telling women to seek out post c-section therapy until symptoms of obstruction and immobility ensue and even then the c-section scar may not be looked at as problematic.
However the nature of a c-section and the scarring can lead to some unwanted issues:
Bladder problem (pain, incontinence, trouble emptying completely, urinary frequency)
Secondary fertility challenges
General pelvic pain
Lower back/ hip pain
Below are 4 ways to help you better recover from a c-section
*Note: Generally, exercise should not start until six to eight weeks after the surgery and the incision is completely healed. Moms should always check in and get approval from their doctor or midwives before beginning any sort of postpartum exercise/therapy.
C-Section Recovery with Mercier Therapy
As a cesarean delivery scar heals, the different layers of skin and fascia can become adhered to each other, limiting your range of motion internally and externally.
Most problems caused by C-section scarring can be improved by making the scar more flexible by manipulating the scar tissue. The more scar tissue is moved and manipulated, the softer and more similar to the tissue around it it becomes. This reduces tightness and breaks up adhesions (an “adhesion” occurs when scar tissue attaches to a nearby structure).
So if a scar is pulled in all directions, the body will lay down the fibers of the scar tissue with more organization, and in a similar alignment to the tissues around it. This results in the scar blending in better and behaving more like normal tissue.
During a Mercier Therapy session we will manipulate your c-section scar and the area around it. Scars (internal and external) can be pushed, pulled, pinched, rolled, and rubbed. (Important to note: manipulating a scar can be painful. That’s because tissue that has restricted blood flow is super-sensitive to touch, so treatment can be painful.)
But, this is a pain that comes with gain!
Ultimately, scar mobilization and pelvic organ manipulation increases mobility of the tissues and supportive structures in the pelvis. The results can lead to a reduction in uncomfortable sensations, such as itching or sensitivity at the incision site as well as increased range of motion structurally reducing the potential long term side effects of a c-section.
As previously stated the best time to start working on women post c-section is 6-8 weeks out and only if the incision is completely healed.
- This exercise is a great relaxation technique. It also helps retrain the core and strengthen your abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back on a comfortable bed or couch.
- Place your hands on your belly and relax your body.
- Take a deep breath in 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.
- 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. Your hips and knees should be at 90-degrees to one another.
- Engage your core. Take a deep breath in and while you exhale, feel as if you’re pulling your belly button into the wall.
- For an added bonus, contract your pelvic floor by doing a Kegel while holding this position.
- Hold for as long as possible. Rest 1 minute, then repeat 5 times.
- This beginner core exercise helps engage the core muscles in a gentle but effective way. The transverse abdominis muscle is an important area to strengthen as it supports the body core.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Wear socks or put a small towel under each your feet to allow them to slide easily on the floor.
- Take a deep breath. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button to your spine without changing the curve of your lower back.
- While maintaining this contraction, slowly extend your foot away from your body until the leg is fully extended.
- Slowly bring it back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times on each side. Perform once per day.
You deserve to live your best life each and every day! Whatever your path, it is important to not lose hope, and know that you are not alone!
If you are interested or have more questions about the c-section recovery program, Click here to book an initial assessment and discover what Mercier Therapy has to offer you!
Nathan Lambert, DOMP
As an added treat, an informative video was created about how Mercier Therapy helped a female UFC fighter recover from her c-section.