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Postpartum Exercises After A Cesarean Birth

May 23, 2008
Cesarean births are considerably easier on a woman's body today than they were thirty of forty years ago. They are less invasive, the incisions are smaller and most women recover from them quicker than their mothers and grandmothers did in years past. But postpartum exercises should still be done slowly and gently. They will help heal the abdominal muscles heal yet new mothers need to make sure that they do not strain them or move too fast in their exercising.

Check With Your Dr. Prior To Any Postpartum Exercise:

Before starting any postpartum exercise routine, all new mothers should make sure their doctor clears them for the physical activity. Activity can be increased as the incision heals. Always follow the doctor's advice and any suggestions they make for exercising after giving birth in order to prevent any injuries from occurring during the healing process. New mothers should always progress at a rate that is comfortable for them, and they should stop immediately if they feel any discomfort. While exercising they should support the incision with their hands or a pillow during the first few days of their routine.

Cesarean births will cause the body to be very tender. All exercises should be done slowly and the mother should focus on their movements and their body. Do not strain or push through any discomfort. Only do repetitions that feel comfortable. If that mean the mother can only do three, then that is fine. If the mother needs a break it is acceptable to stop in the middle of the routine until they are stronger and able to continue for longer periods of time.

As long as the doctor approves, the new mother can start their postpartum exercises the day after delivering their baby. Some of the exercises are actually recommended for right after birth, such as Kegel's which help strengthen the pelvic floor. Abdominal breathing with support of the stomach is good for getting the muscles moving. Ankle circles are designed to help the circulation in both legs and feet. All of these exercises can be done while sitting or lying down without strain to the body.

Additional postpartum exercises can be added to the beginning routine as the mother sees fit. The only requirement is that the mother does not strain herself while her incision is healing. Pelvic tilts can be added a day or two after birth only if the mother is strong enough and not hurting. Leg slides while doing the pelvic tilt are also recommended. Walking is a good aerobic exercise, but only in short intervals and distances as the mother can tolerate it.

The biggest difference between non-cesarean birth and vaginal birth postpartum exercise is the intensity and speed in which they are done. The mother with the incision needs to be conscious at all times of the strain on their body, but unless the doctor tells her that she cannot do certain things, she should be able to perform these postpartum exercises without difficulty and be on her way to strengthening her body once again.
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