Caesarean delivery or a C-section has become a common surgical procedure but it is still considered major surgery which means that you need time to recover. This does not mean that you need complete bed rest; in fact, a gentle post C-section workout regimen can help you heal faster and prevent complications. In most cases, new mothers are advised to limit their daily exercise to walking for the first 6-8 weeks, after which they can start regular recovery workout sessions.
5 Post C-section Exercises You Can Do At Home
Before you start your workout, go for a post-delivery checkup to discuss your fitness plans with your doctor. If you start working out too early or if your exercises are too strenuous, the sutures on your incision will be compromised.
Here are a few gentle exercises that you can include in your C-section recovery workouts.
Planks are one of the best exercises after a C-section as they strengthen all the major core muscles including your abs, obliques, and lower back. Planks also help to improve posture and prevent back pain which is a common post-pregnancy issue. Start with half planks (with your knees bent) and then move to full planks (with your legs straight) to give your muscles the time they require to gradually recover.
The bridge exercise activates, tones, and strengthens the core and the lower back which makes it a great exercise for women who have undergone a C-section. The bridge offers many of the benefits of squats but without placing pressure on the lower back. There are several variations of the bridge exercise but stick to the basic form and avoid weighted bridges and single-leg bridges as these would be too taxing on your abs.
- Wall Sit
The wall sit exercise is a full-body isometric exercise which means that it is done in a static position and does not require you to go through a range of motion. This exercise helps to strengthen your hamstrings and pelvic floor muscles which is why they are good exercises for new moms. Integrate this exercise into your workout session by doing just 3-5 reps in the beginning. You can increase it slowly but only do as many as you can with good form.
- Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt is a simple and easy exercise that engages and strengthens the abs and relieves lower back tension. This exercise also strengthens the muscles of the lower back as well as the sacroiliac joints which is why doctors often recommend them for new mothers. If you did not exercise regularly before and during your pregnancy, do your pelvic tilts in the supine position as this is the best variation for beginners.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing is the easiest exercise since it literally requires you to just breathe and nothing else! This exercise helps to lower cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) levels and improve mental focus which makes it ideal for new mothers. You can end your daily workouts with diaphragmatic breathing as this will also help you cool down after your routine.
Workout Dos and Don’ts after a C- section
According to Whattoexpect, new mothers often make basic mistakes when trying to lose their pregnancy weight and this can jeopardize their fitness plans as well as their health. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Don’t Push yourself too hard
You may be used to running marathons and lifting weights but if you’ve had a C-section, you need to be careful of how hard you push yourself. It will take a while for you to get back to your regular exercise routine so be patient and give yourself time to recover. Stick with a simple fitness routine and avoid strenuous exercises, especially running, weight lifting, and crunches as these will put undue stress on your abdominal muscles.
Have Realistic Goals
Mariah Carrey lost 30 pounds of her baby weight in 3 months while Beyonce lost hers in just one month! The idea of near-instant weight loss is tempting but keep in mind that celebrities have teams of health experts to hand-hold them every step of the way. Setting goals is healthy as it ensures that you have a clear idea of where you need to be but it is equally important that you stick to realistic goals. Instead of focusing on how much weight you want to lose, set fitness goals regarding how often you work out.
One of the most important aspects of any post pregnancy weight loss plan is consistency and this is even more important if you’ve had a C-section. Instead of trying to force yourself to your limits at one go, start off slow and then slowly increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Create a simple and easy post pregnancy workout plan so that it is easy for you to stick to it on a daily basis.
A workout plan alone is not enough to help you lose weight and get fit, you should also follow a healthy and well balanced diet. Avoid restrictive diets as these could have a negative impact on you as well your baby. Discuss any and all diet and exercise plans with your doctor and if you experience any pain or dizziness during your workout session, stop immediately and inform your doctor about your symptoms. Don’t overwhelm yourself as this is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure.
Keep making small lifestyle changes that will help you lose your baby weight and keep it off for good.
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- New Mom Nutrition Guide: Learn How to Lose Fat and Increase Your Breast Milk Supply
- How to Know If You have Diastasis Recti a.k.a Abdominal Separation
- Postpartum Hormones: What you need to know
- C-Section Recovery Guide
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