How to get your body back after C-Section!

How to get your body back after C-Section, and Vaginal Delivery vs. C-Section
1 week post c-section
First and foremost, no exercise should be performed until you have your doctor's permission!
Please note I am not saying one or the other is better.  That is up to your OB.  We all end up in C-sections for different reasons and different doctor's opinions (always looking out for the best result).  For me it was a transverse baby, a baby with scary low fluid and a third baby who came at 35 weeks.  I kinda gave up that I would have a baby the ole fashioned way.  But hey I didn't get pregnant the ole fashioned way (except #3 blessing!)
Ok, so C-Sections are scary, but they aren't bad!  For me I was in lala land trying to breastfeed my 1st baby in the recovery room…couldn't quite pull it together:)  The pain was covered up by drugs - although the drugs spoke for themselves as I fell asleep mid-sentence constantly.  But what happens afterwards - when it's time to get your body back?
For my vaginal delivery gals - I have always envied you a bit.  You are also left with a " a little mess", but pushing a baby out is an amazing feat!  Our ab muscles are affected the same way - we are all pregnant the same way.  Your recovery will be slightly different fromm c-sections, …so keep reading.
Does a C-Section cut your muscles?
A C-section is a surgical procedure so there will always be some scarring, but unlike what most women think, your doctor will not be cutting through muscle with the exception of the uterus. When a C-section is performed two sets of abdominal muscles are separated from one another but are NOT cut. A transverse (horizontal) cut—the so-called Bikini Cut C-Section—actually causes fewer complications. Since it is below your bikini line it will be far less noticeable than a longitudinal (vertical) incision.
If you had a C-section some exercises could bother your incision site, so back off until you are ready and only do exercises you are completely comfortable doing. If you feel some discomfort try saying "hut" while doing the work. And/or support your abdominal area with a pillow for more comfort. Otherwise you should be able to exercise around 6 weeks when your doctor releases you. You will just need to start out a little slower than if you had a vaginal delivery. And you may feel numbness for a few months after your procedure. Why? Your nerves were cut and will take a bit to recover.
A C-section is like having a cast on your arm. It will take longer to recover, but the good news is you can have the same end result as a vaginal delivery. As you read above, a bikini cut c-section does not cut through your muscles. The fascia is one of the 5 layers cut as your doctor goes in to get the baby. Fascia covers the muscles and acts as a sheathe to keep our waists compact. After birth your fascia will be back to 90% of its original strength within in 6 weeks, the other 10% will come back within a year. You cannot strengthen or tighten your fascia without surgery…so preventative measures are necessary...staying within the recommendedweight gain is a must!
Vaginal deliveries with midline episiotomies, especially 4th degree (1st being smallest) can create dysfunction of the pelvic floor, which also interrupts core function. Several of the tools and instruments that doctors use to assist you in giving birth, vacuums and forceps, for example, can cause PF dysfunction.
You will have to train your Pelvic Floor and Transverse Abdominis, both deep muscles of the core. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section the Pelvic Floor and the TA act as a sling to your baby. Which is why you need to train these specific muscles to get back the integrity and strength of your core before returning to traditional abdominal exercises.

37 comments:

  1. I have recently made the switch to a more flexitarian lifestyle (I eat mostly vegetarian or vegan and meat sparingly). I love how I feel, and I don't miss meat, but I am wondering if your dietician has suggestions for some higher protein foods that aren't meat. I like nuts, but they are so expensive and I eat a lot of black beans and spinach. Any other recommendations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great question! I will email our R.D. and see what she has to say. She recently had a baby so our response time might not be super quick!

      Delete
    2. Ok, our R.D. is on the ball. She emailed me with these tips for you:
      Quinoa (24g in 1 cup)
      Eggs (6g in one egg)
      Lentils (18g in 1 cup)
      Chickpeas (39g in 1 cup)
      Peanut butter, almond butter, etc (2 tbsp = 7 grams
      Sunflower seeds

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the ideas! Now my question is...do you use chick peas or have any recipes that I could use with them? I know I can google it, but just wondering if you have any of your own recipes?

      Delete
    4. Funny thing, we don't have any recipes with chick peas. Noted for the future!

      Delete
    5. You can make hummus with chick peas!

      Delete
  2. Is there any chance you can send me the link of the email you wrote about what you eat when you are in the different phases of maintaining weight loss etc- I thought I had saved it to pass along to a friend but I can't find it!! Thanks!! Elise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elise, hi! I am trying to remember! Was it here on my blog? Or it was an email?

      Let me know at themoms@momsintofitness.com

      Delete
  3. I ordered pretty fierce lean out and want to get my v02 calculation, but I can't find the email the packet refers to. I ran my 1.5 miles tonight and am anxious to start the 60 day program Monday! Please help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for you! Got to www.momsintofitness.com/fierce. It will automatically send you the 60 day program calendar and how to calculate V02 max. Keep me posted on your progress!

      Delete
  4. Where can I find the cardio outdoor PDF from the pretty fierce lean out calendar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya! Sorry for the tardy reply, been on vacation:)

      It is in the packet with your calendar. Were you able to find it? you can always email us at themoms@momsintofitness.com for a quick response!

      Delete
  5. Hi Lindsay,
    I am not sure if this is the right place to post this but I hope you might be able to help me. I had my two children 11 and 9 years ago and only recently discovered that I have DR. I was always frustrated by my bulging belly no matter how much weight I lost or how hard I worked out. I did all the wrong kinds of exercise like crucnches, planks, oblique twists etc and must have just made things worse. I can easily fit 3 fingers into the gap at naval level and 2 everywhere else along the midline. My question is can I still so something about this or is it too late? And if I can, where should I start. I began by searching the internet for information about DR and very quickly became overwhelmed. Some sites say do this, others that, wear a splint, don't wear one, surgery is the only option etc. If you are able to help me and point me in the right direction, I would be ever so grateful! Thanks so much,
    Dunja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dunja, hi! I can see why you are overwhelmed, it is very overwhelming! And sorry for my tardy response, we were on vacation.

      The best place to start would be with your doctor for a diagnosis. And then there are things you can do (without a splint and/or surgery). But see what your doctor recommends first! And then email me at themoms@momsintofitness.com

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You haven't posted in a while! I check every few days because I love the little tid bits of info. Miss reading your words of wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so kind! I promised my kids I would take the summer off. Also a promise I made to myself 6 years ago with my oldest daughter...that I would concentrate on the kids 100% for a summer! While they still want to hang with mom:)

      Delete
  8. Hi, Lindsay,
    I may be reposting, but my first post isn't showing up :)
    I have had 2 c-sections, and I just found out that I have diastsis recti. My sister in law gave the the 60 Day Slim Down DVDs & I am wondering if I am safe to do that program or is there another one I should start off doing? TIA!
    Mandy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandy, hi! Sorry for my delayed response, I hope it didn't stop you from starting!!!

      There should be diastasis recti modifications on the calendar - email us if you don't have the calendar themoms@momsintofitness.com

      And as long as you have your doctors permission to exercise you should be good to go!

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for posting this; I'm currently almost 40 weeks and baby boy is still frank breech so I'm looking at a c-section in less than 10 days and I've been a wreck. Not only did I passionately want a natural drug free childbirth for all the "typical better for baby" reasons, but also because I desperately wanted to look as good naked as I did before baby and the idea of the scar and a pooch that never goes away was traumatizing especially since I don't have a single stretch mark. Anyways; knowing you've been through c-sections and are rocking an amazing body gives me hope that I may love what I see in the mirror again. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A healthy baby is the best end result! I am glad my post helped!

      Delete
  10. Hello Lindsay,I am a Mom of two and my youngest is 8 months old.I want to lose 15 pounds mainly from the stomach and upper body. I go to the gym but not very regularly.I stumbled upon your website on you tube.Would love to buy some dvds but confused on which one to get.Any help would be appreciated.! Thanks and you look amazing!! You inspire me so much!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timisha, hi! I think the Postnatal Slimdown would be the best DVD for you! You can get it on Amazon or on our website www.momsintofitness.com

      Or - if you plan on getting pregnant again - you can buy the pre/postnatal 2 pack at Target (not online but in stores). It includes the Postnatal Slimdown.

      Delete
  11. Hi Lindsay! I find your work so incredibly inspirational, thank you for sharing! I have one question for you, as you don't have anything specifically on it--I'm not yet a mum, but planning on trying in the future, and am quite fit and in a healthy weight range. I am anxious about my weight and body during and post pregnancy--knowing what you know, what do you recommend is best for women to do pre-pregnancy? What kind of goals should I have, especially for my abdominal strength? I will also be having a c-section when the time comes, if this is helpful information. Thank you again :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren, hi! I am so happy you are asking these questions! The best thing you can do right now is staying in a fitness routine. And also looking into your nutrition and building your nutrient stores. I have a few more details on this...email Jess at themoms@momsintofitness.com and ask her to send the Moms Into Nutrition guide. The first chapter is Pre-Pregnancy.

      Delete
  12. Lindsay,
    I'm 20 months pp and I started Tupler last May, MuTu in January and I even worked with a PT this spring with a workout geared for DR---nothing has closed my gap! Last year my OB suggested I see a surgeon the surgeon said I had a 6cm gap and I know my connective tissue is quite weak. I'm almost 2 years after my 2nd baby and I still look pregnant! HELP...can you help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cassandra, hi! Did you OB suggest exercise or just seeing the surgeon?

      Delete
    2. She just suggested that I see her general surgeon who said that I had a small umbilical hernia but that that wasn't at AT&T the cause of my bulge. She then referred me to a plastic surgeon that she works with because she said my separation was extensive-6cm

      Delete
    3. AT&T = at all (from above). And when I inquired about excercise my OB said she didn't know of any that would effectively heal my separation. The general surgeon said the same thing and she also said that even if I wanted my hernia repaired she couldn't at this point because my separation would cause it to tear again. Fun fact: I've always had an outie so I'm assuming that maybe I've always had a small umbilical hernia so if I can just my DR closed then maybe no surgery will be required AT ALL!

      Delete
    4. Cassandra, hiya! Sorry for my tardy tardy response. Had to go visit my sick grandma in Houston.

      I have never worked with a 6 cm diastasis. And I would have to say your general surgeon knows best in this situation. I wish I could just send you something that would work.

      Maybe try a physiotherapist or physical therapist. The one-one attention for your case might help.

      Hope I have been kinda helpful...

      Delete
  13. Hi Lindsay!
    It is so nice to see so many great responses. Someone who keeps up with the questions. It really is fantastic :)

    I'm 24 years old, and had my baby Jaxson when I was 22. I had intended to have a natural birth but was transferred to have a C Section after I did 22 hours of labour. Jaxson turned out to be 10lbs 14oz.

    I have always maintained the weight of 135lbs but can't get past having this pooch and now weighing 165lbs. Needless to say, this momma was not caught dead in a bathing suit this summer! Every single ounce of confidence I have ever had, has disappeared.

    I was just wondering if you had any suggestions for me, to help me out? Any recommendations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadie, hi! Email me your current routine with a 3 day food journal. That will help me guide you in the right direction. Also include how much time you have to workout (3 days, 5 days, 30 min, etc.) and we will get you on a plan!
      themoms@momsintofitness.com

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, I have been doing your exercises for diastasis recti for a while now, and while i feel that my core is getting stronger, i cant seem to improve my diastasis. It is 4 fingers and i look pregnant even though my baby is almost a year old now. Do you have any suggestions? I'm almost certain i dont have a hernia. It just feels like the exercises aren't doing enough for me, but because i have such a big gap, i don't feel comfortable doing anything more advanced. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, hi! If you can, I would recommend seeing a physical therapist or physiotherapist so you can get some 1-1 attention. Sometimes all it takes is a few sessions to check your alignment and the severity of your condition. Let me know what you think!

      Delete
  16. Hi, I am so happy I found your blog! Thank you for providing all this wonderful information! I am due for my 2nd planned c-section in 4 weeks, and starting to plan my recovery. Which dvd(s) would you recommend for immediately after I give birth? I want to start the gentle moves right away and then slowly progress after 6 wks when I get the green light for official exercise again. Also, what are your thoughts on waist-training? (swancoast.com, steel boned corsets. etc.) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal, hi! Good for you! And I bet your are ready to have your baby, 4 weeks and counting!

      We do not have any DVDs for immediately after birth, check with your doctor to see what he/she allows. But when you are given the green light to exercise I recommend Postnatal Slimdown.

      As for waist corsets I personally do not believe in them because your muscles can depend on the belly band instead of your muscles (your own personal belly band is your muscles).

      Good for you for getting ahead of the game. Good luck!

      Delete