After a cesarean section, it's important to rest so that you can recover quickly and your incision has time to heal. Plan a gradual return to physical activities beginning with gentle leg stretches and brief periods of standing and walking to help promote a smooth and swift recovery.
Delivery through cesarean section can pose a heightened risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in a deep vein in the body. You can help avoid this with leg stretches and ankle rotations, even if you aren't feeling up to getting out of bed and walking.
Standing and Walking
Moms are usually encouraged to stand up and take an initial brief walk within 24 hours of C-section surgery. You can get out of bed more easily by using your tummy muscles to support your incision as you roll onto one side and then into a sitting position. Ask someone for help when you take your first steps because mild feelings of breathlessness and dizziness are common.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
During pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles can become weakened because of hormonal changes and the weight of your baby. Isolating your pelvic floor muscles might prove difficult for at least a few days after your C-section. Pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder and bowels, and performing pelvic floor exercises regularly each day can help prevent problems such as incontinence and prolapse.
Exercises to Relieve Pain
Pain caused by trapped wind and backaches are common after a C-section. Abdominal bracing exercises, where you draw your tummy muscles in from the navel and toward your spine can help relieve backaches and strengthen muscles in your abdomen that have become weakened by pregnancy and surgery.
You can resume low impact exercises such as walking at a brisk pace and swimming approximately six weeks after delivery as long as you feel well, there are no complications and your incision has fully healed. Ask your doctor for advice if you feel unsure about suitable types of exercise. You should avoid high impact exercises and contact sports for at least three to six months after C-section surgery.