Fit After Cesarean

Fact: One in four babies born in the United States is born by cesarean section. That's about one million deliveries per year. Cesarean birth is the birth of a baby through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and uterus. They have been part of human culture since ancient times. According to Greek mythology, Apollo removed Asclepius from his mother's abdomen.

The term is commonly believed to be derived from the birth of Julius Caesar. Roman law under Caesar decreed that all women who might die in childbirth must be cut open; hence, cesarean. No matter the origin, the fact is that cesareans account for nearly 30 percent of births in the United States.

There are a number of possible reasons for Cesarean including:

  • Multiple Birth
  • Failure to progress
  • Concern for baby
  • Problems with placenta
  • Previous cesareans

After delivery, you can expect the hospital stay to be anywhere from two to four days. It takes a few weeks for the abdomen to heal, and it's common to feel:

  • Mild cramping
  • Bleeding or discharge for 4 to 6 weeks
  • Bleeding with clots / cramps
  • Pain at incision

To get more comfortable, do your best to walk soon after delivery, even if just across the room. The more often you do, the easier it will be. Some moms feel comfort if they splint the incision. Avoid leaning forward. Do your best to stand tall. You should learn to log roll so that you can get up with minimal discomfort.
A cesarean is major abdominal surgery. You will need support when you go home. Make sure to get adequate rest.  Eat nutritious, high fiber foods. Drink lots of water and don't lift anything heavier than baby.

This set of exercises can be done immediately so long as there is no pain or discomfort. Take baby steps and go slow!

1. Huffing

This exercise helps to clear the lungs if general anesthesia was used. It helps clear mucus from the throat and lungs. Huffing will help improve transverse abdominal muscles. Take quick, forceful outward breaths while bringing abdominals and pelvic floor muscles up and in. This is different than coughing and less painful.

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