After you have given birth to your baby it is important to listen to your body and give yourself time to recover. Rest is important and healing after a caesarean can vary from woman to woman. Your body is still recovering from the birth and the relaxin hormone is still in your body which means “slow and steady” is a great strategy for recovery.
If you want to lose baby weight, then follow a healthy eating diet plan and listen to your body whilst it’s recovering.
Below are some guidelines and suggestions to assist with your recovery. If you have any concerns about your health and recovery it is important you speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician.
To help support your abdominal muscles (once you are comfortable to do so) you can gently place your hands over the wound and brace the area. Take care to support your tummy and look after your back. Laughing or coughing in the first few days after a caesarean can catch you off guard and be painful but supporting the area may help.
2) Gentle Exercise
By six to eight weeks after your caesarean the scar should have healed well. You can then start to do more exercise like walking, low impact aerobics and swimming. The tissue on the inside is still strengthening up so start with gentle exercise initially and then gradually adjust the intensity.
If you start to experience any discomfort whilst exercising it may be too soon so cut back – don’t push through the pain. It would be best for you to stop for a week or two and give your body some more time to heal. A good guide to remember is if you are holding your breath then it is too much for you to lift. It may be of benefit to see advice from a physiotherapist or your doctor if pain persists.
3) Ask for help
Accept help from your family and friends, and get as much help as you can. You will generally remain in hospital for three to six days after a caesarean and it is important to have support once you are home with the baby. If you wish to drive then it is recommended that you check with your insurance company first on what your policy states and see your GP before driving. Generally this will take four to six weeks and you must be able to get in and out of the car with no pain.
4) Don’t over exert yourself
Avoid lifting heavy objects and climbing stairs quickly but other light activities are possible as soon as you feel comfortable. Be careful lifting other children, the pram and anything heavier than the baby for four to six weeks. Most wounds heal well but it is important not to place added strain of the body so it can heal properly on the inside.
5) Drink water
To help your bladder function aim to drink plenty of water. Many woman experience constipation after having a caesarean from the pain killers. Often in hospital the combination of air conditioning, change in diet, the pain killers and dehydration can impact bowel habits and lead to constipation. Your midwife or doctor may suggest a mild laxative. You should also try to increase fibre in your diet and reduce the consumption of highly processed foods.
In no time at all you should start to feel back to normal again. For further information seek advice of your physiotherapist or GP.
Sallee Dwyer – Midwife and Director of ‘Midwife to Mum‘ You can also read Sallee’s review of our weight loss plans here
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