Exercise after a C-section may appear to be not only difficult, but also painful. Since a cesarean section is considered to be major abdominal surgery, new moms should adhere to a physician's guidelines and ease into an exercise routine. Perhaps you are eager to start working out again after having a baby, however, those who have had a C-section must consider their recovery period.
Most OB/GYNs recommend that new mothers wait six to eight weeks before embarking upon an exercise routine. Discuss with your doctor the type of exercise you plan to start and inquire about any drawbacks or problems you could encounter. For example, if you never exercised before having the baby, walking outside or on the treadmill might be the best way to begin. Advanced exercisers may consider a light weight workout in the gym or jogging as opposed to running during those initial weeks and months.
Regardless of your fitness level, every new mother beginning an exercise routine post C-section should take steps to ease herself into her workout:
Warm-Up and Stretch
Often, when athletes forgo the pre-workout stretch, they get injured during the workout. Since your muscles and body are in the process of changing and returning back to its former state, it's important to stretch muscles first. In fact, you may want to just stretch during the initial days you are allowed to begin exercising to get the muscles ready for activity.
Exercise with the Baby
If the baby likes to ride in a stroller during those initial weeks, go for a walk outside, weather permitting. Walk slowly during those first few outings and invite a friend or your spouse along. Don't plan to travel far...perhaps just 15 minutes every day for a week. After a week or two, you'll begin to feel stronger and can lengthen your walk--as long as baby is in agreement. You can also just walk around the house holding your baby. A six or eight pound baby (or larger) is the perfect replacement to a dumbbell weight.
Clean the House
Housekeeping burns calories. One way to get the blood flowing and the muscles limber is to vacuum, do laundry or mop the floor. Chances are you were too big to really do a lot of cleaning during those last few months. Use your initial exercise days to do some heavy duty cleaning and burn calories.
Workout to a Post Pregnancy DVD
Workouts have been created especially for moms who just had a C-section. For example, "Fusion Pilates: Post Pregnancy and C Section Recovery" can help you ease into a heartier exercise routine by working specific muscle groups in a safe way.
Remember to listen to your body. If you feel pain or experience spotting, you should stop exercising and call your doctor. It is possible to damage your incision, especially if you exercise too early (which will ultimately delay getting back in shape).
Gina Ragusa is a freelance writer and mom from sunny (and sometimes not) South Florida. Her 15 year experience ranges from writing about banking to tattoo parlors. Read more about her adventures at http://blog.wahm.com/