Giving birth to a child is one of the most special and important things a woman does in her lifetime. Women focus on living well prior to their pregnancy and for the nine months they carry their little one below their heart. However, once the baby is born he or she quickly becomes all consuming and mom’s often lose sight of taking care of themselves. It is just as important for women to take care of themselves after childbirth as it is during pregnancy. This is no easy task given the often conflicting information about postpartum exercise. Couple this with the complication of a cesarean delivery and recovery and the decisions easily become mind boggling.
Postpartum exercise can begin quickly after a cesarean birth and can progress from easy to more strenuous as one sees fit. Checking with your physician is a good choice as she will know how strenuous your exercise regiment should begin. Some simple beginner exercises focus on breathing. One strategy is called “huffing” which is taking quick short breaths while tightening your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. This will aide in clearing out mucous left from anesthesia in the throat and lungs.
Kegel exercises are also an excellent postpartum exercise. Even in the absence of a vaginal birth the muscles have been strained from the weight of the pregnancy. Kegels are easily done when you are walking or rocking the baby. Another exercise along the same line is the pelvic tilt. Lay on the floor with your knees bent, shoulder width apart. Keeping both feet on the floor, gently lift your pelvis straight up to the ceiling. This will improve strength in both the pelvis and buttocks muscles.
As long as soreness in the abdominal are has subsided, curl ups can also be done as quickly as a few days post delivery.
After a C-section though, women need to wait until their stitches are completely healed, about 4 to 6 weeks before they engage in any abdominal exercises like crunches. All curl-up type of exercises cause intra-abdominal pressure which can stress stitches before tissues have had time to completely knit back together. – A visitor’s contribution.
Curl ups can be done both straight and diagonally. Holding your arms across your chest rather than the traditional behind the head method may lessen the possibility of pulling on your neck. However, if your breast are sore from nursing place your hands behind your head as you do the abdominal curls just be careful not to pull on your head as you curl up.
An exercise routine along with a sensible diet can help lose the often feared “baby weight”. It can also help one feel better, not just physically but mentally. A healthy body and mind is one of the best ways to combat postpartum depression. Although the baby weight might not fall off immediately it is a safe bet that a mom who takes her physical fitness seriously will have an easier road and will simply feel better. Remember to start any exercise regiment by first checking with your doctor and then with yourself. Try to listen to what your body is telling you and understand when you can push on to the next level and when it is time to rest. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby.