I've never had a csection, so I can't speak to the healing process through a personal stand point. But I have worked with some amazing moms who had 1 or multiple csections with incredible results!
I'm going to share some of my insights from what I've learned over the years when working with these moms.
You can start reconnecting to your body in the hospital. When you aren't napping or taking care of baby doing some simple body movement is totally safe.
The focus of these movements are to keep you from becoming super stiff from laying in bed.
Movements like raising your arms over your head with an inhale.
Sliding your heels along the bed with an exhale.
Practicing the following sequence using an exhale every time you move, pausing between each segment.
- Rolling from back to side
- Sitting up from your side
- Standing up
- The reversing
These are movements you will be doing anyway, so why not become more mindful with some extra practice.
Starting to become mindful and reconnecting to your body while in the hospital sets the stage for your whole healing process!
Wear the right panties
Even though an incision from a csection is low, it can still be under direct pressure from clothes, especially underwear.
A high waist, gel lined panty designed specifically for csection recovery.
These are amazing and can be purchased at a ton of different locations. I just linked directly to the main website so you can check them out for yourself (no affiliation).
Go check them out, enough said.
You [just] had major abdominal surgery.
Be gentle on yourself. Don't feel like you have to do it all immediately or ever.
As for help. Get your family and friends to help you out. Or work with a postpartum doula!
Realize that your body will not be able to respond to your commands the way it used to.
You'll be sore and tired and may not want to do much other than sleep and care for you baby.
And that's OK.
Give yourself time
It takes time to heal from a surgery.
It takes time to heal from a pregnancy.
It takes time to reconnect to your new body.
It takes time!
Give yourself the space to have time. To slow down and heal. To allow your body to get nourishment and the time it needs to go through a proper healing process.
Then give yourself time to not have a pregnant body anymore. Your body just went through a the fastest physical change it ever will. It took 9 months (give or take) to grow your baby. Within that time frame your body had to morph into the mama powerhouse that it is. Then in minutes it is no longer pregnant.
Your body needs time to resume a non pregnant form again, which doesn't happen over night, especially after a csection.
It'll take at least 1 year (more if your breastfeeding) to regain some sense of normalcy in your body.
Give yourself that.
Learn how to open up
An incision from a csection has come a long way. No longer is it a large vertical cut but a few inch horizontal cut that is barely visible sometimes once healed.
The thing about csections [and really any abdominal surgery] is that your body will respond in a similar way no matter the size.
Your body will want to protect that area while it heals.
To do this your body will do the only thing it knows how to do to protect itself.
To do this it contracts muscles to guard against pain and it turns inward [into a flexed position] to reduce stretch on the sore tissue.
This is ok, to some extent, but not ideal for optimal healing.
What happens if we let the body take over is the muscles that are guarding become tight and shortened and the hunched position becomes habit causing an imbalance in posture, stability and pain.
This is compounded by breastfeeding in a hunched position.
What can help?
Learning how to open up the front of your body!
Allowing your body to safely go into extension to get your body to find a balanced state again.
You can still have pelvic floor problems
A common misconception about csection births are you are immune to pelvic floor problems because you didn't birth vaginally.
While there is a reduced risk of incontinence, you can still have pelvic floor problems like peeing your pants, painful sex, and prolapse.
This is because your pelvic floor was just holding up the extra weight of baby for 9 months and which weakened and stretched it out.
Your pelvic floor works with your abdominal muscles, mainly the transverse abdominus, to coordinate against forces placed on the body that may cause urine leakage and stability issues.
Your abdomen was stretched and weakened from pregnancy plus you have the added incision scarring to heal from.
So regardless of birth, pelvic floor problems can happen.
Find yourself an amazing pelvic floor PT
It's not easy caring for yourself and your baby after a csection.
Getting all the help you can get is not a fail. It's a win!
You just said F - this to "you just had a baby so deal with it." You just said "I'm not going to settle for half rate care that doesn't give me all the information necessary to fully heal from pregnancy and birth."
You're committing to your own self care because you know how much it'll help your entire family in the long run.
And a pelvic floor PT is the person who will help you create your self care path.
They'll become your partner in figuring out exactly what YOU need for healing.
They will make sure you can reconnect to your body, you can open up and find proper posture, will ease tight, painful tissue, will give you exercises that are appropriate for your stage of healing, and teach you all you need to know about using your new mom body to avoid future injury.
It's not just a "do your Kegels" kind of care. It's a whole body, whole life kind of care that will revolutionize how you live, new body and all.
So if you had a csection years ago or have one scheduled in a few months. Find where you are in your healing journey and start there.
If you're ready to commit to self care check this out to learn more!