If you’re itching to get back to some form of exercise after giving birth via c-section, it’s important to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
Your body is recovering from something pretty major, so we consulted with Women’s Health Physiotherapist Chloe Lorback for expert advice on easing back into exercise after a c-section.
Recovering from a caesarean section takes time, and you don’t want to rush back into exercise too soon. It takes six to 12 weeks for your scar to heal, so it’s important to avoid tummy muscle exercises during that time. Instead, let’s use this time to focus on re-building strength around your pelvis and back.
These exercises are safe to commence after six weeks – or after medical clearance from your obstetrician.
These are great to get your big muscle groups moving and strengthen your thighs and bum. Start with 20 squats, keep your lower tummy gently engaged, and keep your chest up. I like to hold my arms out in front for balance, plus it helps to strengthen your shoulders.
Get your spine moving and strengthen your bum and back muscles with the bridge. Lying on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Gently engage your lower tummy, then press your back flat into the floor and slowly lift your bottom up and you roll up to your shoulder blades. Squeeze your bum muscles at the top, and then slowly roll back down again. Do 10.
This is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles around your hips and bum, and for supporting your pelvic joints. Lie on your side with your knees and hips bent. Keeping your heels glued together, slowly lift the top knee a little way, and slowly lower. Do 25 on each side to feel a good burn in your bum muscle.
4. Side leg lift left and right
Strengthening the muscles in your hips and legs is important for keeping your hips and pelvis stable when you are carrying your bub around. Lying on your side, straight legs, lift the top leg and slowly lower.
5. Bicep curls
Grab the tinned baked beans or a couple of full water bottles, and punch out 20 bicep curls. You need strong arms when you’re carrying your little one.
6. Calf raises
Holding onto the bench, lift your heels to rise up onto the balls of your toes, squeezing your calf muscles. This helps with balance, strengthening around your ankles, and helps with any foot and ankle swelling.
BONUS exercise – Pelvic floor squeezes!
Even though you had a caesarean section, your pelvic floor muscles still stretch during pregnancy, so it’s important to keep up the squeezes! When you are brushing your teeth, do five squeezes and try to hold each one for five seconds. If you can’t feel much squeeze when you are standing up, try doing them sitting down instead.
Read next …
If you’ve got questions about when you can start doing things again after a c-section, we have the answers in these next articles:
Chloe Lorback has always had a passion for women’s health, exercising during pregnancy and the post-natal period. She combined this love with her Pilates studies to establish Fit to Deliver in 2003 and is now also the 28 by Sam Wood Pregnancy and Post Natal Expert. Chloe has three young boys and enjoys the balance of being able to teach Pilates, regularly lecture at Melbourne University, do physio and of course – be a mum!