A Caesarean or C-section is the most common inpatient surgical procedure in Canada. 28.2% of Canadian births in 2017 involved a C-section.
What is a C-Section?
A C-section is a procedure that involves creating an either vertical or more commonly, a horizontal incision into the skin, through the fatty layer, connective tissue, separating the abdominal muscles and abdominal cavity. The urinary bladder is then surgically moved out of the way to make an incision into the uterus to get a baby out. The procedure is followed by a surgical repair including the uterus being repositioned, and the surrounding layers being closed with sutures. Needless to say, a C-section is a major surgical procedure.
C-sections are often a scheduled procedure where the Obstetrician or Physician will provide a date for the procedure. Though at times a C-Section may be introduced as an emergency intervention during the labor process.
What to do after a C-Section?
New mommies are commonly provided advice at discharge to avoid lifting heavy objects for 6 weeks, followed by a gradual return to regular activities. The incision into the abdominal muscles leads to significant weakness in the core muscles, and a resulting compromise to pelvic floor function. Your Obstetrician and/or Physician would almost always follow-up at 6-weeks post-C-Section and recommend Pelvic Physiotherapy after a C-Section procedure. Pelvic Physiotherapy t this juncture helps manage the adverse effects of the procedure and ensures a healthy recovery.
What happens at the 6-week mark?
Some questions that come up at the 6-week post C-Section period include:
Have the muscle layers healed?
Is my pelvic floor OK?
Why does my core have a “jelly-like” feeling?
Why I am peeing with coughing, sneezing and jumping, and will this get better?
And many more…..
As a Pelvic Health Physiotherapists and a mom of 5-month old, my advice includes:
Welcome any post-partum help from family or friends
Getting in and out of the bed: Instead of sitting right up, you should be rolling on to your side and them push yourself up using your arms. This will prevent undue strain on the sutures
Breathing exercises: Breathing exercises will help you with early engagement of your core musculature, and for reprogramming the pelvic and abdominal musculature for recovery. When you breathe in, feel your rib cage, belly and pelvic floor muscles expanding, and then slowly exhale squeezing you belly in and your pelvic floor
Gentle body movements or walking: Endorphins (feel-good chemicals) are released when we exercise and these chemicals also help with coping strategies for new mommies. Be careful to keep your activity intensity to low, a short slow-paced walk within the limits of any pain would be advisable.
See a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist or have Telehealth consultation with one: it will be a great idea to talk to Pelvic Health Physiotherapist who can advise you regarding good posture, good feeding habits, sleeping positions, how to mobilize your scar etc.
At Harmony Physiotherapy we coordinate all patient care with your obstetrician, midwife, physician, and other health care professionals that you are seeing. Harmony Physiotherapy will help you reduce any pain/discomfort and increase your strength after a C-Section, assisting you in your recovery. Book an appointment with our Harmony Pelvic Physiotherapy Experts, no matter how many weeks or months postpartum you are. We can get you back on your path of recovery!