Before you begin with exercising, you must remember that recovering should be your first priority. A c-section is a surgery—your body has undergone a lot from nourishing your little one to enduring a surgical procedure. Don’t compromise your health in a hurry to get a flat tummy from a flabby one.
Exercising is necessary to stay fit, though a lot of care is needed if you have received sutures during your delivery. Start exercising only after your doctor has given a thumbs up—this is applicable even if you were a marathon runner before you became a mother. Your recovery time may vary depending on your delivery or any complications that you encountered during the precedure—wait for at least 6 weeks before you start aiming for a shedding those extra kilos that you gained during your pregnancy.
We have a list of simple exercises for you to begin with. These exercises will help you in your recovery and strengthening of your muscles. Practice them only after your doctor says you can.
1. Kegel Exercises On A Chair
Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles—the muscles that connect your abdomen to the pelvic floor. These muscles hold internal organs and allow us to control the passage of urine and feces. You must have practiced Kegel exercises during pregnancy to help you with urine incontinence. If not, follow these steps.
1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat against the ground.
2. Contract your pelvic muscles like how you would hold your urine. Feel the tightening in your urethra, vagina, and anus.
3. Hold the contractions for 2-3 seconds, then release and exhale.
4. Repeat 8-10 times twice a day. Take a break of 2 minutes in between.
2. Abdominal Breathing
Abdominal or belly breathing is an excellent exercise—it promotes muscles relaxation and calms you down. You can practice this breathing technique while you are sitting, standing or lying on your bed.
1. Lie on your back and let your body relax.
2. Inhale through your nose and as you breathe in, feel your stomach expand.
3. When you exhale, pull your belly button inwards as if it is touching your spine—contract your abdominal muscles and hold for 3 seconds.
4. Repeat inhaling and exhaling in a similar way for 5-10 times, 3 times in a day.
3. Sitting Against TheWall
This exercise involves all the muscles of your body to work together.
1. Stand about a feet or two away from a wall.
2. Start leaning back towards the wall by lowering yourself. Come into a sitting position such that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees to each other.
3. Hold yourself in that position and inhale deeply.
4. When you exhale, pull your belly button inwards as if touching your spine.
5. Continue inhaling and exhaling in the same position for as long as you can. Take a break of 1 minute and do 5 repetitions.
4. Forwards Bending
The simple forward bending exercise makes your spine stronger and promotes flexibility. The stretches cause your hamstring, calves and hips muscles to spring into action and strengthens your thighs and knees.
1. Stand straight with your feet apart by as much as your shoulder’s width.
2. Slowly, lift your arms up, over your head and bend forward at the waist.
3. Keep bending until your upper body becomes parallel to the floor.
4. MGet into a flat-back position—look at yourself in a long mirror to ensure your back is flat.
5. Slowly, rise back to the previous position with arms raised above your head. Put your hands down.
6. Repeat 4-8 times and practice it thrice with a gap of 1-2 minutes.
5. Leg Slides
This exercise will help tone your abdominal and leg muscles. Make sure your surgery incision is completely healed before you start engaging in this exercise.
1. Lie on your back on a flat surface and bend your knees. Your feet should be flat and in contact with the ground. Place a towel under your feet.
2. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly. While exhaling, contract your abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button inwards towards your spine. Maintain the curve in your back.
3. While exhaling and contracting your abdomen, stretch your leg by extending one foot away from the body.
4. Bring it back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
5. Practice 10 repetitions for each leg. Restrict it to only once per day.
Bridge exercise strengthens your hip muscles and hamstrings.
1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart and bend your knees.
2. Slowly, lift your hips up, keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
3. Keep lifting your hip until it is in inclined and in alignment with your upper body.
4. Hold the position for few seconds and release. Do 10 repetitions for three times.
7. Cesarean Delivery Scar Massage
After your scar heals, the layers of skin inside get adhered to each other tightening and causing difficulty in stretching or movement. Some of you may feel tightness in the hips and abdomen due to that. A scar massage can help in recovery by preventing the incision line to stick to the layer of tissues below.
Make sure your incision has completely healed and the pain is gone.
1. Lie on your back and feel your scar with your fingers—you can pull the skin, slide it side to side. Make a note if it moves more easily in one direction than the other.
2. Gently move the skin back and forth, even in circles. Start with small movements. Do this once every day for a few minutes.
3. If you feel any pain, stop it and try again after a few days.
If you feel pain or discomfort doing any of these exercises, stop there and then. Don’t push yourself to your limits or exhaust your body by soaking up in sweat. Start slowly and build your stamina gradually over time. If you aren’t sure about carrying these exercises, consult a therapist who specializes in postpartum exercises.