A caesarean section is typically performed when complications with pregnancy make traditional vaginal birth difficult, or puts the mother or child at risk. This is a major surgery, as a horizontal incision is made right through the abdominal wall and the uterus.
What Happens In A C-Section
As a result of cutting through the tissue and sewing it back together, scarring occurs, which affects the ability of the muscles to contract properly and results in a loss of abdominal stability for the mother.
Our bodies are made up of fascia, connective tissue, primarily collagen, and interconnecting pathways of nerves. Scarring can directly affect the functioning of the neuromuscular system by sending abnormal signals to the brain.
During healing, new collagen fibers grow in random patterns, which can form adhesions that attach to muscles, bones, tendons, and even organs. This causes an abnormal pull on the fascial network and can disturb proper function.
Thomas W. Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, Myofasical Meridians for Manual & Movement Therapists, describes a disruption in the fascial network as a snag in a sweater. The tug on the fascial net is communicated across the entire system.
Ways To Reduce Tummy After C-Section
It is important to decrease scar tissue when retraining the abdominals after delivery. Once you have permission from your doctor, usually at the 6-week mark, you should start gently massaging the area to break up the tissue and encourage oxygen inflow and toxin outflow.
You can do a massage lying down on your back or seated in good posture.
Use your fingertips to move the tissue up, down, side-to-side, and also in little circles. Try to gain movement in the direction the tissue tends to want not to go and gain more mobility in the stiffer areas.
Once you massage your scar for several minutes, concentrate on deep breathing and a long exhale. Then, you can progress to some light abdominal training to bring awareness to the area.
NOTE: Do not do crunches! This will not help you to regain intrinsic core stability. Instead, try heel slides and ball roll-outs.
Abdominal Training To Reduce Tummy
1. Heel Slides
- Begin by lying on your back with knees bent.
- Extend one leg by sliding the heel out along the floor and then back in to the starting position.
- Use your breath and maintain a stable neutral spine.
2. Ball Roll-Outs
- Begin by lying on your back with your feet up on a stability ball with bent knees.
- As you press the ball away from you, engage your abdominals and maintain a stable neutral spine and then pull the ball back into the starting position.
When it is time to get up off the floor, don’t try to get straight up, always roll to your side first.