It doesn’t matter if it’s planned or an emergency procedure – your 1st or your 5th – c-section is a major deal and it takes time to heal. For such a common surgery lots of women approaching birth are still in the dark about what happens after you deliver your gorgeous bub. Before we shine a light on healing after c-section remember mama’s – every woman’s experience is different & therefore also your recovery – no judgment.

Now let's bust some myths!

It’s the easy way out

A few years back C-section became synonymous with the phrase – too posh to push. People started to think that c-section was an easy way out of childbirth. Sadly untrue. For some women, c-section comes after many, many hard-fought hours of contractions that ended in an emergency operation, so for them, the struggle was real throughout. For others, the decision was out of their hands, but whether it was by choice or not, the recovery for c-section is no joke. It’s major surgery. There is a lot of pain after (don’t worry your doc will prescribe meds that are totally safe for your bub), getting comfortable to breastfeed can be difficult, you can’t drive, you can’t pick up anything heavier than your little baby (what about my toddler I hear you cry!) the list goes on.

You need to wait 8 weeks until you can workout

While there is no way I recommend putting on the sweats and running a marathon, just like a vaginal birth, c-section mama’s can begin reactivating their deep core as soon as the day after birth. Gentle deep core breathing exercises are 100% safe and actually send oxygenated blood flow to the injured area which can speed up healing. Due to the surgery, you might not feel anything, but the deep core are thinking muscles. This means just by thinking about engaging them, they activate, no movement necessary. The first and crucial step in postpartum recovery is to heal the Diastasis caused by pregnancy and in the case of C-section, a large diastasis was created to get the baby out. Closing this separation begins with the gentle core breathing mentioned above.

Love your scar!

Yes! You must love your scar! So many postnatal women I talk to and work with are scared to touch their scar, some are totally grossed out by it and others are just confused as to how and if they should deal with it. The process of surgery creates a lot of scar tissue. It is crucial that the scar tissue is mobilized to avoid long-lasting issues such as pain, tenderness, and loss of sensation to the lower abdominals. Once the scar has healed begin with perhaps a heat pad, followed daily gentle touching, building to light stroking as you slowly desensitize the scar. Once you feel comfortable get some lotion and begin to give the scar a daily firm massage, rubbing along it, around it, even pinching and pulling it up away from the belly. If you are still struggling with scar management seek out a trained therapist to help – don’t leave it – love it!

Got fat feet?

Ah yes – another gorgeous side effect of pregnancy is swollen feet. This is partly done by fluid retention, additional blood volume, hormonal changes, and the loss of the transverse arch in your foot caused by the extra weight of the baby. For most pregnant women, this goes away after childbirth. For C-section mamas, it can become a lot worse after birth. Try and make it out of the bed on the first day for ginger and slow walk – it will help. Gentle massage, compression socks, and lots and lots of fluids will also reduce swelling! If it’s accessible to you, many of my clients have also reported enormous success with a trained reflexologist who can come to the hospital in the first days to help relieve the swelling.

You might feel like you’re missing an organ.

This might just be what I like to call “Empty Womb Syndrome,” but I was genuinely afraid my care team forgot to put something back in after taking my daughter out. Which is an excellent segue to my next point…

C-sections are increasingly common, and your doctors know what they’re doing.

Surrendering control is one of the most challenging parts of motherhood. It has been for me, anyway: not only can you rarely control when they enter the world, but you can rarely control how they go about it either. Your doctors and nurses have likely attended dozens (if not hundreds) of cesarean births: trust that you are incapable, knowledgeable, and compassionate hands. Everyone’s goal is that mama and baby alike can thrive. Unless you feel as though your rights are being violated or you are otherwise disrespected, understand that they will do everything in their power to make your birth as easy and safe as possible.

You will feel emotional about having it—but you did it, mama.

I’ve mentioned the word “birth” several times. That’s because this is as much a birth as any, and your sweet little one is now healthy and earthside with you. A c-section was not in my birth plan, to be sure, but it went incredibly smoothly and helped in a moment that could have become scary for myself and my little girl alike. Embrace the scar that has given you the unique and incredible opportunity to become your little one’s mama: because in the end, your birth plan should always result in a healthy, happy baby. How they arrive is meaningful, but it will not take anything away from you if this medical necessity becomes your reality.

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