E is for Exercise (after baby)

This particular topic requires the expertise of the rather lovely Jodie Evans – Physiotherapist, local Mum of 2 and ex TBJ customer. Jodie teaches local Pilates classes and runs sessions that you can take your baby along to, you can find more information on her Facebook page ‘More Core Pilates’ or send her a text 07387388671

A Caesarean section is major abdominal surgery and your muscles need time to recover.

It’s so hard to find time to focus on yourself with a new baby. You have less time, certainly less energy and your core (deep, corset tummy muscle) and pelvic floor muscles, don’t seem to be co-operating anymore.
– Firstly, listen to your body. Everyone heals at slightly different rates, and has varying pain levels.
– Walk. Gradually increase the time/distance of your steady walks, as your pain and energy levels allow. The fresh air will certainly help you, and fingers crossed will send your new bundle off for a nap
– Pace yourself to avoid increasing pain levels. Often your muscles can’t function as they should do when you’re experiencing pain. Your core muscles and your pelvic floor, which are already weak from the stresses of 9 months of pregnancy, aren’t ‘firing up’ due to pain initially.
– Wake up these core and pelvic floor muscles. Take very short periods of time (3-4x/day if you can) to attempt to ‘wake up’ your pelvic floor and deep tummy muscles. The more often you attempt to tell these muscles to work, the quicker they are likely to respond. However, they won’t have much endurance to begin with, so little and often is the key.
*These exercises should be given to you by the NHS. It would be extremely beneficial to see a physiotherapist to check that you’re ‘engaging’ your core muscles properly.
Your post-surgical advice is usually not to lift anything heavier than your baby for 6 weeks. Advice then usually follows to gradually return to low impact exercise after approximately 6-8 weeks, and to reserve high impact exercise such as aerobics, running and resistance/weight training for a gradual return after 12 weeks. However, it’s important to be aware of the changes your muscles go through post-injury/surgery to plan your return to exercise.
Warning, now bear with me for a little heavier reading ….six weeks post-injury/surgery your healing tissue is fairly mature, but as you stretch and stress your new scar tissue, it stimulates additional fibres to help strengthen and support the healing tissue/scar. This happens until the tissue meets the demands you place upon it. This period of healing takes place roughly between 6-12 weeks post-injury/surgery (although can continue for considerably longer) and is often referred to as the ‘remodelling phase’. Throughout this phase the scar tissue is becoming stronger, and can withstand more stresses that you place upon it.
It is due to these healing times that I don’t recommend postnatal ladies to join my Pilates classes until they are 12 weeks post C-section.
I totally appreciate how frustrating it can be when you wish to return to exercise, and all of its wonderful benefits ASAP. However, it’s also important for your body to heal, and pushing yourself too soon may mean that it takes you longer to get to your end goal. Enjoy the slower pace initially, and lots of cuddle time with your new arrival

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