A C-section, or cesarean section, is necessary when a vaginal birth is not possible. Recovery time takes longer after a C-section than after a vaginal birth. Although you can be released from the hospital two to four days after the surgery, you will still need to spend several weeks recovering at home. However, you can resume mild exercise sooner than you might think.
Factors that Affect Recovery
Recovery time after a C-section differs from mother to mother and various factors play a role. Some new mothers experience increased blood loss, bladder or bowel injury or blood clots after the surgery. In some cases, a C-section might also cause infections of the bladder or uterus, which can be treated by antibiotics.
Recommended Early Exercise
The day of your surgery you can typically begin walking, which actually helps to speed up recovery, according to MedlinePlus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. Of course, don’t attempt to complete a 30-minute workout. Start by slowly walking around your hospital bed, to the bathroom or down the hallway of the hospital. Increase your distance gradually each day, but keep your pace slow.
Resuming an Exercise Program
In general, you should be able to complete a walking workout by the time your six-week postpartum checkup rolls around. However, you might still find any exercise that involves bending over, lifting, or stair climbing too uncomfortable or difficult to tackle. It’s OK to avoid them until they don’t cause any discomfort. Watch for any symptoms such as pain, bleeding or fever.
How to Speed Recovery
You can use several other strategies to enhance recovery after a C-section so you can get back to your normal routine and exercise more quickly. Rest whenever you can, drink lots of fluids and support the area near your incision during activities such as getting up, walking, sneezing or coughing. Don’t lift objects heavier than your baby and use a pillow for support when you’re breastfeeding. Do not have sex until your doctor says you can. Take medications as directed by your doctor.