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Good Exercises for a Person Who Had a C-Section

author image Anna Aronson
Anna Aronson began working as a journalist in 2000 and spent six years at suburban Chicago newspapers before pursuing freelance work. She enjoys writing about health care topics, in particular obstetrics, pediatrics and nutrition. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and is now studying for a Master of Science in medicine degree to become a physician's assistant.
Good Exercises for a Person Who Had a C-Section
Situps are a great way to strengthen your abs again. Photo Credit: undrey/iStock/Getty Images

After having a baby, it's normal to want to start exercising and get back into shape as soon as you can. If you gave birth via C-section, though, you may have to hold off until your body has healed, BabyCenter says. You can and should starting moving around soon after the surgery, but hold off on more intensive workouts.

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Postpartum Exercises

Before you're ready to get back into your typical workout routine, do some breathing exercise and basic movements to help you recover from the C-section operation and prevent complications. Perform deep breathing and coughing to prevent post-surgical breathing problems, the Ohio State University Medical Center says. You'll also have to exercise your muscles while in bed. You can do this by pointing and relaxing your toes and wiggling your fingers and toes every few hours. Within the first 24 hours, you'll have to get up from bed and do some slow walking in your room or down the hospital corridor. Your doctor or nurse can specifically instruct you on exercises. You should not get up from your bed for the first time without help from a nurse.

Abdominal Exercises

After having a baby, your abdominal region likely will need a little attention to get back into pre-pregnancy form. Exercises that work these muscle groups can help tone your tummy. Try crunches or situps to work the abdominal muscles, BabyCenter says. Remember, though, that abdominal exercises may cause pain and discomfort where your incision was for several weeks or months after a C-section. If you have pain while working out your abs, skip it until you can do it comfortably. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.

Aerobic Exercise

It may be tempting to target your abs and try to get your belly back in shape after having a cesarean section, but you also need to get aerobic exercise to help lose the weight you gained while pregnant, BabyCenter says. If you just focus on your abdominal muscles, you'll have a nicely toned tummy but you won't even know it because it will be hiding under the baby weight. Instead, incorporate aerobic activity into your workouts to help you get into shape after delivery. Examples of aerobic activity include brisk walking, jogging, biking, hiking and dancing. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says to start with a brisk walk. As you continue to recover and feel up for it, you can try more intensive activities.


After having a C-section, refrain from exercise or other physical activity for longer than if you had a vaginal birth. In general, it takes about six weeks to recover from the surgery, the Ohio State University Medical Center says. Don't resume your exercise routine or try to work out until you get approval from your doctor, typically at the six-week postpartum checkup. Once your doctor tells you it's OK to exercise, you can ease back into your routine. If you experience pain or are sore, opt for an easier workout or skip it altogether until you feel better.

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