Diagram of a Caesarean SectionA Caesarean section is major abdominal surgery so it’s no surprise that it’s going to take you a little while to get back on track afterwards. Many people assume that your tummy muscles are cut when you have a Caesarean section which will mean a long recovery period. This simply isn’t true.

A cut approximately 15cm wide is made just above your pubic bone, through multiple layers of skin and fascia. The rectus abdominus muscle (your six pack muscle) is then manually separated to allow the surgeon to gain access to your uterus but it’s NOT cut.

It’s worth planning to have family around to help you in those early weeks. If your partner is taking paternity leave for the first two weeks it might be an idea to get family to come and stay with you once he has returned to work. It takes about six weeks for tissues to heal, so during this time you need to really be taking it easy – eat well, drink plenty, sleep as much as you can and try to go for gentle walks as this will help to boost your circulation, flushing out toxins and promoting healing. Avoid lifting anything heavier than baby in those early weeks and do make sure you take adequate pain killers.

Many mums find themselves stooping when they walk after a Caesarean. Although it may feel that the stitches may ‘pop’ if you walk straight – this won’t happen but your back will definitely start to feel sore. Gently holding your tummy near the incision when you walk and also when you cough or laugh can feel more comfortable.

The layers of tissue that are cut will then undergo scarring once they have been sewn back together. Scar tissue and adhesions can affect the distribution of fat around your tummy which explains the ‘overhang’ that many mums talk about after they’ve had a caesarean. So, once your scar has healed at about seven or eight weeks postnatal, try to gently massage your scar using moisturiser or massage oil. This will help to break down the scar tissue and promote healing by boosting the circulation to the area.

Don’t start doing sit-ups, high impact exercise or any exercise programme that isn’t specifically designed for recovering mums. Make sure you give yourself the time you need to recover properly!

@Womens_HealthPT

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Central Health Physiotherapy

Central Health Physiotherapy was founded in 1992 by Chartered Physiotherapist Natasha Price. Known initially as Chancery Lane Physiotherapy, the company changed its name in 2005 as services expanded. Central Health Physiotherapy has grown to become a multi-faceted operation with the aim of providing health and wellness services to individuals and corporations. The company constantly appraises advances in the field of medical science to return, maintain and build people’s health and fitness. CHP now operates from three London locations: Chancery Lane which remains the Head Office, Warm Seas House in St John’s Wood and The Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Whilst musculoskeletal physiotherapy remains core to Central Health Physiotherapy, the company offers a full range of health and wellness services including home visits (in London and now in Cornwall - with more locations to come) women's health, neuro, paediatric and vestibular physio, ergonomics, Pilates classes, personal training, occupational therapy, podiatry, nutrition, acupuncture and massage. We also have specialist hydrotherapists at the clinics at the Royal Hospital Chelsea which has a large hydrotherapy pool. With over 30 practitioners, Central Health Physiotherapy is one of the largest employers of its kind. All the therapists are chartered and registered with The Health and Care Professionals Council. For more information on Central Health visit www.central-health.com.

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