A cesarean delivery (C- section) is a surgery where an incision is made through the abdominal wall to deliver a baby quickly and safely. Cesarean deliveries are sometimes medically necessary, but the recovery time is slightly longer than vaginal birth. For this reason, caution should be taken.
Having a cesarean delivery can have a big impact on a mother’s mental and physical health in the weeks afterward.
Physical therapy can help you in your recovery after a C-section by giving you skills to regain optimal body function and help you get back on your feet, doing the activities you value in addition to taking care of your new little one.
To speed up their recovery, below are Eight effective physical therapy tips to try:
1- Get plenty of rest:
Rest is vital for recovery from any surgery. Yet for many new parents, rest is nearly impossible with a newborn in the home. Newborns keep irregular hours and may sleep for only 1 or 2 hours at a time.
Mom’s should always try to sleep when the baby sleeps, or get help from a loved one so they can take a nap. It is also important to keep mobile each day to reduce the risk of developing a blood clot. Start with just pottering around your home to begin, and then gradually build up your distances outdoors as you feel able.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by chores or to want to entertain visitors. But giving up sleep to put away dishes or keep the house clean can be damaging to someone’s health. It is more sensible to try to sleep as much as possible.
2- Cesarean Delivery Scar Massage:
As a cesarean delivery scar heals, the different layers of skin and fascia can become adhered to each other, limiting your range of motion. However, massage can help minimize thickened scar tissue formation and surrounding inflammation, and ensure a smoother flatter, pain-free and supple scar, and also help you connect with your abdominal muscles again. These adhesions may lead to future problems like urinary frequency, or hip or back pain. A scar tissue massage also referred to as scar tissue release helps break up the adhesions and assists with proper tissue healing.
Note that you can only begin scar massage after your scar is healed and your doctor gives you the green light.
3- Fight constipation:
The combination of hormonal shifts, weaker stomach muscles, and spending lots of time lying down can lead to constipation. Severe constipation can be painful, and straining can injure the C-section incision. Drink plenty of water and ask a specialist about taking a stool softener. Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, can help to prevent constipation.
4- Get support for breastfeeding:
Having a C-section is linked to a higher risk of breastfeeding difficulties. A lactation consultant can help new parents successfully breastfeed, even when they face obstacles, such as separation from the baby after birth. If breastfeeding is not going well, people should ask for help.
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If a new parent is in pain, sitting in a comfortable, supportive chair and using a breastfeeding cushion, or nursing in a laid-back, reclining position can make breastfeeding easier.
Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first 6 weeks whilst your scar is healing. If you have other small children, encourage them to climb up to you, when you are sitting down, rather than bending to pick them up. Accept all the help you can from others and really try to minimize other activities housework, carrying or pushing heavy objects, etc. that causes any strain.
6- Pain Management:
There is no need to be in pain while struggling with all the other demands of new parenting. People must take the pain relievers prescribed by their doctor. It is better that you aren’t in pain and are able to move and breathe well than you suffer and end up restricting your movement. If they do not work or if the pain gets worse, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a healthcare provider for advice.
7- Watch for signs of Infection:
Some specialists will ask new parents to take their own temperature every 24 hours to monitor for signs of infection. People can consult with their doctor or midwife to ask if this is a good strategy. Also, people must be mindful of other signs of infection, such as swelling, intense pain, red streaks coming from the incision, or chills. Contact a doctor or go to the emergency room if these symptoms appear.
Ensure you are aware of your posture, standing, and sitting well can reduce the risks of developing future aches and pains particularly with repetitive tasks like feeding, changing, and carrying your baby. Make sure you are sitting comfortably with support for your back when you are feeding, and try to change your baby’s nappies on a surface that allows you to stand straight and not hunch over. When standing or walking, avoid being bent forwards even if it feels tight and sore in your scar region, take your time to gently stretch and stand up tall before you start moving forwards. This will be better for your back and ensure your scar doesn’t heal in a shortened position.
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Conclusively, After a cesarean delivery, it’s important to activate and strengthen these areas so that they can provide support, decrease your risk of injury, and help you make a full recovery postpartum.