Written by Candice Pearce, a Mum of 2 and Bumps & Burpees Trainer
I’m a mum of two little monkeys and both came out of the sunroof! I’m not going to lie before having my first C-section I thought they were the easier birth option. Wow, was I wrong!! My son, Ethan, was born four years ago and unfortunately, I didn’t get the birth I had hoped for!
After 4 days of labour, and two hours of pushing (sorry pregnant ladies) he was born via emergency C-section. I was exhausted, full of drugs and had never felt so disconnected to my body. I also felt I hadn’t bonded with my newborn son. After the trauma with my first birth I took the decision to have an elective C-section for my second baby. I had friends that had successful v-bac (vaginal both post C-section), but I was too traumatised to consider it.
I was keen to write this blog to share my tips for C-section recovery to try and help other women out there who may be booked for their first C-section, be at risk of having one or recently given birth via C-section. Don’t the forgot the emotional impact a C-section can have There is so much focus on the physical recovery that we often don’t think about the emotional impact a C-section can have. Even though your baby is here safe and sound, it’s ok to feel upset that your labour didn’t go to plan. I couldn’t talk about Ethan’s birth for at least a year without crying and was petrified about having the same experience second time round. Talking through my first birth at a Birth Options clinic (*whist I was pregnant second time round) was hugely cathartic. I wish I’d done it sooner!
So, if you feel this way, I’d encourage you to get your GP or midwife to talk you through your birth and the reasons why your C-section happened. You have the right to this.
it also helps sharing your story with other new mums as you soon realise you’re not alone with how you feel. Move, move and move some more Yes, a C-section is a major operation and you might feel like you have been hit by a bus but it’s so important to get moving as early as possible! Even within 24hours of having your baby (ask your medical professional if it’s ok first) The midwives in hospital generally encourage movement but make sure you continue to increase your movement gradually when home. It might be easy to stay in bed for hours on end with baby being brought to you but the sooner you can get moving the quicker you will recover.
In the early days you may feel you want to stoop forward to help protect your scar, but this could have a negative impact on your posture. Instead, when walking try and stand tall, and when sneezing etc. place a hand over your scar for extra support. I’d never walked so much in my life until after my C-sections! It’s a great way to gradually increase activity without putting too much strain on your body. Take very short walks initially (just round the block) and gradually increase the distance, listening to your body so you don’t over– do it. Your scar will also give you feedback if you’ve taken it too far. Taking a walk also reduces the risk of blood clots – a risk factor post birth.
Wait until you have had your six-week checkup before trying to return to the gym or more intense exercise. I’m a personal trainer and I didn’t return to the gym until 9 weeks postnatal. Everyone’s recovery and scar healing is different. Start your pelvic floor and core exercises as soon as possible
As soon as you have had your first wee you can start focusing on strengthening your pelvic floor and other core muscles. At first, when your start your traditional pelvic floor exercises, you might not feel very much at all but try to do them at least a few times a day to start with and you’ll gradually start to feel the connection. The pelvic floor activation can also work the lower abdominals therefore you may find it pulls on your scar initially so take it slowly
Look after your scar I’m lucky that although Ethan’s birth was an emergency C-section my scar is pretty neat and I don’t have a lot of scar tissue; unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a lot of women. In the early days make sure you’re looking out for weeping around the scar or lack of general healing as this is a sign of infection. Once the scar has fully healed it’s worth massaging your scar. This can help reduce that tugging feeling, swelling and the common overhang. It also helps increase blood flow to the area which will aid healing You could also book in with a professional scar massage therapist who can help to provide a deeper massage and also identify is there a buildup of scar tissue underneath your actual scar. And Finally…
Wear your scar with pride
I felt ashamed for a long time to say Ethan was born via C-section, I felt I’d failed to do what my body was designed to do. Then a friend told me to get a grip and that I was a badass warrior just like any woman who had given birth. It doesn’t matter whether your baby came out of the sunroof or your vagina, you’re a Tough Mother who is doing the best for their baby!