Mommy Workout: C-Section Recovery - Restorative Cycle, Week 3, Day 1
The goal of these workouts is to begin the slow process of healing after a c-section. The workouts are posted three times a week and focus on three critical aspects of recovery:
- Restoration of the Abdominal Muscles
- Re-conditioning the Body With Regular Walking
These workouts are intended for women who are still in the first eight weeks of recovery post-cesarean. You can start the routines as early as two days after your c-section. The goal of this cycle is to get you to a point where you are comfortable walking up to one hour at a moderate to brisk pace with a stroller. There are four two-week phases and you will gradually increase the length of walks and amount of exercises during each week. Each workout includes a short meditation practice to help you process your birth experience and adjust to the mental and emotional demands of caring for a newborn.
If you experience pain at the incision site at any time during these exercises, stop immediately. Feel free to modify the workouts as needed and increase or decrease the intensity as you feel comfortable. Congratulations on the birth of your baby and best of luck in your recovery!
Phase 2: Week 3, Day 1
Phase 2: Upright Exercise and Walking Focus
This two-week phase focuses on reconnecting with the transverse abdominal muscles while also transitioning into upright exercise. You will work up to 35 minutes of walking each day. In meditation the focus is healing, accepting the changes that come with the birth of a new baby, and reconnecting with your breath.
A. Upright Exercises
Do all the following exercises with as little pause between them as is comfortable.
- Belly Breathing x 20 breaths: Stand tall with your feet a hip width apart. Place one hand on your abdomen as you inhale deeply. Focus on expanding through the diaphragm. When you exhale, draw your navel in gently toward your spine.
- Leg Raises x 20 (10/side): Hold on to the wall or other support as you gently raise your right leg to the side, then lower. Repeat 10 times, then do the same on the left leg. Focus on extending through the spine and activating your deep core muscles.
- Leg Circles x 40 (20/side): Moving back to the right leg, raise your leg about 5 inches off the ground and make 10 small circles in a clockwise motion. Rest if needed, then continue in a counterclockwise direction. Repeat on the left side.
- Pelvic Rocking x 1 minute: Place your palms on your thighs and do gentle pelvic tilts for one minute, resting as needed.
- Walk for 10 minutes, rest for 5 minutes, then walk 10 more minutes.
- Walk for 5 minutes, rest for 2 minutes, then walk 5 more minutes.
The incision site can cause pain and discomfort for some time after delivery. I had incision-related complications after my second c-section and it took almost three months for it to heal completely. Even if your incision is healing beautifully, chances are it still causes discomfort from time to time. This meditation is meant to aid in the healing process, particularly if your incision is taking longer than usual to heal or if your c-section was unexpected or unplanned.
Sit in a quiet space and gently place your hand over your incision site. Do not apply pressure, but simply tune into how it feels. Imagine your baby emerging from the incision site at his or her birth. Be grateful for this scar and for a safe delivery. If this reflection creates a positive sense of gratitude, stay here for ten deep breaths. If you feel any sense of resentment or disappointment surrounding your scar, move on to the Shifting Perspectives Meditation.