by: Heather Jeffcoat, DPT - Women's Health Physical Therapy, Los Angeles CA
A Cesarean Section or C-section is real surgery. Aside from the obvious birth of a baby, the cesarean section has all the other features of any invasive procedure, from the incision to the recovery time. The challenge is that new moms have a full agenda that includes feeding baby, changing diapers, and doing yet another load of laundry — leaving little time for the body to recover from surgery properly. So how can you help your body heal? Let’s start by learning more about what your needs will be in the days following the procedure.
What to Expect After a C-Section
Typically, the incision is made horizontally around the pubic hairline and is 4-6” in length. After the baby is born, the area around the site will feel sore or numb. It might also be slightly raised or puffy. The doctor will remove any staples or sutures after the third or fourth day. Protecting the wound will be a priority. For example, any strain on that area, from holding the baby to contracting during a sneeze, can damage the incision site. You may need to modify, for example, breastfeeding positions or use rolled-up towels to prop up the baby away from the scar during post-pregnancy healing. Research has also pointed to a slightly increased occurrence of urge urinary incontinence in women that have had a C-section than women that have had a vaginal delivery (who have a higher occurrence of stress urinary incontinence, especially in forceps or vacuum-assisted deliveries). Urge urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine accompanied by a strong urge to urinate. Women with urge incontinence can never seem to make it to the toilet in time. This is usually in the presence of certain behavioral cues such as putting your key in the door, hearing running water or with the increased sensation of fullness as you are making your way to the bathroom. Women that have had a cesarean delivery, but had contractions and attempted a vaginal delivery may also develop stress urinary incontinence or bladder prolapse due to the strain that is put on the pelvic floor muscles.
How to Help Your Body Heal from a C-section
Helping the body heal from this major surgery is just as important to your baby’s well-being as physically taking care of him or her. If you’re so focused on caring for your newborn and other children that you neglect yourself during post-pregnancy healing, it could trigger serious complications like an infection or poor wound healing, which could ultimately make taking care of your baby quite difficult. The resulting scar may become raised and painful, which may create hypersensitivity through the area making it difficult to wear underwear or other tight-fitting clothing. Sometimes, a light brush across a scar like this can create quite a bit of discomfort. One natural way to help the body heal is by wearing a properly designed C-section support recovery garment. A post-pregnancy healing device, like Body After Baby’s C-Section Recovery Garment, is designed by a team of medical professionals to facilitate recovery. It works by using compression and support panels to provide structure and support to the recuperating body. In addition, the C-section garment employs a side opening to keep seams and zippers away from the sensitive incision site. It also delivers gentle compression to reduce swelling (edema), aid wound healing, help retract skin, and increase circulation.
With a C-section recovery garment:
You’ll move better. The activities of daily living (ADLs) are tough when you’re dealing with a painful incision site. Unlike C-section panties or post-partum belly bands designed for vaginal deliveries, a good support garment will support all the major body parts impacted by pregnancy including the hips, and lower back, not just the C-section incision. And while it’s true that you won’t be running a marathon right away, a full-support recovery garment will help you move with more confidence and less pain.
You’ll feel stronger. Having a C-section can leave your insides feeling like they’ve been battered. Supporting the incision site as well as the surrounding muscles and tissues provide the structure that makes the abdomen feel stronger.
You’ll feel and look better. When you move with less pain, you’ll feel better more quickly—and that means you can care for your baby better. It also means you can get back to a normal life more quickly (well, a new normal, anyway!). Make C-section recovery faster and less painful by wearing a recovery support garment to help your post pregnancy body heal. An added bonus: a C-section recovery garment acts as light shapewear too, so you really do look slimmer with it on.
Specifically designed for use following a Cesarean Section delivery
A C-Section recovery garment such as the Sienna by Body After Baby, is for C-section moms that want to recover faster and more comfortably so they can regain the strength they need to actively focus on their new baby. C-Section recovery garments provide compressive support, stability and comfort during the healing period. A good garment will also feature a seamless lower-abdominal support panel that provides the correct support and compression to protect and stabilize the incision site and surrounding abdominal structures during the healing process. Additional support panels around the lower back provide core stability and increase comfort. Also look for a garment designed without direct seams over the C-section wound site, and one intended for immediate use after a C-Section delivery to help you recover in comfort, promote wound healing, and support your body during the daily activities of motherhood.
Sweet, sleepy smiles. Contagious giggles. You will adore your little bundle of joy, but you might not adore the price your body might be paying in the process. From pregnancy back pain to post pregnancy weight and condition, your body needs support for the changes that happen during and after pregnancy. But what body changes can you expect? And how can you alleviate discomfort in a natural, drug-free way and still maintain comfort?
When you’re expecting, the body goes through astounding changes and it goes through them quickly. Some of them, like feeling that little person move inside you, will make you glow. Others, well, not so much. The more uncomfortable and all too-common pregnancy aches include:
- Back pain
- Pelvic pressure
- Ligament strain
But just because these changes are natural and common, doesn’t mean you need to suffer through the discomfort they cause. Women have a range of options for finding pregnancy support, such as a high quality pregnancy support band that redistributes the abdomen’s weight off of the spine and pelvis, reducing one of the most typical complaints: pregnancy back pain.
For many moms, this is a difficult period that’s sometimes called the fourth trimester. Your body has started the process of returning to its normal state. The uterus slowly shrinks back to normal size and hormones fall back to pre-pregnancy levels. You’ll also experience several weeks of varying soreness and swelling depending on length of labor and delivery methods. Specific post pregnancy recovery needs will depend on how your baby came into the world:
Recovering from a vaginal delivery – Most women can expect a sore abdominal muscles and ligaments, as well as the perineum, which is the area that stretches to allow the baby to leave the birth canal. If you had an episiotomy, you may have stitches as well as discomfort. Many women relieve discomfort from a vaginal delivery with a combination of pain medication (either over-the-counter or prescription) and at-home remedies (such as a sitz bath.) Another way to help the body recover from a vaginal delivery is with a postpartum recovery garment, which is designed to support the muscles and tissues in the abdomen, hips, and back. The result? You get relief from post pregnancy pain so you can focus more on caring for your newborn.
Recovering from C-section delivery – This type of recovery means the body will be recuperating from major abdominal surgery. In addition to typical post pregnancy issues, such as engorged breasts, you will also find it challenging to perform simple tasks, like getting out of bed or lifting your baby from a bassinet. During C-section recovery, it’s important to listen to your health care professional’s instructions regarding pain relief and C-section scar care. Like vaginal delivery recovery, women recuperating from a C-section delivery find that a post c-section recovery garment plays a key role in helping their own bodies recover naturally.
This is most familiar as the “getting your body back” stage. The sleepless nights of infant-hood have diminished (hopefully) and the body has healed from the initial post-pregnancy recovery stage. Now it’s time to focus on getting that healthy body you want. A post pregnancy support garment will start you down the path to getting your body back. Using specially contoured panels, a post pregnancy body shaping garment molds the abdominal tissue into a shape you won’t be shy to show off.
The body changes in big ways during and after pregnancy—but you can find relief from those changes! Listen to your medical professional, and consider a pregnancy band or post pregnancy support garment to get the comfort you want and the support your body deserves.
Labor strains muscles, ligaments, and other tissues
Labor is exactly that: labor. In addition to the exhilaration and concerns you might feel about your baby, you can also expect to feel as though you just ran a marathon—even if you experienced a short labor. You can expect:
Sore muscles - After a vaginal delivery, it’s common to experience sore muscles, especially if you went through a textbook’s worth of labor positions. Achy muscles can pop up anywhere, such as the back, legs, shoulders, or chest.
Back pain - Pregnancy back pain is common, but so is back pain following a vaginal birth delivery. For instance, if your partner used counter pressure to alleviate labor pain, then expect back soreness. You may also feel back pain if you had an epidural.
Strained ligaments - Those same labor positions that triggered muscle soreness will also make the joints feel like they’ve just gone through a master yoga class. Hip ligaments are another common sore spot, often caused by pulling up and spreading the legs during the delivery.
Labor strains the abdomen
The labor strains that created sore abdominal muscles after a vaginal delivery can be made worse if you experienced abdominal separation during pregnancy. This condition happens when the growing uterus pulls the “six-pack” muscles away from each other, weakening them. Left untreated, the separated muscles cause post pregnancy lower back pain and poor posture.
Labor strains the perineum
The perineum, the area between the vagina and rectum, takes the brunt of the delivery process. After all, it’s the area that stretches to allow the baby to pass into the world. That’s why this area will be swollen or tender for several days after a vaginal delivery.
Sometimes, however, the perineum tears during vaginal birth delivery. In other situations, the doctor may perform an episiotomy (cut the perineum) to allow the baby to be born. A minor tear or an episiotomy typically heals within a week or two. Deeper tears trigger discomfort for several weeks and may also produce uncomfortable side effects, like incontinence.
Always follow your medical provider’s instructions for perineal care after a vaginal delivery. For example, they might recommend placing a medicated pad into a sanitary napkin for a minor tear or prescribe pain medication for a serious tear.
Relieve labor strains with a postpartum recovery garment
Most new moms can expect to feel the strain of a vaginal delivery for days or even weeks. But if you’re caring for an infant, your own aches and pains are the last thing you want to focus on. One way to find relief from the pain is by using a postpartum recovery support garment. Made from lightweight and supportive materials, these vaginal delivery garments support and stabilize the abdomen, pelvis and hips, making it easier for you to care for a newborn and allow your body to heal and recover in comfort.
Don’t let pain prevent you from enjoying the first precious weeks of your baby’s life. Find relief by consulting your medical provider and wearing a post pregnancy support garment.
A woman’s body takes a lot before a baby and tends to take even more after the baby. Giving your body the support that it needs during your post-pregnancy recovery (Vaginal or C-section delivery) is essential. It took nine months for those bones and tissue to shift and mutate into a formidable shape to carry your bundle of joy and it takes quite a while for them to go back...[spoiler alert: Sometimes (okay ALOT of times) everything doesn’t go back exactly where it was before].
Sure, we all know that diet and exercise is key to regaining your body after baby. However, as any new mom can attest to, a lack of sleep and the time required to care for a newborn relegates diet and dedicated exercise to the bottom of the priorities list. But don’t confuse the lack of dedicated exercise sessions with a lack of being active. New moms are very much active … in a new way. Instead of hitting the gym, they spend their days carrying around a new type of weight: their new baby.
So what is one to do? For a growing number of active moms, until they can get back on some type of exercise schedule, the answer lies in post-pregnancy support garments. These compression garments are more than a fad, they really work. Compression helps jump start the process of attaining body goals by facilitating the healing process and supporting the areas most impacted by pregnancy: hips, back and belly. Plus hormones like relaxin make the body more receptive to shaping in the months following childbirth. Added bonus: When you can squeeze it in, wearing a compression garment, during exercise gives you an extra leg up in the battle of the postpartum body bulge.
Choosing the right post-pregnancy support garment can be pretty confusing. There are a lot of products out on the market that offer support for your body such as everyday shapewear, but not all of them are really what a post-pregnancy body needs.
For instance...those that have undergone a C-section need some sort of C-section support to aid in healing. A post pregnancy compression garment that can not only help them with recover after c-section surgery by supporting the abdomen walls, back and hip structures, and most importantly, allow the incision area to get the proper support and air flow so your healing time is optimal.
Do yourself a favor and in between looking on Pinterest for nursery ideas and new mom advice, take the time to learn about the options when it comes to your body during the birthing recovery. (Abdominal separation is a real thing ladies!) Reading what other moms are doing is a great place to start.
Making sure that you take care of your body during pregnancy with a maternity support band or garment after the baby, with a post-pregnancy compression garment or body contouring shaper are simple ways to give your hard-working momma body some much needed relief and will make those first few months with the new one, even more enjoyable!
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Your body will spend nine months adapting to accommodate the little one growing inside you. But all that growing triggers changes in your body—some you’re familiar with and some that may surprise you. This guide will share 7 major body changes you can expect and a few pregnancy support options you might consider:
- Weight Gain- For most women this is the most noticeable, and often the most unwanted, effect of bearing a child. And while gaining weight is a normal process in most pregnancies, it also puts extra strain on the spine, hips, and pelvis, often triggering pain and soreness.
- Growing Uterus- The expanding abdomen as a result of a growing uterus is the source for many aches, including general abdominal discomfort, Braxton Hicks contractions, pregnancy back pain, and, in the first and third trimesters, frequent urination.
- Posture Changes- This change is a prime suspect in pregnancy back pain. As the pelvis tilts backwards to accommodate a growing fetus, the back’s natural S curve is exaggerated and less supportive. The results range from minor pregnancy back pain to painful compressed discs. A shift in posture also rolls the shoulders forward, placing extra stress on the neck.
- Abdominal Separation- The abdomen is made up of 4 pairs of muscle tissue that cover and support the area. During mid to late pregnancy, the growing uterus can pull the rectus abdominis muscles, also called the “six-pack” muscles, further apart. Up to 30% of expecting moms experience this common cause of pregnancy back pain. What’s more, after baby is born, abdominal separation can continue to cause post pregnancy pain and discomfort.
- Strained Ligaments- The non-pregnant uterus is the size of a pear, so you can imagine how much the organ and its supporting ligaments become stretched during pregnancy. As the ligaments stretch, they sometimes pull on nerve fibers, causing an uncomfortable condition called round ligament pain.
- Circulation- Pregnancy has a significant impact on the body’s circulation. In fact, during pregnancy cardiac output and blood volume increases from 30% to 50% more than normal capacity. Circulation problems result in some of the more common complaints of expecting women, including swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
- Pelvic Floor- As if the first six changes weren’t challenging enough, a few women also experience pelvic floor problems. The pelvic floor, which is made up of the soft tissues that fill the pelvis, carry the full weight of the uterus, placenta, and growing baby. The result is a muscle weakening that can result in instability and support for pelvic organs.
You don’t need to “live with” the discomfort of pregnancy.
Expecting moms have a range of options to get relief and comfort. For example, some yoga poses, like cat-cow, help stretch out the aches of pregnancy back pain. Always check with your doctor or midwife to find out what exercises are safe for you. Maintaining weight at the level recommended by your medical professional is another way to keep pregnancy aches in check.
An increasingly popular way to find relief from pregnancy back pain and other discomforts is through the use of a well-designed pregnancy support belly band. These bands, worn underneath or over clothing use specially designed panels and support features to lift the weight of the baby off the lower abdomen and back, helping mothers to carry more comfortably. The more advanced belly bands offer a sleek design, and soft, breathable moisture wicking material so they can be discreetly worn under even fitted clothing. The result is reduced pain, improved posture, and minimized swelling and fatigue, and it also allows active moms to resume their active lifestyles, whether running around town, or getting into a pregnancy safe yoga move.
Don’t allow the discomfort from pregnancy back pain and other body changes make your pregnancy miserable. Instead, consider support options that provide the relief you need and deserve.
For moms who have delivered (either naturally or via C-section), there are specific designed support garments to assist with your post pregnancy healing and recovery. These post pregnancy recovery garments are designed to support stretched muscles and ligaments, assist with wound healing, stabilize core, and retract loose skin, helping mothers to recover while alleviating some of the aches and discomforts of post-pregnancy. These are not to be confused with a belly band focused solely on temporarily shrinking the waist. Of course, getting your body back after the birth of your baby is certainly important, but you have must heal first and foremost. Using a support garment allows active mothers to perform daily activities with added support and comfort.