How to Thrive After a C-Section…AND Get Your Eco-Sexy Back On!

It is now 9 months after my daughter was born. I still find even now that I can’t do things I used to be able to do and my core strength is all but non-existent. Not good when you have a bubba to pick up, put down, play with & carry all day, day in day out. 

 

 

I am told though that my recovery was fast and easy by comparison to most other women which gots me to thinking. Although my tum-tum isn’t quite as flat or taunt as it used to be, the scar has healed well and I have had no complications at all. Why is that? 

 

 

Read on to find out all I did from woe to go to help myself heal from what is the biggest disruption my body has had. 

 

 

Healing Help

 

Because most of your pain killing chemicals come from the gut (more on that here from Point Of No Return, a great site about how to safely withdraw from drugs and chemical prescriptions) it is SO important that your gut is in the best state of health it can be, before, during and after pregnancy. I understand that’s not always possible but here are some things to implement today into your lifestyle which I found aided in a faster recovery:

 

·         Daily doses o f probiotics – twice a day

 

·         ½ cup of coconut water or goats milk kefir (I take mine in smoothies now) 

 

·         Vitamin C (I took 5000mg a day but up to 10000mg a day if I was unwell to support my adrenal glands and promote cell rejuvenation) 

 

·         Stinging Nettle infusion which is chock full of green goodness and a tonne of really helpful and healing vitamins and minerals – you’ll need them

 

·         A good quality practitioner strength Natal Vitamin 

 

·         Fish oil in high doses – I took 10000mg a day whilst I was recovering and still do

 

 

Herbal Healing Help

 

I took Stinging Nettle infusion daily and have been doing it ever since. I can’t talk to you enough about the pure greatness of this wonderful herb! My goodness! I have recovered from Adrenal Burnout (a pretty spectacular breakdown was had 2.5 years ago now) taken myself off my medication once and for all (see more on that here) and now am losing weight in preparation for my wedding (and that is all here if you wanted to read up on that for later). I attribute my success with all of this to my daily Stinging Nettle infusion. What a life-saving herb for us Eco Mums it is! If you haven’t already done so, order some here  – I order in 2kg lots because I have 1 cup of dried herb every day, sometimes two cups! 

 

 

So, Stinging Nettle is SUCH a must if you’re recovering from c-section surgery. It has a long list of vitamins, is incredibly alkalising and aids the recovery of overworked and sluggish adrenal glands – which will help you heal faster. More on the greatness and wonderfulness of Stinging Nettles here and here is how to make infusions of Stinging Nettle from Susan Weed – a VERY wise herbal healing master). 

 

I found herbs pivotal in my c-section healing

Here’s my list of GREAT herbs I had on hand to help me recover:

 

·         Stinging Nettle (and LOTS of!) 

 

·         Comfrey leaf (which I added to the Stinging Nettle infusion and made poultices from the soaked herb and applied to the scar each day)

 

·         Comfrey cream which I applied 3 times a day around the area

 

·         Lemon Balm – to calm my worried mind and help me sleep. Sleep is one of THE most important parts of recovery. 

 

·         Chamomile – I would take chamomile tea to help with the pain when I first got out of hospital. 

 

·         Rasberry Leaf – this helps the uterus to continue contracting so it will go back to normal size more quickly. You can add this to your Nettle Infusion or make a separate one of Rasberry and Comfrey leaf. 

 

And here is my list of MUST have supplements that I used to help aid my fast recovery;

 

·         Metagenics Vitamin C powder – I took 5000 – 10 000mg daily to help my burned out and tired adrenal glands which helps regulate hormones, speed up metabolism and just generally function better. It also aids in cell rejuvenation and skin cells to repair. 

 

·         Fish oil – I took the Blackmores 2000mg double strength capsules or the Ethical Nutrients High Strength Fish oil. I would take 6000 – 10 000mg a day of Fish Oil and I still do. 

 

·         Natal Multi-Vitamin – I took the Natal Plus pregnancy vitamin every day during pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure I was getting TONNES of the good stuff to help me heal.

 

·         Vitamin E – I would take 3 – 5 capsules a day to assist my skin in repairing and healing itself all over my belly. I also squeezed out capsules into some grapeseed oil and rubbed over the scar after my “stitches” were removed to help stop it becoming too ropey.

 

 

So that’s the diet, herbs and supplements I personally found most helpful. The other side of the equation is the exercises. 

 

In the very early stages after the surgery I was WAY to sore to be doing anything but a little walking or deep breathing. After a while though I added to it a bit more & made sure I was doing a little housework each day to help keep me active. 

 

From this point, I am going to ask my brother, Chris Forrest of Forrest Personal Training to step in with his tips and advice on exercises to help you recover gently and safely from a c-section! He’s had similar surgery and has done all these himself – with great results!

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Please Consult Your Doctor Before Doing Any Abdominal Exercise Post C – Sections!

 

Exercises from Chris Forrest – Forrest Personal Training

 

 

 

Once your incision has healed (stitches are dissolved or taken out) and you don’t feel pain when contracting your stomach, you can start the following exercises and work up the repetitions slowly over time to increase your stamina and rebuild strength. 

 

1.      Stomach Contractions

 

First, you want to try and pull your belly button in towards your spinal cord by “sucking in” your stomach. Hold this position for 5 seconds then release. 

 

Whilst doing this exercise try to ensure you continue breathing – DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH.

 

Try and work your way up to 5-10 contractions several times a day. 

 

2.      Breathing Stomach Strengthening Exercise

 

Lying on your back on the floor, with arms at your sides, knees bent, feet resting flat on the floor. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth – repeat 3 – 5 times. 

Don’t flatten your back or tilt your pelvis, let you back remain in its natural curve.

 

Breathe in slowly and deeply. Now, breathe out and tighten your stomach muscles, pulling your navel towards your spine.

 

Try and work your way up to 5-10 contractions several times a day. 

 

Remember to concentrate on contracting the muscles below your belly button without flattening your back. When you are able to contract and relax your abdominal muscles without moving your back, you have learned to properly isolate the correct muscles. You can then move onto the following exercises.

 

3.                   Lying Leg Slides

 

Position yourself by lying on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides. 

 

Use the technique in exercise 2 to isolate the lower abdominal muscles and do this to hold your stomach in position.

 

Keeping one knee bent, slowly slide the opposite leg out until it is straight & parallel with the floor and then slide it back up to bent knee position. Relax then repeat with the other side. 

 

Remember not to flatten your back and to keep the curve of your spine relaxed. When you can comfortably to 20 legs slides on each leg you can move onto the next exercise.

 

 

4.                   Lying Bent Leg Lift

 

Once again, position yourself by lying on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides. 

 

Use exercise 2 to isolate your abdominals and hold your stomach into position.

 

Keeping one knee bent, slowly raise your right leg (keeping it bent) between 5 – 10cms off the ground. If your back flattens to the floor then you have gone too far, lower and start again. 

 

Hold the raised position for 5-10 seconds (whilst still breathing) then return to starting position and relax your stomach.

 

Repeat the other side. Continue for 5-10 repetitions on each leg.

 

You can do this exercise 1-2 times a day.

 

 

5.                   Lying Straight Leg Lift

 

Repeat the exercise from Exercise 4 but do so with a straight let instead of a bent leg.

 

It is important to ensure that your back must not flatten to the floor whilst doing these exercises. Equally important is to only raise the leg to a comfortable level. 

 

If you feel any pain once you have progressed to Exercise 5, go back to Exercise 4 and build strength for a few more days.

 

 

6.                   “Glute” Bridge 

 

Position yourself by lying on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides. 

 

Place a pillow under your head/neck if needed.

 

With both feet planted on the floor and your stomach muscles isolate and “engaged” (from Exercise 2). Raise your buttock off the ground and bring your hips up until you form a straight line from your knee to your shoulders. 

 

Hold for 3 deep breaths then lower and relax.

 

Repeat 5-10 times.

 

Gradually increase the time you are in the top position until you hold for 30 seconds at a time.

 

Once you are able to do the “Glute” Bridge for 30 seconds move onto the next exercise.

 

 

7.                   Breathing Stomach Hold (on all fours)

 

Position yourself on hands and knees (all fours) breathing deeply and then gently draw your belly button towards your spine. Hold the contraction and breathe in and out three times.

 

Repeat 10 times rest and then repeat again another 10 times.

 

Do this 1-2 times a day.

 

 

8.                   Stomach Hold Arm Lift  (on all fours)

 

Position yourself on all fours once again as in Exercise 7. 

 

Slowly lift one arm and extend out in front of you, raising your head to look down your arm toward your fingertips. 

 

Hold for 3 deep breaths then lower your arm. 

 

Repeat 10 times on each side.

 

Do this 1-2 times a day.

 

 

9.                   Stomach Hold Arm Lift

 

Position yourself on all fours again as in Exercises 7 & 8. 

 

Slowly lift one leg and extend behind you keeping it as straight as possible.  

 

Do not arch your neck or arch your back.

 

Hold this position for 3 deep breaths then lower.

 

Repeat 10 times each side

 

Do this 1-2 times a day. Once you can do the exercise 7, 8, 9 without pain and discomfort you can then move on the following.

 

 

10.               Bird Dog

 

Position yourself once again on all fours as in Exercises 7, 8 and 9. 

 

Slowly raise one arm and extend out in front of you. At the same time raise and extend the opposite leg behind you. 

 

Try to keep your back flat and neck down so you form a straight line from fingertips to toes, along your neck, back and leg. 

 

Hold this for 3 deep breaths then lower.

 

Repeat 10 times each side.

 

Once you can perform the above exercises without any discomfort, you may feel comfortable moving onto the more traditional abs exercises like this (called The Ab Workout Of The Year).

 

You CAN thrive not long after a c-section

So there you have it! Straight from the Personal Trainers / Horses Mouth – Chris actually did these exercises himself after a similar surgery and made a full and decent recovery very quickly. Feel free to pop by his page to ask any questions on this or clarify anything – say hi and tell him you’re an Eco Mum. He’ll take good care of you! 

 

 

In fact he has a special deal going ONLY for us Eco Mums (I rang him begging to help us out because we’re mothers, we suffer, you know – DAILY SUFFERING with lack of sleep & booby juice & never having time to be able to brush our hair again AND on top of it all we have no longer got flat tummies anymore and it is just not fair and can he PLEEEASE pretty pretty PLEEEEEEASE do something nice & put something together for us lovely Eco Mummas? He said yes… go here & use the code “Flat Tums for Eco Mums” for a great deal on online training & support from a very good, dedicated, sensitive Personal Trainer…!) 

 

 

I personally have never been into full on ab crunching type things – not my style & I find they create more “bulky” abs whereas I just want to my more flat tummy back again – that involves lengthening which is where I find Pilates and Yoga to be very helpful. 

 

 

The key I found to fast recovery is to do a little more each day, eat well, drink LOTS of Nettle Infusion and be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to play “Princess” occasionally and go to bed for a day to rest. You’ve just had MAJOR surgery and you also have a new bubba and a lot less sleep. No one should be expecting you to be able to do it all straight away and if they are – slap them eco style up-side the head then turn on your heal & get yourself a massage! 

 

 

Happy flat tum-tum healing,