Following up on our last post about changing the discussion surrounding cesarean deliveries, the following should serve as a general guideline to creating a proactive c-section recovery plan.
Every case is unique, and if you have specific questions you should always check with your provider.
First let’s talk about the parent's recovery plan.
The major issues that we want to combat post surgically are: scar tissue, structural alignment, and muscular dysfunction.
To address the scar tissue aspect, you should find a massage therapist who has experience in postoperative massage techniques and corrective techniques. Once your incision is healed and you’re cleared by your OB/GYN, work with your massage therapist to break up adhesions and restore your abdominal tissues to their proper state.
At the same time, you’ll want to ensure your structural alignment is normalized, which may take some time as your body adjusts to its post-pregnancy state.
This may take less time if you were under quality Structural Chiropractic Care during at least some of your pregnancy, but either way, now is the time to take charge.
You’ll want to wait until you can lie on your stomach for short periods of time and your incision has healed - usually about 6 weeks. At this point, a Structural Chiropractor will help you begin the process of normalizing your pelvic and spinal structure - helping with residual discomfort, and complementing your overall recovery plan.
Lastly, you should seek the help of a corrective movement specialist to correct any dysfunctional movement patterns you may have developed during pregnancy and those first few painful postpartum weeks. From back and hip pain to pelvic floor problems and incontinence - the difference that corrective exercise can make in your postpartum recovery is astounding.
Moving on to baby’s concurrent recovery plan, we have a different set of concerns to address.
Structural dysfunction of the head and neck are of paramount importance during baby’s early days as these may contribute to feeding difficulties and have lasting impacts.
While mom should wait roughly 6 weeks after a cesarean delivery to begin the recovery plan, baby should be seen by a Structural Chiropractor as soon as possible after delivery.
The sooner any structural issues are addressed, the easier they will be to correct and the less likely they are to negatively impact baby’s feeding, sleeping, and milestone development.
Some babies may also benefit from infant massage, especially if they were premature or if their delivery was especially traumatic as can sometimes be the case in an emergency. This is something on which your massage therapist will likely be able to provide instruction so you can incorporate infant massage into your baby’s routine at home.
If you move into your birth with a solid recovery plan - whether you’re planning a cesarean delivery or are concerned one may become necessary, many of the negative health effects of c-sections may be able to be alleviated, resulting in a happier postpartum for you and a healthier start to life for your baby!
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