I had a patient who is currently pregnant ask me “What happens if I have a C-section? Will I need pelvic floor physical therapy after?” To which my answer was “Yes!” During pregnancy and birth, the body goes through a lot of changes, and every postpartum mom can benefit from pelvic floor PT, whether they had a vaginal or cesarean delivery.
Below are a couple tips for the postpartum period following a cesarean delivery -
Take time to rest. A cesarean birth is major surgery which requires rest to help with the healing process. The first few days, easing into activity is key. Early activities can include diaphragmatic breathing and standing in an upright posture to help relax the abdomen and gently elongate the abdominal muscles/incision site. Walking is also a great activity for the early postpartum period, but listen to your body and don’t push it!
Find a good pillow. Yes, for sleep, but also for pooping! That first postpartum poop can be tough. To make things a little easier, you can gently hug a pillow into your abdomen while you gently bear down. This helps with managing intra-abdominal pressure and also supporting the healing incision. The pillow can also be used if you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on, for the same reasons.
Give yourself some grace. I find that many of my patients want to return to intense exercise too quickly. Just because you get the “all clear” at your six-week postpartum follow up, doesn't mean you’re ready for high intensity exercise. So don't rush it! There are many great postpartum exercise programs. They tend to be more generalized programs and not tailored to your personal postpartum recovery. If your symptoms aren’t improving, or even getting worse, you might benefit from a pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation to address your body’s specific needs.
I hope these tips are helpful for your recovery! As always, if you feel like you may need additional support, a pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation can help address any concerns or symptoms that you are experiencing.