Weight loss after c-section: Here’s when to start exercising

When vaginal delivery is not an option, women have to bring their baby into this world via a cesarean section (c-section) or cesarean delivery. The surgical procedure helps to deliver a baby through incisions in a mommy’s abdomen and uterus. A 2021 research from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that it’s a procedure that’s becoming quite common. It says that the use of this procedure continues to rise globally, with more than one in five of all childbirths being delivered by c-section. It’s even said the recovery time can take a while. While the focus of moms remains on the newborn, they also think of weight loss after a c-section. But you should not start exercising soon after a c-section delivery, says an expert.

HealthShots connected with fitness coach Sohrab Khushrushahi, who says that a new mom’s body goes through a beautiful but traumatic experience during the delivery. So, they should focus on taking baby steps in their health and fitness journey. Just, don’t be too hard on yourself after a c-section delivery.

exercise after c-section
Go easy on your weight loss journey after a C-section. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When to start exercising after c-section?

Before you start training, you want to get a clearance from your doctor. In the case of a cesarean birth, you ideally want to start roughly 8-10 weeks post-delivery, says Khushrushahi. When you start, you begin slow and focus on core recovery and pelvic floor work. Breath work plays a huge role in your rehabilitation process as well. You then start working on getting fitter everyday and as you go down that route, the weight loss will take care of itself. It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself and not over estimate what your body can do.

Exercises women can do after c-section

Well, it all depends on how well you have healed. Initially, you should focus more on full body movements that would mimic activities of daily living.

exercise after c-section
You can do squats weeks after a c-section delivery. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are some of the exercises you can do –

1. Squats

Squats is one of the purest tests of strength, and it incorporates almost all the muscles in your legs, says the expert. The bodyweight squat, which is a good way to nail down your form, is a great way to start. Once your form is solid, you can add weights.

How to do squats?

• Stand shoulder-width apart.
• Make sure your feet are firmly pressed on the ground, so when you generate force off the ground, you’re using your entire foot.
• Once you’ve established your stance, squeeze your butt, screw your feet into the ground.
• Shoulders and upper back should be tight, with wrists straight and your elbows underneath or slightly behind the bar (for a barbell squat).
• Don’t start by bending your knees first, as that tends to load your quads and may result in a bit of knee pain for a lot of people. Instead, push your butt back and down, while keeping your back flat, your knees out and your shins vertical.
• Try and squat below parallel i.e. try to take your butt just below your knees though parallel with your knees.
• As you stand up, squeeze your butt and re-establish your starting position.

2. Bent over rows

Working on increasing your rowing strength can also help you complete your first bodyweight pull-up, which is a challenging exercise.

How to do bent over rows?

• Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly flexed.
• Flex forward at your hips, so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor and keep your eyes focused on the floor at a short distance ahead of the feet.
• Pull the dumbbells toward your torso and your elbows should point up with your wrists kept straight.
• Maintain the same stationary body position, and do not shrug your shoulders, swing your body, hyperextend your neck, extend your knees or rise up on the toes to help pull the weight.
• On the way down make sure to fully extend the elbows.

3. Shoulder press

Strong shoulders are a great base to work off and very important when it comes to overall body strength. A lot of people end up ignoring their shoulder work and that could lead to injuries and complications down the line, notes the expert.

How to do shoulder press?

• To do shoulder press, stance is important, so make sure your feet are approximately hip width apart, forearms are vertical and not flared out, with the dumbbells balancing in the centre of your palms.
• Make sure you press the weight straight over your head, so keep your shoulders pulled back, butt squeezed and belly tight. If using a bar, you want to move your head around the bar, not the bar around your head.
• Make sure you do not arch and lean back while lifting.
• As you lock out your elbows on the top, push your head through your arms back into a neutral position.

4. Farmer’s carry

The farmer’s carry targets your entire body. It helps to improve stability, grip strength and balance and is a great movement to include in the regime.

How to do Farmer’s carry?

• Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms resting at your sides. Place a set of dumbbells or kettlebells on the floor, one next to each foot.
• Squat down and grab a weight in each hand.
• Engage the core and pull your shoulder blades down and back while standing back up, returning to an upright posture.
• Step forward and begin walking. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and core muscles engaged.
• Continue walking for your desired time or distance.

Try not to do jumps or anything too drastic right after delivering a child. Your body would need to be rehabilitated first. Don’t forget to talk to a fitness expert and a doctor before you start exercising.

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