Because you have had both major surgery (a cesarean is considered major surgery) and a baby, you may have a few restrictions on your normal activities. Your doctor will tell you what the best level of activity is for you based on your condition and how well you are healing.
• Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first 2 weeks. Ask your partner or a family member to bring your baby to you
for the first few days at home. Avoid straining or doing heavy housework for at least 3 weeks.
• Limit stair climbing to 1 flight twice per day for the first week.
• Begin postpartum exercises only as directed by your doctor.
• Avoid intercourse until all vaginal discharge has stopped, you have healed completely, which usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks, and your doctor says it’s OK.
You can go outside. You can ride in a car when you feel comfortable. Your doctor will tell you when you can drive and go back to work.
Getting some exercise is important. Walking will be all the exercise you need when you first get home. Exercise increases your energy level and your sense of well-being, and helps blood circulation and muscle tone. Usually, you can begin mild strengthening exercises, such as walking, for your back and abdomen at 3 to 6 weeks. You will get the most out of walking if you use good posture. Vigorous exercise, such as aerobics, should wait until your doctor says it’s OK. It’s important to check with your doctor before you begin any exercises. He will tell you how much and how often you can exercise based on how well you are healing and how much rest you are getting.
At first, your abdomen will feel soft and flabby. It may take several weeks for the muscle tone to return. Special exercises for the abdomen will help these muscles regain their tone and strength. Your abdominal muscles may separate during pregnancy, especially if you had a big baby. This painless separation is called diastasis recti. These muscles usually heal back together during the first 6 weeks. After these muscles heal, you may be allowed to begin exercises that strengthen these muscles.
More About Self Care After Cesarean Birth
Introduction to Self-care After Cesarean Birth
Preventive Self Care
Physical Changes and Healing
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
Activities and Healthy Exercise
Nutrition and Diet
Family Planning and Birth Control
Normal “Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression
Your Postpartum Check-Up
Get as Much Rest as You Can
When to Call Your Doctor