It is a horizontal incision made just above the pubic bone above the hairline. The fascia (connective tissue which covers the muscles) underneath is cut to allow the separation of the abdominal muscles. The actual muscles are very rarely cut themselves.
What is the recovery time?
Slightly longer than after a natural birth due to the operation. Some women have loss of sensation or numbness over the area of their scar and abdominals and this can sometimes take up to a year for it all to return to normal. It can make activation of certain muscles hard if a degree of sensation is lost. True recovery time is very individual as each mum has a different experience and reason why a c section has been performed. Most mums are feeling more themselves by 6 weeks!
When can I start exercising?
To be able to join a class you need to be signed ready by your doctor. Once cleared, gentle deep core and pelvic floor exercises can be started, however heavier exercise should wait until the body is feeling healed completely and the pelvic floor is working well, and there is no evidence of a Diastasis Recti or abdominal separation.
Everyone recovers at different rates and everybody has a different birth journey, so be kind to yourself. Waiting a few more weeks and truly feeling ready will pay off in the long term. There is no quick fix to strengthening or repairing the abdominal muscles. Slow, gentle work, gradually increasing will help. The deep inner muscles need to be worked to help the pelvic floor and the more superficial abdominals. Due to loss of sensation this can sometimes be hard but it's worth persevering. Also remember when breast feeding to expect the lingering effect of the pregnancy hormones to last the entire time and then for approximately 3 months afterwards. The hormones cause the joints, ligaments and muscles to soften to allow for birth and can remain slightly looser for this period.
Always remember to be kind to yourself. Giving your body enough time to heal, will in the long run reap its rewards. As eager as you feel to get your body back, rushing now when your body is working hard to heal may only cause injuries.
Seeing a Pregnancy/Postnatal therapist
When clients come to see me or join a class I will fill out a detailed consultation form with them to find out how they are both physically and emotionally. Physically I will want to know about their whole body wellness and how their body has coped and dealt with the pregnancy and the section itself.
Physically I will mainly be looking at posture and alignment of the body, breathing techniques, and discuss pelvic floor issues.