One third out of all deliveries in the United States is a C-section*. Whether it is planned or emergency, C-sections account for a great deal of births, and while the health risks from C-sections have gone down significantly, it is still a major abdominal surgery. Take a second to consider the layers of tissue, muscles, fascia and organs that are cut through during the process and after this massive surgery, the lucky new mom goes home with a completely dependent bundle of joy. A tiny bundle, which requires constant focus. The combination of feeding cycles and sleep deprivation leave little room for the new mom to figure out, or even think about, how to recover from such a big surgery. It is because of this, that it took me two and a half years to realize the depth in which my own C-section, which resulted in a beautiful baby boy, had affected my core.
As you would expect, returning to my practice after such a surgery was difficult, as there were various poses I could no longer inhabit without struggling uncomfortably. I wasn’t too concerned at first – after all, my stomach had been stretched to the max and then cut open. A year later, when these same poses were still out of grasp, I gave up on them, figuring they would just never be the same for me. My practice had evolved after the birth of my children and missing out on a few poses would not be the end of me, but I still had an inkling in the back of mind that something just wasn’t quite right. My core just wasn’t firing like it used to.
Let’s take a step back here and talk about why that was happening. Scares are more than skin deep and actually run all the way from the surface to the deepest layers the surgeon touched. As your body recovers from a wound its main concern is wound closure and the direction at which the fibers of new skin run means very little. Its main concern, as it should be, is to close the wound. It achieves this goal by throwing down collagen fibers in every way necessary, which is why a scar is different in appearance than regular skin. As scar tissue is built, its disorganized structure can hinder the musculature and nervous tissue housed within and around it.
While the superficial scar is the one most apparent, there are usually multiple layers of tissues that have been cut and stitched together, leaving multiple layers of scar to be dealt with. With a C-section specifically, skin, adipose (fat) tissue, superficial fascia, peritoneum (abdominal cavity lining), and the uterus is cut*. While the rectus abdominis is not cut, it is often times pulled apart in order to access the deeper layers*. I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of tissue that will need to recover! I personally did not receive any advice on how to properly rehabilitate myself, other than to walk around as much as you can. While walking is a full body movement and a great way to recover, I did not feel back to 100% normal after my baby was born. Thankfully, I found the Coregeous DVD, which helped me reconnect with my transverse abdominis, smooth out my scar tissue, and regain my low back health.
Come back on Friday to learn which Yoga Tune Up® poses led me down the path to recovery.