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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.

core muscles

All the layers of core musculature can be affected during c-sections and abdominal surgery.

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.

DSCN0240

While my c-section brought me my baby boy, the recovery was more difficult than I imagined.

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.

Resources

*http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/delivery.html
*http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/cesarean-section-operation#AftertheSurgery3

Enjoyed this article? Read If these scars could talk – Post C-Section Recovery

 

Kevyn McAnlis

Kevyn started practicing yoga during college in 2003 as a method for relaxation and stress relief. Her study of Anatomy and Physiology helped to deepen her practice. In 2010 she received her 200 hour teacher training certification from Corepower Yoga in Aliso Viejo, California. As Kevyn began exploring new styles of yoga, she walked into a Yoga Tune Up® class. The mix of anatomy with asana won her over and she became YTU certified in 2013. She teaches Vinyasa and Yoga Tune Up® classes in the Bay Area.

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Pamela Cupak

I believe there needs to be vast improvement in care of mothers post birth and especially post c section. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips for recovery.

Vivi Sorensen

I had a c section almost a year ago and I don’t feel fully recovered yet, at least not to the capacity to the state I was in earlier and you’re right that is a lot of tissue that needs to recover. I loved my coregeus ball when I was pregnant and still use it every time I practise.

Amélie Savard

Thank you for sharing. Caesarean sections are so trivial that we forget how big operations they are. It is essential to better inform mothers about rehabilitation after cesarean section.

Haley Bevers

I will be telling all my new mommies to invest in the Coregeous ball and dvd to help them get their strength back. Thanks for sharing.

Sierra

Thank you for the in depth explanation of scar tissue. This is helpful not just for post-pregnancy, but for any tissues that have scar tissue built up.

Krysten Hills

Thank you for sharing. I also had a c-section (5 months ago) and thought my weakness was just part and parcel to having a baby. Happy to hear there are specific things I can focus on to get my core back. I plan to order the courageous series and start using it as soon as it comes!

Christina

Thank you for sharing your story. It is amazing how quickly women are shooed out of the hospital after a c-section without proper instruction as to how to recovery from the scar tissue forming. This is a great reminder of the depth of surgery that some women have to go through. A very good read.

Camille Corrivault-Gascon

Avant d’avoir suivie la formation Yoga tune up, j’étais déjà consciente de certains impacts négatifs que la césarienne peut avoir lors d’un accouchement mais ses impacts étaient davantage relié à la santé du bébé. Maintenant, ayant une meilleure connaissance de nos muscles et sachant un peu plus l’utilités de chacun, j’ai une nouvelle compréhension de l’impact de la césarienne.
Merci pour cet article pertinent.

Georgia Lowe

Great reminder for how scarring works, and the layers of fast weaving back together muscles undergo after major surgery like C-section. It’s hard to remember it’s not just just skin-deep. Thank you for the kindly-written, clear explanation.

April

I wish every woman who has been cut in this way, either by c-section or hernia surgery etc can have more information about how to rehabilitate and rebuild their core. These tools are invaluable!

Tami Cole

Many of my friends are pregnant or have recently given birth so I am extremely interested to learn all I can about pregnancy; maintaing your health during and then the healing process for the body after giving birth. I hope to do all I can to help the amazing mothers around me. This was a great blog for I had no idea the of the depth and scaring the abdominal cavity goes through during a C-section. I’m thinking I can offer up the coregous ball to new moms C-section or not; since that area was over stretched for many months… Read more »

C. Chiu

I didn’t have a C-section, but using the Coregeous ball was still really beneficial to helping restore my post-baby belly (at least, I think so!). After you give birth, your body is left with this weird squishy mass for what feels like months. Rolling on the coregeous ball feels fantastic.

Aracelly Latino-Feliz

It’s quite common for OB’s not to prescribe therapy post C-section, unfortunately. Nevertheless, the use of the Courageous series is amazing. It’s helps mobilize tissue for improved breathing, which then increases the ability of the core to properly stabilize the spine. Thank you for sharing your story and it’s incredible to see how resilient our body can be once you’re able to find the right pathway.