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After an episiotomy
An episiotomy usually takes 7 to 10 days to heal. To decrease pain and strain on the perineal area during healing:
• Contract your buttock muscles (glutes) before sitting.
• Sit on a firm pillow or inflated tube.
• Try not to sit or stand for too long.
• Do Kegels; they won’t rip your stitches, and practicing them will tone the perineum and aid healing.
Moves to go
Jennifer Gianni, creator and host of the DVD/video Fusion Pilates for Post Pregnancy and C-Section Recovery (Tapeworm, fusionpilates.com), created this gentle workout to help the body heal after childbirth. “New moms need movement to increase circulation, avoid blood clots and get their digestion back to normal,” Gianni explains. “My DVD is designed to make your body feel better so you can enjoy your life as a mother.” The video also includes real footage of the host immediately after her C-section, offering tips on what to expect and how to care for yourself during your hospital stay.
After a C-section
Recovering from a C-section is very taxing. It’s major abdominal surgery, so it’s important to rest and ask for help during the first few days. Although you may not feel like getting out of bed right away, gentle walking will help speed your recovery, improve lung function, promote circulation and activate your bladder and bowels, which are slowed by surgery. To get up from a reclining position, do Log Rolls (see No. 6). Gently coughing several times a day will clear the lungs and help to expand the rib cage after surgery, while holding a pillow against your incision will minimize discomfort when you walk or cough. Wait until the site is healed before attempting any ab exercises or lifting your head when you’re lying down. And, if you have a diastasis, avoid wearing a splint that wraps tightly around your abdomen. Consult your doctor with any specific questions.