15 November 2018Last updated

Healthy body

What should I do after a C-section?

Aquarius’ go-to health expert keith littlewood gives us tips on recovering from a C-section

Keith Littlewood
8 Oct 2014 | 02:59 pm
  • Photo for illustrative purpose only.

    Source:Getty Images

It never ceaseS to amaze me how little thought goes into the care of women post-caesarean.

Any person I’ve worked with who’s had surgery on any part of their body has gone through some level of rehabilitation, but it doesn’t seem standard after a C-section.

Consider what happens during the procedure; multiple layers of tissue are severed, including skin, abdominal fascia, abdominal muscles, nerves, blood supply systems and others. Essentially, the surgery cuts through most of the spine-stabilising muscles, leaving you with an unstable spine – and sadly, rehabilitation of these muscles is not routinely offered. The most common advice given is, ‘Take six weeks off and then slowly return to normal exercise.’ This is often where the problem lies; many women take that to mean, ‘Throw yourself back into intense exercise such as running and boot camps’.

Instead of leaping back in head first, care needs to be taken to ensure all of the muscles used to stabilise the trunk and extremities are functioning in harmony with the other muscles of the body. Simply going all-out with excessive abdominal exercises won’t work, and even Pilates and yoga may not be the best choice. In some cases, adhesions from scar tissue can occur and abdominal pain could indicate pulling of scar tissue. Scar tissue also has the capacity to shut down stabilising muscles, so proper rehabilitation should take precedence over toning or weight loss.

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Find someone who understands the links between scar tissue and muscle dysfunction and can assess issues related to scar tissue. Listen to your body; if it’s painful, it probably isn’t right! And finally, don’t push yourself. It could take up to a year or more to rebuild a decent foundation and ensure long-term stability to avoid future complications. 

Three post-C-section essentials

1 Anti-stress nutrients such as vitamin C and salt, and carbs such as ripe fruit You’ll use more cortisol and adrenaline during the stressful time of healing; support your adrenal gland with vitamin C and salt, and pick healthy fruit for energy.

2 Vitamin E and coconut oil Aid scar healing with the application of coconut oil and vitamin E or even adding it to your diet. It’ll help skin regain elasticity, diminish scars as well as soften scar tissue underneath to reduce the risk of complications.

3 Gelatin and bone broths Your body will be busy repairing the damage from the surgery, so give it a helping hand with protein.

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To book a consultation with Keith, call 055 661 3061. Alternatively, find him on Facebook (Balanced Body Mind), or visit

Keith Littlewood

By Keith Littlewood