When Can I Lift Weights After C-section?

Giving birth is a beautiful experience, but it can change your body a lot!

 BabySleepMiracle  

The thought of going through these changes can be daunting, especially for those women who loved keeping in shape before pregnancy.

Perhaps you are now eager to go back to the gym ad wonder “When can I lift weights after c-section?

The answer is simple:

  

Generally, you should be able to lift weights 12 weeks after a cesarean. However, several factors can influence this timeline, including how well you healed, and how active you used to be prepartum.

Let’s delve deeper into the topic.

Is Postpartum Weight Lifting Safe?

Yes, postpartum weight lifting is completely safe and can assist you in getting your strength back. 

Throughout pregnancy, several muscles weaken, including your core muscles. The muscle weakening is caused by the relaxin hormone which allows your ligaments and bones to loosen and your pelvis to widen. 

As mentioned above, though, several muscles get weak, meaning that exercising postpartum is crucial in order to keep healthy.

 BabySleepMiracle 

However, knowing when you can lift weights after c-section is crucial, as lifting too soon can be detrimental to your health.

When Can I Lift Weights After C-section?

Women who have had a c-section can normally start lifting weights 12 weeks after delivery. This may vary depending on factors such as how well a woman has healed and whether complications occurred during birth. 

  

You should wait longer if you had complications such as:

  • Infection of the lining of the uterus
  • Hemorrhage
  • Blood clots
  • Surgical injury
  • Wound infection

Do not force yourself to lift weights in week 12! It is incredibly important to give your body the time it needs to heal.

We are all different, with different bodies. Never compare yourself to other mothers and make sure you check with your doctor to see if you are 100% ready to lift weights after c-section.

  

How Long Does a C Section Take to Heal Internally?

Normally, it takes around 6 weeks for a c-section incision to heal. Although, you may still experience pain as well as muscle weakness past the 6-week mark.

As a result, you should avoid weight lifting immediately after a c-section and instead undertake lighter activities that are appropriate for women who want to exercise a couple of days after cesarean.

What Affects When You Can Start Lifting Weights After C-Section?

We have already established that, on average, women need to wait around 12 weeks before lifting weights after a c-section. 

  

However, we have also mentioned that there are things that affect how early one can start.

Let’s look at what these factors are.

Prepartum Activity Levels

Women who lifted weights before delivery can usually start lifting weights again sooner than those who never lifted weights before. 

Make sure you feel ready though and always check with your doctor first!

Cesarean Complications

Women who undergo c-sections can sometimes incur complications, including:

  • Infection of the lining of the uterus
  • Hemorrhage
  • Blood clots
  • Surgical injury
  • Wound infection

These complications necessitate immediate medical care and should deter you from rushing back to the gym!

Number of Deliveries

Every pregnancy is different, and usually, women tend to recover from their second pregnancy sooner than their first one. 

That does not apply to everyone, though!

It is important to treat each pregnancy as an isolated, beautiful experience, rather than one that will repeat itself in the exact same way. 

What Happens to Your Body After C Section and What Exercises Can You Do?

We are now going to look at what happens to your body in the first week following your c-section. This will help you understand when you might be looking at getting back to your exercise routine.

However, take this with a grain of salt, since each one of us experiences pregnancy differently. Make sure you consult your doctor for any questions or worries you may have. 

Your body has gone through a lot during pregnancy and throughout the delivery, so it is normal for you to feel some pain. 

Things will get better over time, but, in the meantime, getting some rest is crucial. 

Although, there are still some light exercises you can partake in, including going for a walk.

Walking

Going for a walk helps you keep your body moving without putting too much strain on it.

Walking enables better blood flow and allows those weak core and hips muscles to activate. 

In addition, it assists in blood clots (DVTs) prevention. 

You can begin walking at a slower pace and go a little bit faster each day.

Kegel Exercises

The kegel exercise is a pelvic floor strengthening exercise, which is done by squeezing the muscles in your pelvis.

Watch the video below on how to perform a kegel exercise after c-section: 

Make sure you hold the pelvis for a few seconds before releasing it.

You can do this exercise several times a day.

C-section Recovery Timeline: Weeks 2 and 3 

On average, women who underwent a cesarean will leave the hospital 3-4 days after giving birth. 

Walking should not be an issue at this point, but it is important to take things slowly, and increase the pace only when the body is ready for it. 

At around weeks 2 and 3, a woman can begin to incorporate other types of physical exercises, including stretching and bodyweight exercises.

Safe Stretches After C-section

Chest Opener

You can do the chest opener by facing the corner of a wall and putting your hands on the sides of the wall. Then lean towards the wall, while keeping a neutral spine.

Watch this video to learn how to do this stretch:

Standing Lunges

Place something like a chair or a box on which you can put one of your feet on. Lean forward while maintaining a straight back leg.

Here is a video that shows how to correctly perform a standing lunge stretch:

Lying Knee To Chest

Lay down on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Keep your hips wide open while grabbing the outside of your lower legs and pulling them up to your chest.

Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are something you can begin incorporating in your routine 2-3 weeks after c-section. 

One of such exercises you could do is the squat.

Watch the video below to learn how to swat correctly. However, only go as low as you feel comfortable to:

Another option is the wall push-up. 

Watch the video below to learn how to do this exercise correctly:

Do these bodyweight exercises for the next few weeks to allow your body to get ready to lift weights again. 

Keep on Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor

We previously talked about kegel as a type of exercise to do a few days after c-section. You can still do these exercises on weeks 2 and 3! 

Kegels should be done at least 3 times a day.

What Can You Do 6 Weeks After C-section?

Your ceserean scars should be healed now, although you may still feel some pain around your abdomen. However, the pain should be subtle enough to allow you to move.

In fact, if you have already primed your body with some bodyweight exercises, you might be able to start lifting weights.

However, always consult your doctor first before lifting weights after c-section or performing any other kind of exercise!

Speak to Your Doctor 

Hopefully, you did not have to experience any type of complication after your ceserean. 

But before you begin your exercise routine, your doctor will want to check a few things, including the following:

  • Your perineum is healed
  • Your c-section scar has healed
  • Your vital signs are normal
  • No issues havearisen from your physical exam 

If so, the doctor will be able to advise what type of exercises you can do and how you can go about it in a safe manner.

Signs to Pay Attention To

Always listen to your body when you get back into your exercise routine. 

We are all different, so it is important that you pay close attention to what your body is trying to tell you! 

Here are 3 signs you should pay attention to:

Extreme Soreness

If at any point you feel like a particular exercise is hurting too much, stop. 

Or you could find a more gentle variation of that particularexercise.

Heavy Bleeding

Heavy bleeding is a clear sign that you should stop lifting weights after c-section and immediately speak to your doctor. 

Your Incontince is Getting Worse

Unfortunately, giving birth can cause women to become incontinent.

This is due to the stretching that occurs in the ligaments and muscles that support your urethra and bladder.

Your doctor will likely advise you to perform kegel exercises to address the incontinence caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles. 

Do not keep lifting weights if you see that your incontinence is getting worse.

Conclusion

Lifting weights after c-section is a great way to get your body back in shape postpartum.

However, remember that starting slowly and listening to your body is crucial!

Never attempt to start your exercise routine without getting the all clear from your doctor first.