Rehab After Pregnancy and C-Section? Yes!

Chances are you or someone you know has had a cesarean section. Affectionately called a “C-section,” this method of child birth is increasingly popular in the US. According to the latest data, 32.2% of births are by C-section, which is a 50% increase over the past decade. Don’t let the cute name fool you, a C-section is major abdominal surgery. Unlike other major surgeries in this country, physical therapy is not routinely prescribed after cesarean surgery. As a result, many women have unresolved complications from surgery. These can include scar tissue, abdominal muscle dysfunction, pelvic floor dysfunction, such as inability to hold urine—especially when exercising or laughing and sexual dysfunction.

During a C-section, a women’s abdominal wall is cut via scalpel or laser and the skin, fascia, and all three layers of muscle are separated to enter the abdominal cavity. This abdominal cavity is a dynamic structure which extends directly under the ribs to the vagina and is involved in breathing—much like an air filled barrel. It also houses the reproductive system and digestive organs. After the cavity is broken, there will be scar tissue as the body’s attempt to heal. This scar tissue can inhibit proper movement and therefore, lead to dysfunction. When not properly repaired via therapy, this can lead to pelvic floor issues, such as peeing your pants when laughing or exercising (urinary incontinence), difficulty achieving orgasm and unconnected abdominal muscles (diastasis recti).

With C-sections being so common, we are quick to dismiss the effect on the mother’s body and rationalize the unintended consequences as something women just have to “live with.” In fact, there are many therapies to help repair after this surgery. As a Chiropractic Physician, I recommend all women who undergo cesarean section, undergo an appropriate physical therapeutic program. The same is true for pregnant women who have similar symptoms, as the abdominal cavity changes during pregnancy and can require specific repair after birth.

At Brannick Clinic we offer an individualized treatment program for you to heal after surgery. We specialize in the neuro-musculoskeletal system and incorporate fascia therapy, muscle work, functional movements and pelvic floor stability to recover after surgery. A chiropractic adjustment can aid to rebalance the ligaments and bony structures after birth and pregnancy changes. With a therapeutic program you can overcome these complications and we are here to help.

Dr. Julia Malkowski, DC, ND (candidate 2017)