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Postnatal Series: Exercise After a C-section

Postnatal Series: Exercise After a c-section

In this series Merrithew Master Instructor Trainer Laureen Dubeau takes a look at postnatal fitness through the lens of STOTT PILATES®.

Although cesarean section deliveries are considered routine these days, they still need to be regarded as major abdominal surgery and be treated as such when resuming a Pilates program. There are many areas of specific concern when deciding when and how to begin an exercise routine. Even though the delivery was not vaginal, there is still a need to reconnect to the core – including the pelvic floor and transversus abdominis. In order to avoid any complications, make sure your client gets clearance from her doctor before resuming any kind of exercise.


  • Start slowly, the abdomen has undergone a traumatic procedure and needs time to heal
  • Strenuous exercises should be avoided at first to reduce pull on incision sites
  • Reactivation of pelvic floor and deep abdominals is crucial
  • Movement ranges should be kept small and weights should be light and manageable
  • Focus on upper body movements to strengthen arms and shoulders

Exercise: Biceps/Triceps with Handweights

Starting position:

Lie supine (on the back) with the knees bent and the spine in a neutral position, arms by the sides holding Handweights just off the floor, palms up.


  • Breathe in to prepare
  • Breathe out and bend the elbows bringing the weights to the shoulders
  • Breathe in to keep the elbows flexed and lift them to the ceiling, weights over the shoulders
  • Breathe out to straighten the arms up toward the ceiling
  • Breathe in to lower long arms toward the floor
  • Repeat 10 times

Note: Reverse the movement – lift long arms to the ceiling, flex elbows bringing weights to shoulders, lower elbows by sides, lengthen arms by sides.

Other exercise options:

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