Getting Physiotherapy After a C-Section: Everything You Need to Know

One of the primary concerns of most mothers, both pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy, is the physical stress that your body goes through—and one solution is physiotherapy after a C-section. Although everyone will have a unique experience, you can expect different effects, including pelvic pain, lower back pain and hip issues. 

There are many ways to treat these issues, and one which you may not have considered is physiotherapy after a C-section. 

Using physiotherapy as a tool to help you while recovering from a C-section has been found to:

  • Reduce pain levels over a shorter period of time
  • Help patients with returning to exercise more quickly
  • Achieve higher overall patient satisfaction 

You may be unsure if physiotherapy is right for you, or if your body is ready for it. Let’s look at the benefits and precautions.

Recover Faster With Physiotherapy After a C-Section

The Road to Recovering from a C-Section

Although some people believe cesarean delivery is a less physically stressful experience than having to deliver a baby vaginally, this is not always the case. Women who deliver with C-section are twice as likely to experience lower back pain and pelvic pain than those who deliver through spontaneous vaginal delivery. 

There are many methods that will help you when recovering from a C-section, including rest, medication and mental health care. Physiotherapy is just one important part in a complete recovery plan, and it should always be discussed thoroughly with your doctor. 

Is Physiotherapy Safe After Having a C-Section? 

You’ve just had abdominal surgery, so it’s natural to be worried about beginning a postpartum exercise routine. You may still be sore and exhausted, and you will have to listen to your doctor as well as your own body. Once you get the go-ahead from your medical professionals, a trusted physiotherapist can help you start feeling like yourself again. 

Your physiotherapy provider will work with you to come up with a plan that is safe and effective for your unique body. It’s important to take it slow and keep checking in with your doctor. If you experience pain during your physiotherapy, bring it up with your physiotherapist. 

Some amount of discomfort is normal, but pain may also be a sign you’re pushing harder than your body is ready for. 

There are some situations in which you should be cautious with starting exercises after a C-section, and we will discuss these scenarios as well.

Recovering from a C-Section

How Long Should I Wait Before Starting Exercise After a C-Section? 

As each mother will have a different experience, it is important to consult with your doctor before you start exercising. You can start doing some types of exercise almost immediately, while other more intense forms of exercise will need to be put off for a few months while you heal. Let’s examine the gradually increasing stages of exercises after a C-section

Pelvic Floor 

As a general guideline, you may begin doing pelvic floor exercises once your catheter comes out. Your pelvic floor is under constant strain during pregnancy, and it is essential to build it up again. These exercises are simple to do, and don’t require special training or complicated starting positions

The pelvic floor has muscles that support your bladder, urethra, intestines, rectum and anus. Strengthening the pelvic floor therefore enables you to help treat postpartum issues such as incontinence and prolapse. 


As your body heals in the 6-8 week period following birth, you can slowly start doing light toning exercises. These may include pelvic tilts, bridges, leg slides, walking and swimming. You should avoid any exercises that put pressure on your C-section scar

Core Exercise 

You should wait at least 12 weeks, and in many cases longer, to begin any type of exercises for your core. A cesarean section is a serious surgical procedure and your stomach muscles need time to fully heal before being strengthened. Your physiotherapist will help you create a safe routine for core exercise after a C-section, which may include exercises such as plank or superman pose.

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High Impact 

This type of exercise will put the most stress on your body, so it is important to wait at least 6 months before doing high impact exercise. These exercises include aerobics, running, plyometrics, and jumps.

Although you should use caution before returning to high-impact workouts, this type of activity is important to your overall health. Strength training can eventually help you feel more capable and healthier after you recover. Proper high-impact training will help build up the core muscles that were so important during your pregnancy, and contribute to strengthening your entire body. 

What Are the Benefits of Physiotherapy After a C-Section? 

Women who take part in a physiotherapy regimen after having a C-section experience a range of benefits, as compared to women who do not choose physiotherapy or routine physical exercise. 

Recover Faster From the Physical Stress of Cesarean Section Deliveries 

Physiotherapy after pregnancy and birth, just like after an injury, can help your body recover and heal. Exercises designed specifically for your body’s needs will target the exact areas that require healing, and help you feel better over a shorter period of time.

Learn how physiotherapy benefits your body with these blogs:

Decrease Physical Pain and Discomfort 

Physiotherapy can reduce the physical pain that many women experience in the postpartum period. Physiotherapy strengthens the muscles that have been weakened throughout the pregnancy process, leading to faster healing. As your body grows stronger and more flexible, targeted exercises will help with pain management and reduction.

Exercise After a C-Section

Help Relieve Postpartum Depression

The benefits of physiotherapy are not only physical. Studies have repeatedly found that physical activity and exercise after giving birth reduces postpartum depression and relieves depressive symptoms for most women. 

A consistent routine of exercises tailored to your body will help you build confidence and feel like yourself again. Physiotherapy helps you connect with your body. Prioritizing yourself through exercise and self-care is an essential step after pregnancy. 

Why Do Some Women Not Choose Physiotherapy After a C-Section? 

If you’ve had a very difficult pregnancy or complications due to your C-section, your doctor may advise you to wait longer before starting any kind of exercise routine. 

You may simply not feel mentally or physically prepared to begin physical exercise after pregnancy. Everyone is different, and if you feel pain or anxiety when exercising, you may need to wait longer before beginning physiotherapy. 

In some cultures, it is traditional to wait a month or longer after birth before doing any type of physical activity. Cultural ideas about postpartum rest periods may influence a woman’s decision to begin exercising after pregnancy. 

Is Physiotherapy Right for Me? How Do I Know When to Start? 

We now know that mild physical activity can greatly help with the physical, mental and emotional effects after birth. It’s important to work with a trained physiotherapist who can guide you during your recovery after a C-section. 

Our knowledgeable staff of highly trained physiotherapists work with clients to design a physiotherapy routine that works for their body. Our health and wellness clinic also offers massage, chiropractic services and virtual care.

Begin the road to recovery with a custom treatment plan. Book an appointment with us today to learn more.

Tahmineh (Tammy) Kamza

Physiotherapist Dry Needling Provider Hydrotherapist   Tammy graduated from the University of Toronto with an “Honors in Science” and obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in the United States. Her thesis, ‘Effects Of Exercise In Falls Prevention In Community-Dwelling Older Adults’ took almost 2 years to complete. She finished her manual therapy designations from trained professionals of St. Augustine University in Florida. Finally, got her Dry Needling certification from the prestigious organization Kinetacore, a leading post-graduate program in North America. Aside from manual therapy and dry needling, she is well versed in hydrotherapy, taping and corrective exercise. She is a true believer in active therapy, thus her treatment goals always include an emphasis on physical activity with aim of improving client’s functional abilities.

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