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Caesarean Sections: The Ultimate Guide, Part Two

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Howdy mamas! Following up on our first post about Caesarean sections, in which real mamas shared their full range of experiences and offered advice on how to make the best out of the surgery, today we’re back with info on getting your body in shape both pre- and post-surgery to ensure a speedy, comfortable recovery. We’ve also got a slew of massage therapists and other specialists to get you back in fighting form with a healthy dose of pampering. This who’s who is a goldmine for ALL post-natal mamas, so read on: 

Traditional Massage & Wrap

Traditional massage and wrap philosophy holds that a combination of massage, herbs and being bound in a corset for 8 hours (or preferably overnight) pushes the organs back to their original place. Here are some practitioners that can come to your home in the early stages of recovery. Many of the wrap therapists are happy to start as little as a week after a C-section, while others are more cautious. Don’t push yourself, mama! You have just had major abdominal surgery so only go ahead with these treatments if you feel ready (and have a doctor’s clearance.)

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Image sourced via Shutterstock

Who: Inspire Mum and Baby / Tel: (+65) 6348 7881
Where: Home visits
Cost: from $90/hr, or 1.5 hours is $110, or postnatal packages
Pre- & post-natal: Inspire Mum and Baby send out massage therapists to your home to knead away those pregnancy related knots. Post-birth the therapists can do massage “to rid you of wind”. The post-natal massage tends to focus on the back and womb area to reposition your internal organs, like ovaries, back into the correct place with specific essential oils like ginger and lemongrass oils to help with water retention as well as administer wraps. You will need to set up a few towels on your bed for the massage, or you can rent a proper massage bed ($120 for 10 days consecutively) for their 10-session package. A big advantage of having a massage on your own bed is if you get prepared (pay in advance, warn the therapist, have someone at home to show your therapist out), you can fall sleep and ask your therapist to not wake you once they have finished massaging. Bliss!
Good to Know: If you want a foot or head massage included you will need to specifically ask.

Also Try:

Who: Hana Ades / Tel: (+65) 9180 1004
Cost: $120 per 70-minute session / Post-natal packages from 7 sessions (consecutive days excluding weekends) $900
Pre- & Post-natal Jamu massage is done with binder and herbs (on a mattress on the floor).

Who: Tina from Happy Mummies / Tel: (+65) 8346 4429
Cost: Prices depend on your home location but are around $65-75 /hr
Pre- & post-natal Traditional Javanese massage with herbs and binding wrap.

Who: Sapia / Tel: (+65) 8269 0737
Cost: $80 per session
Pre & post-natal massage in your home

In-Hospital Massage

Who: Sole Service / Tel: (+65) 6221 7002 or (+65) 9635 6271
Cost: $105 /hr for full body ($125/hr prenatal) or $85/hr foot refloxolgy OR go for a mix and match combo
Reflexology, Pre- & post-natal massage plus reflexology at your home

Sole Service can visit you IN the hospital (how indulgent is that?!). Therapists can do some foot reflexology or leg massage to help get the circulation going post-epidural. If you’re coming to grips with breastfeeding, Sole Service’s neck and shoulder massage will come in handy too to iron out those knots. Or wait till you get home and settled and have their pretty amazing full body massage; therapists helpfully bring the massage bed, towels, oil and even special lymphatic drainage massage cream if you request it. This is one you and your husband can both enjoy – he deserves a bit of pampering, too! And the best bit? They operate at “newborn hours” all the way til 2am (from 2pm).

See our other Pre-Natal recommendations here.

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Image sourced via Shutterstock

Look Good, Feel Good – Home Pedicures!

It may take a while to get your booty back, from the short-term fixes of reducing the bloat with lymph drainage and wraps to the longer term exercise plans. But we can’t deny that when we look good, we feel good.

While you’re learning to look after a newborn you may not have the time or energy to go out for your usual pick-me-up pedi. Solution? Annie at WellnessLink can come to your house and do manicures, pedicures (which includes a free callus treatment), waxing, eyelash extensions and even make up and hair styling should you need!

Who: Annie / Tel: (+65) 8339 5652
Home Services: Mani/Pedi, Waxing including full Brazilian for pre-C section prep, Eyelash Extensions, Make Up and Hair Styling (not cutting)
Cost: Mani/Pedis are $65, plus Transport ($15-25)

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Image sourced via Pinterest

Banish Water Retention

Post C-section you may be very bloated thanks to being pumped with saline solution from the IV drip. BUT we have a little secret up our sleeve for taking care of yourself: Lymphatic drainage massage! It’s no instant slimmer but it does help you go from cankles to ankles in no time. This is a fantastic way to flush out excess water retention both pre- and post your C-section.

Tips to banish the bloat:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Snack on watermelon and cucumber – both help flush out water
  • Keep your legs up as much as possible – sleep with them raised on two pillows if possible

Editor’s Pick: The Hivamat machine
Who: Sia Yifen, Yve Lymphatic Therapy
Where: Orchard Medical Specialist Centre, 304 Orchard Road #05-54B Lucky Plaza / Tel: (+65) 9618 4349
Cost: $110/hr

Pre C-section: Try a few sessions of manual lymphatic drainage massage pre C-section to get rid of excess water and bloating and clear your system for your op. If it’s your first lymphatic drainage massage, keep in mind the technique is a far cry from deep tissue massage that targets the muscles. Yifen uses feather-light strokes with hardly any pressure (lymph nodes are very near the skin surface) so that accumulated lymphatic fluid can drain through the proper channels. The treatment is relaxing but it’s the results that are the big plus here – it is basically like a detox except you get to lie back and let somebody else do the work. Sound good?

Post C-section: Once your scar has healed and there is no infection – wait at least a week – you can go in for the full Hivamat machine treatment. Yifen is one of the only therapists using this in Singapore. Yifen wears gloves through which a pulsating low-frequency electrostatic field is generated via vibrations to oscillate the lymph nodes and enhance the lymphatic drainage treatment. Result? Marked reduction of post-op swelling in legs and feet. Hurray!

Other lymphatic massage therapists (using only manual drainage)

Who: Yen Yen Chua – lymphatic drainage massage therapist
Where: Integrative Chiropractic, Delphi Orchard. Tel: (+65) 8113 1336
Cost: $120/hr
Pre- & post-natal – lymphatic drainage massage can be done at your home depending on location or in the clinic for the same price.

Who: Lisa Sim & John Keen – Occupational Therapists
Where: Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Rehab & Homecare Dept, level 2. Tel: (+65) 6731 2133 or (+65) 6731 2132
Cost: $118/30 minutes, or $193/45 minutes
Pre- & post-natal – manual lymphatic drainage

Who: Pauline Chua / Tel: (+65)9369 4538
Where: Tanglin Shopping Centre #05-21
Cost: $120/hr
Pre- & post-natal – manual lymphatic drainage

Who: Vivien Ng – Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation / Tel: (+65) 9694 1081
Where: Tanglin Shopping Centre #06-52
Cost: $110 – for 45 minutes, home visits $300 for 45 mins.
Pre- & post-natal – manual lymphatic drainage massage

Who: Body System Therapy
Where: Faris, Tanglin Shopping Centre #06-04 Tel: +65 8511 2627.
Cost: $130/hr
Pre- & post-natal – Does a combination of manual lymph drainage and normal massage.

Getting Your Booty Back: Pre and Post C-section 15 minute Exercise Routines

Get prepared! Donna O’Shea, a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor qualified in pre- and postnatal exercise, gives us her favourite exercises that are safe for pre- and post-C-section.

Pre-natal

Strengthening the core muscles during pregnancy is great for all women, but particularly important for those having C-sections due to the impact the procedure has on the stomach wall.

Exercises while lying on your back are not advised during the second and third trimester, so instead of the usual crunches and sit ups I recommend the following safe core exercises to be practiced throughout pregnancy:

Pelvic Floor Exercise: This important exercise should be performed regularly. It will help with pre- and post-natal issues like incontinence, and will improve circulation to boost healing post-pregnancy. These exercises may seem low-impact but they will work wonders.

  • Sit tall on a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor
  • Breathe in and as you exhale slowly pull your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles you use to control urine flow) in and up. It works well if you imagine your pelvic floor as an elevator and you are slowly pulling it up through the floor levels.
  • Once at the top hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly release as you inhale
  • Repeat 10 times. This can be performed 4-5 times a day

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Image sourced via Pinterest

The Cat: This exercise works the oblique abdominals and helps mobilise the spine.

  • Start in four point kneeling with your knees on the ground, hips above the knees and hands under the shoulders.
  • Breathe in to prepare and as you breathe out tuck your tailbone under and gently round the upper and lower back into an arch, gently tucking your head under
  • Take a deep breath in here, and as you breathe out start to uncurl the spine, bringing the tailbone back to the starting position
  • Take one more breath in and as you breathe out gently raise the chest and lift the head
  • Repeat slowly 10 times

Pilates Squat: This exercise will strengthen your muscles by challenging core stability and will also strengthen your thighs. After 35 weeks please check with your health advisor before continuing this exercise as you may be advised to avoid it if the baby is in breech position.

  • Stand straight and gently engage your core muscles
  • Take a deep breath in to prepare and hinge forward at the hips keeping a nice straight spine.
  • At the same time bend through the knees, keeping your feet grounded and your knees behind your toes (as if sitting back onto a chair)
  • Straighten your legs, keeping your heels pushed into the floor and return to upright. Do not hold your breath at any time and do not lower too far. This is a gentle squat
  • Repeat 10 times

c-section leg circles

Image sourced via Pinterest

Side lying circles: This will challenge the core, mobilise the hips and strengthen the gluteals.

  • Lie on your side in a straight line and then bend your bottom leg forward by bringing the knee to a right angle. The top leg should remain straight
  • Breathe in and as you breathe out lift the top leg slightly. Be sure to keep your top hip and top shoulder stacked on to of the bottom hip and bottom shoulder
  • Take steady breaths in and out and slowly start to circle the leg in one direction. Create small, controlled circles and try to flex the toes gently towards you. Complete 10 circles in one direction and 10 circles in the opposite direction
  • Gently turn over and repeat on the other leg
  • Keep your core stable throughout and concentrate on the movement coming from the hip joint whilst the top leg remains straight.

Low-impact cardio: Swimming and walking are great forms of exercise that can be enjoyed throughout pregnancy and will strengthen the core in preparation for birth.

Post-natal

You should wait to exercise at least 6 weeks post C-section, but get your doctor’s clearance first. They should check for diastasis recti (a separation of the abdominal wall that takes place during pregnancy) and will advise when it is safe to commence exercise, in particular abdominal exercise.

Pelvic Floor Exercise: See above. One of the first exercises that women can begin with is the pelvic floor exercise. Your pelvic floor will not have been impacted as much by the birth if you had a c-section, but will still have been placed under stress during the pregnancy. It is therefore important to start these exercises as soon as your medical practitioner advises.

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Image sourced via Shutterstock 

Single Knee Folds: Lay on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  • Breathe out as you lift one leg off the floor with a bend at the knee. Bring your knee straight above your hip. Your lower leg should be parallel to the floor
  • Breathe in and maintain the position keeping your leg steady
  • Breathe out as you lower the leg back down and the foot to the mat
  • Repeat 15 times on each leg

Spine Curls: Lay on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a small cushion between your knees.

  • Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out slowly lift your hips, curling the tailbone under and rolling onto the shoulder blades
  • Hold this position for a few seconds whilst lengthening through the spine
  • Breathe out and slowly roll the spine back onto the mat, vertebrae by vertebrae, tail bone coming back onto the mat last
  • Repeat 10 times

Modified Cobra: Lie on your front with your palms flat slightly above the shoulder with elbows bent and rested on the mat.

  • Keep the legs straight and slightly wider than hip width apart
  • Breathe in and as you breathe out lift your head and then chest off the mat letting your arms straighten slightly
  • Your lower ribs should remain in contact with the mat so that you do not strain your lower back
  • Pull in your naval towards the spine
  • Breathe out as you return back down to the mat
  • Repeat 10 times

Please be sure to adequately warm up your body and cool down after exercise with some gentle stretching. Stop at any point if you feel dizzy, short of breath or generally unwell. Stay hydrated and do not exercise in high temperatures. Keep the intensity low before and after birth and build up gradually with the guidance of a professional.

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