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An incisional hernia after a c-section is a fairly common complication, but the chances of getting one can typically be lowered by following a few tips. In general, avoiding putting strain on the incision area is important in preventing a hernia, and this can be done in several ways. One of the simplest methods is refraining from lifting heavy items for about two months after the c-section, as straining the abdominal muscles during this time is not a good idea. Losing weight as quickly as possible can also help reduce strain on the incision. Finally, a good diet and regular exercise will not only typically help in losing weight, but will also reduce bloating and excess pressure on the incision.
One of the best ways to avoid a hernia after a c-section is to pay attention to the doctor's instructions regarding heavy lifting during recovery. You are usually advised to lift nothing heavier than your baby while you heal. This is because not only can you pop your stitches out by straining too hard, but you can also cause the thin tissue near your incision to push out, resulting in a hernia. Ask family members to help you with such tasks, and if you must lift an item that is slightly heavy, try to use the muscles in your legs rather than tightening your abdominals.
Many women are eager to lose their pregnancy weight soon after delivery, but those trying to avoid a hernia after a c-section have reasons to do so other than just to look slimmer. Carrying excess weight can put undue pressure on your incision, sometimes leading to a hernia in the area. This is especially true if most of your weight is carried around the waist, as is typically the case once a pregnancy ends. Of course, you should not be pressured to lose it all at once just to avoid a hernia, as slow and steady weight loss is often the healthiest method.
In fact, some habits that you should get into in order to prevent a hernia after a c-section should also help you lose weight. For example, regular exercise is often recommended as soon as your doctor agrees that it is okay, as you will need to keep your abdominal wall strong to avoid an incisional hernia. Sticking to a diet that is low in salt and high in fiber is also good, as this will prevent bloating and the constipation that often causes it. Drinking plenty of fluids can also help you avoid bloating, which may result in a slimmer look overall.
Anyone who already has children at home should think about who will care for them if you need a c-section. I had a section with my first child, so I knew there was a possibility I would have one the second time even though I was attempting a VBAC (which fortunately succeeded).
My kids were pretty close together, so my older child still needed to be picked up a lot--stroller, high chair, car seat, etc. I had plans to have someone else take care of him for at least two full weeks after my c-section. Of course, it would have been longer than that before I would have been able to *really* lift him, but at least it would have given me some time to recover.