Monday, February 7, 2011

Questions for Runners Who Have Had C-Sections

As a runner recovering from a C-section from 8 weeks ago, I need some help from everyone. My doctor's not a runner. I have friends who have had C-sections who weren't runners when they had them.  I'm looking for those who ran through some part of the pregnancy, had their C-section, and then started running at 6 weeks when they were cleared to do so.

Here are the questions I'm putting out to the world:
1) Do you notice your C-section site during running? At certain mileage? At certain speeds? Did this go away with time?
2) Did you notice a lot of pulling when engaging core muscles? As I'm doing ab work to get that area stronger, I feel a lot of pulling on that incision site.
3) Are there any day-to-day actions where you notice pulling at the incision site? For example, a friend tells me for years she noticed her hysterectomy incision site pulled every time she stepped up into her SUV.
4) Did you have sudden stabbing pain at the site occasionally during exercise? Or notice a sharp pain when you suddenly sneeze sometimes?
5) I believe some pulling and occasional sharp pain is the result of adhesions of the muscle or fascia from the sutures. Has anyone seen someone to remedy these? Sports doc? Regular doc? Chiro? Massage therapist? Rolfing?

Basically, I'm trying to get a feel for what a C-section recovery for a regular runner (for me, that's like 15-25 miles a week) is like. I'm an idiot but thought I would magically just be all better at 6 weeks, when I was cleared to begin all normal activity. I realize how silly that was now, but don't have a lot of runners who had C-sections in my life to gauge how normal my experience is.


  1. I did not have a c-section, but know a little about postpartum exercise. In my mommy fitness classes I have been trained to have c-section mommies wait 8 weeks. It is possible that you did a bit too much too soon. I would definitely rest if you are feeling those things and it wouldn't hurt to consult your OB, even if she is not a runner. Was this your second c-section? I do know that adhesions and scar tissue are much more common after multiple c-sections. One of my friends ran a half a couple months after her c-section. I will pass this post on to her.

    I hope you get some answers. Great job getting out there so soon after giving birth. That is quite an accomplishment.

  2. I have had two c-sections and yes, I noticed a lot of what you describe especially after my last one. Most likely it was because it was my second and I started walking at 4 weeks and running around 5 -6.

    I think the sneezing thing was the tendons and the readjustments that are going on getting your body back from pregnancy. I hurt sneezing when I was pregnant too so I remember that one well. Shoots down the front of your leg!

    The strangest thing I had was when I started getting longer into my runs I had pain across my incision area. It almost felt like I was burned there when I touched? That did not go away for almost 2 years. It would go away after I rested usually within an hour or two after the run. The doctor said that was related to the nerves that were damaged at the incision. It was also numb in certain areas around the incision...very strange feeling.

    I also had some of the pulling/sharp pains when I started with core work and I actually had to take that slower then the jogging I was doing.

    You are very good at listening to your body so I'm sure you will know if you are doing too much. I never went to a PT, OT, Chiro...of that stuff but mainly just because I don't have the time. I know stretching a lot helped and making sure I did a lot of warm up and cool down was really essential as well.

    Hope you get some more responses. It would be interesting to hear how others have done.


  3. Libby,

    First, I wanted to apologize for not responding to you sooner. Life sometimes gets in the way. Second, great job for getting back into your running as fast as you have after twins AND a C-section! I have 2 children and with both I had C-sections. The first was as unplanned as you can was an emergency. I was blessed that my little girl was absolutely perfect! I found I had been in more harms way than her. Anyway, recovery was hard and I was extremely sore. It seemed impossible to walk the stairs at first for me which was frustrating and frightening for me. I ran almost the entire pregnancy with my first child and lifted weights. Why couldn't I walk the stairs with ease? Well, heck, they did just cut me open and take out a good portion of my insides and a beautiful baby girl! I was patient. I took care of my incision. I waited till I was released by my doctor before beginning any type of exercise. When I was released, I started over with my workouts. C-sections are a major surgery. I walked for awhile before I began running and did a slow progression. Each time I added mileage or a new type of workout, I would feel a "needle" type of pain in my incision area. This occurred whether on a bike or running...anything new or longer distance. I was told that that could happen due to scar tissue build up. So long as the incision is not infected, which never happened to me either time but has happened to people I know, then I feel these twinges are normal and will go away in time. I still have areas in my core that are not as strong as I would like for them to be but that just takes me working those muscles more and increasing my strength. If you feel this 'needle' type of pain every time you run or do some kind of exercise, then I would recommend taking a few steps back and start doing some 'baby steps' yourself up as you just may be overdoing it. Most important thing to remember is that you will get all of your mileage back and that you are out there trying and doing it! I recovered so much faster after my 2nd C-section. My doctor told me it was because I knew what to it was planned not a crazy emergency situation. I was also told that it will take a good part of a year to heal from each surgery so be patient. I think with anything so long as we build ourselves up then we will conquer our goals! One my favorite children's movies I think says it best..."Keep moving forward!"! It's from Meet the Robinson's! Keep up the awesome work and I hope to see you at The Hills and Heels Run in May!!


  4. Thanks, Debbie. I didn't have twins (I just now have 2 girls, a 3 year old and the baby), just wanted to correct that. I don't have the "needles" often, but on occasion, after long downhills, and sometimes sneezing or coughing. I feel like my strength is coming back, but yeah, it feels like it's scar tissue or adhesions just pulling apart.