I love swimming. I grew up on the water, and I pretty much spent most of my childhood in our pool. In China, the opportunity for swimming was meager because we lived up north. Most of the year, it was cold. And the community pools were not clean enough for my liking.
We also lived on the beach there, but the beaches designated for swimming were often full of pollutants. I wouldn’t even dip my toe in there. Plus, as much as I love the sea, I’ve always been a bit skittish about jellyfish and stingrays. I prefer my swims to be done in the pool.
Do you love swimming too? It’s a great way to get back in shape after having a baby. Here’s what you need to know about swimming after a c-section.
- It’s great for your whole body
Because it’s low-impact, swimming can help you ease right back into getting in shape. It’s a full-body workout that also happens to be refreshing. Plus, the water soothes those achy joints. And it doesn’t put any pressure on your incision.
- Wait before you jump in
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends light walking just days after your c-section to help speed your recovery along and advises you to wait to swim until 4 to 6 weeks afterward. You should make sure you ask your doctor and have clearance after your postpartum checkup.
Once your doctor says you can feel free to swim, grab your suit! No need to wear anything special. Wear whatever you feel comfortable swimming in. You should remove your bandage the day after a c-section and keep it uncovered. It’s best not to cover it in the pool.
- Don’t use a tampon
You shouldn’t be using tampons for that lochia, the discharge that your body emits postpartum. Your doctor will likely suggest you avoid tampons for six weeks after your c-section.
- Know where to swim
Additionally, the APA also advises that women who have waited that ample timeframe to swim (6 weeks minimum and cleared by your doctor) to avoid public pools, hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and other natural bodies of water. These can harbor more germs and bacteria.
Once your doctor permits swimming, you can enjoy your swim in a private pool. If you have your pool, I recommend you swim as often as you like without overexerting yourself. If not, see if a friend or family member would be willing to come, and let you swim. Don’t get in with too many guests at the same time, though. You’re still more prone to bacteria and germs.
- Don’t push it
Swimming might be low-impact, but it can wear you out. Go slow, even if you’re as adept as a mermaid in the pool. Gentle water stretches are ideal for helping get your joints back in order. Keep your heart rate from going up too much by taking it slow.
- Safety first
Yes, you’re a grownup. But you’ve just had major surgery. Make sure someone is there with you while you swim just in case.
- Watch for trouble
It’s not very common, but problems can arise after your c-section no matter how well you look after yourself. When swimming, it is easy to overextend yourself because the water keeps you from feeling the movement. This is why it’s so important to go slow and not try to do laps your first few weeks.
When you move too vigorously (both in and out of the water), you can pull your stitches or staples and allow infections to get in. Should you develop a fever over 100.4F, more blood starts coming from your vagina, and you notice a foul odor or your incision is bleeding or oozing with pus, seek immediate medical attention.
Can you drive a car after C-section, if so how long after? Here read my post.
The old advice of taking it easy goes out to all moms after having a baby, especially c-section moms. Take care of yourself, and you’ll find you’ll have more energy and strength to get back to those laps you love so much when you’re a bit stronger and more fully recovered.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.