C-Section and Pole Dancing - When is it Safe to Start?

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"If you had a c-section, when can you start pole dancing exercises?"
~Question submitted by Anonymous Site Visitor

Important Disclaimer: Your Pole Pal is not a medical professional, so it would be irresponsible to offer specific advice for questions like this one. The following are general guidelines and suggestions regarding c-section and pole dancing. Always check with your own doctor, midwife, or other medical professional regarding your specific circumstances.

c-section and pole dancing

Of course there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when you can start pole dancing after a c-section, since every woman and every birth is different. But as a general guideline, most women who have an uncomplicated pregnancy and c-section are able to start returning to their pre-pregnancy fitness activities by about 6 weeks post-partum.

However, it's very important that you check with your doctor or midwife to ensure that your incision is healing properly, and that there are no unexpected complications resulting from your cesarean birth. In addition, you'll want to consider how you're feeling, not only in terms of physical healing, but with regards to your overall energy levels as well as your mental and emotional health.

For example, if your baby is fairly easy going and sleeps well (so you can sleep too!), you're healthy and you recovered quickly from your surgical birth, and you're typically a high-energy person who was active throughout your pregnancy, you may well feel like getting back to your fitness program sooner rather than later.

On the other hand if your baby is very fussy (leaving you with little time to rest), your c-section was unplanned or you had a complicated or difficult labor, and/or you were not very active prior to or during your pregnancy, 6 weeks may not be long enough for you to fully recover before you start or get back into pole dancing. This is true especially if you have older children to care for as well. Mothering is hard work!

Also, keep in mind that pole dancing comprises a huge variety of moves requiring different levels of fitness and ability. So it's important to know what you have in mind when you're considering taking up (or returning to) pole dancing post-cesarean.

While it's probably not advisable to be doing inversions and other advanced moves until you're fully healed, have your caregiver's OK, and have built up some strength, there are certainly a huge number of less advanced moves that can safely be done by many new moms, especially if you're coming back to pole dancing rather than starting from scratch.

Some examples of these more basic moves are turns, slides, some floor moves, and perhaps some of the simpler spins. In addition, there are many exercises and stretches that you can do with the help of your dance pole, that can prepare for your return to pole dancing when you feel ready. Most of these can be modified to suit your current fitness level, so you won't tire yourself out too much when you first get started.

But again, as with any strength training or fitness program, it's always best to discuss your plans with your midwife or doctor and get their OK before you begin.

Once you do have their approval, be sure to listen to your body and honor its requests for more rest, a slower pace, or easier moves while you work towards building up your strength and fitness. It takes 9 months to grow a baby, and it takes time to gain back some of the strength and stamina you may have lost during your pregnancy. As well, keep in mind that a c-section is considered major surgery, and that you'll likely need extra rest as you're healing from both childbirth and an operation.

Returning to Pole Dancing After a C-Section

"I have been pole dancing for the past three years. I got pregnant and actually continued pole dancing for the first few months of my pregnancy! I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivered my baby via c section exactly 4 weeks ago. I am wondering when I can return to pole dancing."
~Question submitted by Jayleen

Given your prior history of pole dancing and your uncomplicated pregnancy, it's possible that you may be able to return to your dance pole sooner than the average new mom might. However, please remember that Your Pole Pal is not a medical professional, and doesn't know your medical history, so it wouldn't be appropriate to give you specific advice.

You may find the information above helpful in establishing a guideline that works for you, but again, please check with your health care provider to get the green light on your plans. Their response will probably depend on a number of factors they may want to discuss with you, such as:

  • how you're feeling in general, ie energy level, emotional and mental health
  • how your physical recovery is progressing, particularly in regards to your incision
  • what level of activity you plan to start back in at
  • your overall health and fitness level, both now and pre-pregnancy

Since you're not new to this activity, you'll probably have a pretty good sense of when you're ready to return to pole dancing because you know what's involved. But it's still best to make the decision in consultation with your health care provider, especially since you're healing from surgery on top of childbirth.

When you are ready to start back in you'll probably be excited about getting back on your pole. Do keep in mind that you likely won't be at the same level you were when you stopped pole dancing during your pregnancy, so it helps to have reasonable expectations about what you'll be able to do right away. If you start out with simple, easily attainable goals, your confidence will improve much faster than if you set a goal to get back to your pre-pregnancy level of pole dancing within the first week!

It's also super important to listen to your body and make an effort to stop before you get tired. This might be a challenge for you, given how long you've likely been away from your pole and how much you're looking forward to getting back. But keep in mind you have another little person to look after now besides yourself, so finishing your pole dancing session with some energy in the bank is well-advised.

The thing is, many new moms underestimate just how much energy it takes to get through the day with a newborn, never mind trying to fit in some exercise! And after a c-section, you may find you tire all of a sudden for the first little while, since your body is recovering from both surgery and childbirth. So do yourself a favor and build in a margin of error to avoid a sudden drop in your energy levels.

One way to do this is to make a plan to stop after 15 (or 20, 30, etc) minutes for your first few sessions, even if you feel good and want to continue. If you plan in advance to limit your workout time you're more likely to stop while you're still feeling good, and you'll be able to recover better for your next session.

New To Pole Dancing After A C-Section

"I had my baby month ago and I had a c-section but I never pole danced before and will love to do it. How soon can I start pole dancing?"
~ Question Submitted by Sean

If you've had a c-section and pole dancing is going to be part of your post-natal fitness program as a new activity (one you didn't participate in prior to becoming pregnant), it goes without saying that you'll want to start with a beginner class.

Of course, all of the above guidance applies in regards to consulting with your doctor or midwife, so that together you can make a decision about when the right time is for you to take up a new type of exercise after your cesarean birth. Given that you'll be new to pole dancing, you may be advised to wait a bit longer than normal before starting classes, and perhaps start with an activity you're more familiar with. But that's a discussion you'll want to have with your health care provider.

While you're waiting to start that first class, something you may find helpful is to spend a bit of time looking into the different types of pole classes available in your area, with a view to finding the one(s) that might be most suitable for you as both a new mom recovering from surgery, and a new pole dancer. That way, when you're ready to get started, you'll know which class to sign up for.

Keep in mind that there are many different types of classes offered, from fitness-focused pole exercise, to choreography, tricks, and more. You may wish to start by taking a pole fitness class that focuses more on cardio and building strength than on too many tricks. That way you'll be able to build a solid foundation and will be ready move on to more advanced classes once you're completely healed from your surgery.

Pole dancing doesn't need to be seen as an extreme sport that's not suitable for beginners or women who've recently given birth, but at the same time, it's really important to be realistic about where you're starting from. Because you've never pole danced before, you're recovering from surgery, AND you're a new mom with a baby to care for, being honest with yourself about how quickly you can progress in this new activity is important.

If you're hesitant to tell your doctor or midwife exactly what type of fitness class you want to take, you can simply discuss in general when it's appropriate to start exercising again, how much cardio you should do, whether you're ready to start strength exercises, etc.

Then when you're ready to sign up for a pole dance class, be sure to check that it's being taught by an instructor with a recognized certification, who understands how to provide modifications and take into account any special considerations you might have as a result of your cesarean birth.

C-Section and Pole Dancing Tricks

"I just had a baby 3 weeks ago I plan on returning dancing after my 6th week. I was wondering if doing tricks is rough after a c-section? I’ve danced for a year before getting pregnant."
~Question submitted by Anonymous Site Visitor

Getting back to doing the tricks you were able to do pre-pregnancy is a common goal for new moms who have pole danced previously. And the good news is that you'll almost certainly be able to get there. However, there are three main considerations that are specifically related to doing pole tricks after a c-section, so you'll want to be aware of each of them as you progress through your post-surgery healing.

The first, and perhaps the most obvious, is the healing of your incisions. While the scar on your skin will be the most visible, remember that you also have an incision on your uterus. Most new c-section moms will be acutely aware of their skin incision when they first get back to pole dancing, and will typically feel that this is a "delicate" area.

As you move around the pole, particularly when your arms are overhead, your abdominal skin, fascia and muscles will naturally stretch and move with you, and this can pull a little on your incision. While this can feel a bit uncomfortable at first, gentle movement is usually a good thing, and very soon you will start to feel more comfortable. However, it's normal to instinctively want to avoid any tricks or moves that bring your incision too close to the pole, and it's best to honor this feeling. As your incision heals, you'll gradually feel more and more comfortable with having this area come in contact with the pole, but be prepared to go slowly at first.

The next consideration to be aware of is that along with the incisions on your skin and uterus, the various layers of tissue between the skin and the uterus were also cut during your surgery, including the abdominal muscle tissue. So keep in mind that your muscles will also need time to heal and strengthen. Because of this, you will likely find it more difficult to do the tricks you used to do previously, but you can absolutely regain your strength. The key is ensuring you approach this process gradually and follow the guidance of your health care team. What you will have on your side is the knowledge that you've already learned to do the tricks, so they should come back quickly once you've built up your strength.

Finally, be aware that scar tissue can sometimes cause discomfort for longer than you might think. This isn't true for everyone of course, but the fact is that scar tissue doesn't have the "stretchiness" that your regular skin does, and for some people it can take a bit of time to get used to this feeling.

If you've never had surgery before, this might come as a surprise, so it's good to know ahead of time. The discomfort is usually quite mild, but it can feel like your skin is pulling slightly against your scar, or sometimes a bit like pins and needles. Even after your scar is well-healed and a significant amount of time has passed, you may still be aware of these unusual feelings around the area of your incision. They will, of course, lessen over time as your body adjusts to having scar tissue, but it's helpful to know that scar tissue feels and behaves differently from regular skin.

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