Summer is just around the corner and that means BBQ’s, longer days, and (hopefully) swimming!! I don’t know about you but I LOVE to swim, I was born to live near a body of water. But you might be wondering – “can I swim after a c section?” Is it safe? And if it is safe, when can I swim?
In this article you will learn:
- when you can swim after a c section
- where to swim after your c section
- the potential benefits of swimming as you return to exercise and your normal routine
When can I go swimming after a c section?
The general rule of thumb on how long to wait to go swimming is much of the same time frame as to when you can take a bath after a c section. (click here to read about taking a bath after your c section)
Doctors say you need to wait at least 3 weeks, sometimes as many as 6 weeks. In other words, you’ll want to wait until your incision – and your body – is fully healed from surgery AND birth.
*I highly recommend consulting your doctor before resuming any activity *
remember, I am not a medical professional. I am sharing anecdotal advice based off of my personal experience and the research I have performed. This content should not be taken as medical advice; if you have medical questions please seek the advice of a medical professional.
So why do you need to wait and make sure you’re fully healed before you swim after a c section? You don’t want to risk infection. You have to consider your incision as well as your cervix and uterus.
Your incision needs to be healed over. If your incision is still open then bacteria can get in and cause an infection.
Also, your cervix needs to have closed back to normal. Yes, even though you didn’t have a vaginal birth. It’s highly likely that your cervix still dilated (at least to some degree) during labor and/or before your c section. And your open cervix leads to your uterus, which is also still healing.
You will also want to wait to swim after your c section birth until your vaginal bleeding has stopped. You definitely should not be wearing tampons before you’ve been cleared by your doctor. This means if you’re bleeding, definitely no swimming.
Where is the best place to swim after a c section?
Pools are safer to swim in than a lake or ocean because they are chlorinated and the chlorine will kill most bacteria. Oceans and lakes are full of all kinds of bacteria with no chemicals to kill it.
If you are going to swim in a pool stick to a private pool instead of a public pool or hot tub. Public pools are more likely to have more bacteria than private pools due to the number of people using the pool.
If you want to swim in a lake or ocean it’s best to wait until after 6 weeks, or at least until after your postpartum appointment. Get your doctor’s approval before taking the plunge.
If you’re kids are just dying to go swimming before you get the all-clear from your doctor then I recommend wading in the water only up to your knees or lower thighs.
Benefits of exercising after a c section.
Right after the c section the first exercise you should do is some light walking. (you can read more about walking after your c section by clicking here) .
Walking promotes the healing process and is the easiest on your body. Only after your body is healed enough should you go for a swim.
Swimming is a full-body workout that not only builds muscle but also is great for your cardiovascular system. When you start out you might want to do something like water aerobics or some slow laps. Remember that your body has changed a lot in the last year.
Some of the benefits of postpartum exercise include:
- Increased circulation
- Increased mood
- Reduces the risk of blood clots
- Prevents constipation
- Helps you feel lose the baby weight.
When you do go swimming make sure you take it slow. It takes time to heal after a c section, possibly even months to feel back to normal. You can easily hurt yourself so go slow and take your time building your strength back up.
Essentials for Swimming After Your C Section
Times have changed, now you have a new baby, and a body that probably feels not-quite-normal – which means your list of swimming essentials is probably a tad different.
Here are a few things you’ll want to remember:
- a scar-friendly bathing suit, I recommend a one-piece or a high-waisted two piece
- a breastfeeding-friendly bathing suit
- non-slip shoes
- towel (of course)
- all of your diaper bag essentials!
Remember to relax and have fun. Summer – and swimming – can be relaxing and enjoyable, even for a new c section mom. Just remember to check with your doctor to make sure you’re healed, find a safe place to swim, and take it slow. And when you are ready to go for a swim after a c section, don’t forget your sunscreen!