5 Ways to Prepare Your Client For a Possible C-Section Birth – Part 1 of 2

All I could keep thinking was “I have these super-strong core muscles, and I can’t even use them. And worse, they are going to cut through these super-strong muscles and ruin my core for life.”


I thought that I had the vaginal birth route set in stone!

As a Pilates instructor for over 15 years, I pride myself on having a stellar pelvic floor, and naturally, would be giving birth using the tools I have been developing for over a decade.

I prayed, and had everyone else pray, that I would have a vaginal birth.

I was ready with my push-pull bar in the hooked up to my bed.

And as the epidural kicked-in, I made sure I could still feel and use my muscles to expel this baby, no problem.

Me the day of delivery.

At about 10:35 PM on July 15th 2015, 24 hours after checking in-to the hospital, the doctor called a C-section.

NOOOOOOOO!!! I whined to him. I had yet to dilate even half way to the full 10 centimeters required to send baby down the birth canal.

“We have to do it. Your water broke over 12 hours ago, and baby needs to come out, now,” said my doctor, who was always calm and collected.

Surrendering to the inevitable, I was wheeled into the surgery room where my Cesarean section began.

Why I Feared a C-Section

All I could keep thinking was “I have these super-strong core muscles, and I can’t even use them. And worse, they are going to cut through these super-strong muscles and ruin my core for life.”

Well, it turned out that my fears were false..
First of all…
I found out that the muscles are not cut.
It is the fascia that is cut, and then stitched back together

And, My 15 plus years of building my core DID pay off during the birth of my son.

I healed MUCH faster than most c-section moms, because my core

Me and Zechariah-4 Weeks Postpartum

knew what to do.

My core was conditioned to connect back together, and to regain the strength it lost over the 4-6 weeks of recovery, where you have to completely reverse everything you know about using the transverse abdominals.

AND I DID get to use those strong pelvic floor muscles after all!

The support that my transverse abs usually gave me was passed down (literally) to my pelvic floor.

I had no idea this would be the case. And was amazed at my body’s miraculous ability to not only make a HUMAN BEING (craziness!),

but that it was now working together; muscles filling in for those that were ‘out on leave.’

I was highly satisfied with the outcome.

With Doctor’s strict orders to not exercise the abs for AT LEAST 6 weeks, I allowed my other supporting muscles: pelvic floor, latissimus dorsi muscles, back extensors, and gluteals to help me through this crucial stage of healing.

The following tips will help you get your clients in c-section shape, if she does end up having one.

5 Ways You Can Help Your Mom’s-to-Be Prepare for The Possibility of a C-Section.

(In collaboration with Sharon Chapman, Operating Manager and Education director of Your Pregnant Core)

The abdominals must stay dormant for 2 weeks following a cesarean, to allow the internal and external incisions to heal.

This means, mom has to depend on the other supporting muscles to help her through this time.

  1. Develop the Transverse Abdominals (kind of a no-brainer).

    1. Strengthen the core and pelvic floor integrity by teaching Hug the Baby Free the Baby


    2. Even with the trauma that a cesarean creates, development of the TVAs play a critical role so the woman can recover faster and healthier.
    3. Healthy, properly conditioned muscle tissue recovers much more quickly than muscles that have been neglected.
  2. Develop the latissimus dorsi muscle (the wings of the body)

    1. The ‘lats’ (short for latissimus dorsi) connect our arms, to our spine, to our pelvis.
    2. They should be trained as primary movers of the upper body, such as when lifting and carrying.
    3. The lats and pelvic floor are connected via the thoracolumbar fascia. So, teaching your clients to lift the pelvic floor and contract the lats (arm-pits to hips, shoulders down, etc.) stabilizes the sacrum, which helps to stabilize the pelvis.
  1. Develop secondary muscles (hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, symmetrical tibias,) – the walking muscles

    1. Focus on the gluteals (butt muscles) is crucial for stability of the torso, and during lifting and lowering.
    1. The quads tend to get over-worked, so make sure you balance that out with hamstring exercises such as flutters or bicycle on the Trapeze Table.
  1. 4. Train Functional Everyday Movements


  1. How to get out of bed:
    1. lay on the side,
    2. Then push up with the arm.
  2. How to sit and stand:
    1. Use the legs-gluteals and quads
    2. Think -Butt out, Chest out, and keep a neutral pelvis
  3. How to prepare for laughing, coughing, and sneezing:
    1. Contract the pelvic floor muscles.
  1. Mental Preparation

    1. Discuss feelings, on how to be kind and sensitive with your body and it’s healing.
    2. Encourage mom to listen to her body.
    3. Be prepared- ask for assistance (for at least 4 weeks)!
    4. Expect pain, discomfort, and muscular soreness

 Next week in part 2 of 2: Can a C-Section cause DR? plus the timeline of a healthy C-section recovery!

Thank you for your dedication to this special population! You are a vital part of the good of this world!

Keep it Up!


Alison Marsh-Founder of Your Pregnant Core

E-Mail Alison:



Check out our Easy Reference Guide to Teaching Pre and Postnatal Pilates


Cesarean Procedure


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