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Question
Posted by: vicky | 2007/02/24

muscle damage from c-section

I have heard that a women how has a cesarian will never have a flat tummy again because her abdomen muscles are completely severed. How true is this? Is it possible to flatten your stomach again after an operation like that? I had a kidney op when I was very young and they cut me open in the same way as a c-section and I've always had a flabby tummy. No matter how much weight I lose, my stomach always looks pregnant. What can I do about it?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Vicky

I've heard this as well, but I don't know of any conclusive proof that suggests it is either true or false. I doubt it, somehow because muscle has the ability to recover from injury and I also doubt that it is completely severed. Also, there are cases of women who have successfully lost weight and ended up looking the same, or better than before. So that all suggests that it's not entirely true. A lot may depend on the surgery of course and so it may vary quite a bit from one person to the next. And of course, your op may be completely different as well. Now, it is difficult to comment more because I don't know what you are doing to lose weight, or what that weight is in the first place.

And finally, you are not alone, and this is by far the most common question that is asked, actually. Everyone seems to battle with the weight in a specific area. It's really difficult to combat though, although you have already hopefully recognized that eating well and exercising correctly are the keys. The simple answer then, is to continue exercise and change your eating patterns. The exercise is cardio training - like running, walking, cycling, swimming, taebo, aerobics etc. Anything that is cardiovascular gets the heart pumping and energy burning is most effective. It is just a question of how you use these cardio sessions. I would suggest at least 4 days a week of cardio training, each session lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, AT LEAST. You have to build up this duration and then keep at it consistently in order to see change.

The specific exercises for the area in question have a relatively minor role, other than that they are responsible for developing the muscle in the area, which creates the appearance of being toned. That's obviously what you want, but you have to realise that you can't do the toning and specific work first and neglect the cardio - it has to work the other way around, cardio first, toning second. So focus on cardio, then on toning.

Diet is also very crucial, and if it's not 100% it will undermine any exercise benefits. So the best thing is to see a dietician or follow a very good diet plan. Just remember that low kilojoule is not necessarily better - too low causes problems as well, because it causes the body's metabolic rate to drop and that affects your ability to lose weight in the future. So don't try to starve yourself or go overboard, rather eat sensibly, cut out as much fat as you can, and listen to your body.

Good luck
Ross

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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