Whether your c-section is planned or unexpected, you may be wondering how you can recover quickly. Here are some c-section recovery tips we've gathered.
Take it easy, but get up and move around as soon as you feel able.
You will be required to take off all jewelry, makeup and nail polish. The doctors need the ability to observe your appearance closely. Leave the wedding rings at home- your fingers may swell due to extra fluids and/or you don’t want to lose them accidentally.
Plan on staying in the hospital robe the whole stay or else bring pants that will come up over your belly, or nightgowns. You don’t want anything pressing or messing around your incision for the first couple weeks. Yoga pants that fold over at the waist can be comfortable at this stage of healing.
Take pain meds whenever you are offered to stay on top of the pain. Its much easier to stay on top of the pain or keep it at bay then it is to get rid of pain once it sets in. Don’t try to be a super-hero by stopping medications prematurely before your body is really ready.
Buy boy-shorts underwear rather than wearing bikini-cut which will likely rest right on your incision. The hospital will also provide you with disposable panties if you prefer those. Whatever underwear you use, make sure the band doesn’t rub against your incision.
Extra-long sanitary napkins. The hospital will provide you some thick pads, but when you get home and as your bleeding lightens, you may want to buy a more comfortable, thinner brand that comes in extra-long to prevent staining.
Take it easy your first few days at home. Avoid lifting or driving. Follow your hospital discharge instructions carefully to avoid additional pain and discomfort.
Ask your doctor if its okay to use a heating pad.
Some women swear by taking Gas-X for the extra gas pain that can occur with abdominal surgery. Make sure this is on your doctor’s list of approved over-the-counter medications.
Ask for a stool softener if it is not offered. Eat extra of foods that normally help you go number 2-extra water, fruits, veggies, etc. If you have a planned c-section, ask your doctor about starting stool softeners a few days before your scheduled surgery. All the pain meds will make you more susceptible to constipation.
Press a pillow against your incision when coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or getting up from sitting. Also press the pillow against your incision when you first start walking, the added pressure will help with the loose feeling in your abdomen.
Bring a breastfeeding boppy pillow with you to the hospital, it will help support baby while breastfeeding and provide a cushion between the baby and your incision. You may want to bring your own bedtime pillow as well.
Eat small snacks or light meals more often versus big meals that will leave your abdominal area feeling uncomfortable.
You may want to seriously consider using a recliner for sleep in the first few weeks. Laying flat and having to get up and out of bed often with a newborn can be very painful after a c-section.
Plan on using a higher bassinet for baby to sleep in so you don’t have to reach down for him or her. A changing table will also be particularly important these weeks. Some women have even bought or rented a shower folding chair from a medical supply store. A high lawn chair works well too.
Place the back of a sturdy chair next to your bed when you get home, use this for propelling yourself out of bed and getting around more easily.
Ask hospital staff for a belly binder and let them show you how to use it. If your hospital doesn’t provide one, make sure to purchase one of your own!
This may sound crazy, but pass as much gas as you can! Limit visitors who would make this uncomfortable for you. The more you hold gas in, the worse you will feel in a few hours!
Arrange for someone to be with you most of the time for the first days at home, to help you with caring for the baby, picking them up, breastfeeding, going up/down stairs, etc.
Make a diaper-changing and breastfeeding station near a comfy spot for yourself at home. You’ll appreciate having everything within arm’s reach! Keep water, tv remotes, phone charger, kindle, etc. nearby as well.
If you have older children, set up a station for them in your bedroom with favorite toys, movies, drinks and snacks to make it easier for you to supervise them while recovering in bed.
Try covered ice packs on your incision to help numb the area and reduce swelling.
Ask hospital staff how you can still do skin-to-skin and when is the earliest you can attempt breastfeeding. This is often called a “gentle c-section”.
Hopefully these c-section recovery tips help you recover faster from your surgery so you can enjoy time with your newborn. Check out our other articles on c-sections. Share your own c-section recovery tips in the comments!