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10 C Section Recovery Tips to Help You Prepare and Heal

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If you’re having your baby via c-section, these 10 c-section recovery tips are exactly what you need right now.

 

As a mother of three, I have experienced nine months of pregnancy three times. I have experienced the joy of childbirth three times. And I have experienced postpartum recovery three times.  One thing I have never experienced, however, is labor.

 

I have never felt a contraction. I have never felt the rush of my water breaking or waited impatiently for my contractions to get close enough together to go to the hospital. I have never begged for the epidural I swore I wouldn’t need or held my husband’s hand as I pushed out our child.

 

But what I have experienced three times, was a cesarean section (a c-section).

 

Each section was for a different reason.

 

My first was an emergency c-section, due to the discovery of HELLP syndrome. My second, was the result of pre-eclampsia as well as a breech baby. And the third, was a repeat c-section due to previous c-sections.

 

My third baby was the only one that was a planned, uncomplicated c-section, so I am well aware of the differences between an emergency section and a planned one.

 

Whether your c-section is an emergency or a planned surgery, these recovery tips can help!

 

 

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10 C Section Recovery Tips

 

Please note: This is not medical advice and any questions that you have about your birth and recovery should be directed to your care provider. These are simply the c-section recovery tips that helped me to prepare and heal from multiple c-sections.

 

  1. Get moving ASAP!

 

I cannot stress this one enough.

 

When I had my first baby, I was very sick.  I was on a drug called magnesium sulfate and could not move from my bed for 24 hours after my son’s birth.

 

This delayed my recovery.

 

Of course, this could not have been avoided in that case. But I realized with my subsequent c-sections, that I recovered much quicker when I was up and walking within the first 24 hours of the birth.

 

Your nurses will advise you when it is safe to do so.

 

Don’t take it upon yourself to get out of bed without some guidance first.  Once the nurses gave me the ‘okay’, I would walk the halls of the maternity floor while pushing my baby in the isolette and wearing those lovely grippy socks the hospital provides.

 

newborn baby in hospital bed

 

Of course, you will have to work up to walking this far.

 

Take it slow at first and listen to your body and your doctor and nurses.

 

  1. Take the stool softeners!

 

Everyone gets backed up when they give birth, but even more so if you have had a c-section.

 

It is so important to take these when offered by the nurses, as well as when you go home.  This will also help ease the pain of that dreaded first post-partum poop.

 

  1. Take your pain meds if needed!

 

Please don’t try to be a hero.

 

You may or may not need the stronger meds. My doctors always prescribed Percocet, but you may need Motrin.  If you are in pain, you won’t be able to move as much, which will delay your recovery.

 

Try to remember, you just had MAJOR surgery!

 

  1. Let people help you.

 

Yes, get up and moving, but easy does it.

 

When you start to feel pain or feel tired, lie down and let your husband, or whoever is around, help you.  You just had a baby and you just had surgery.  If ever there was a time for you to let people wait on you, this is it.

 

 

Have someone else fold the laundry and do the cooking. You need to rest.

 

  1. Use mesh undies! 

 

Yup, you heard me right! Be sure to snag a few pairs of those mesh undies from the hospital before you leave. No, they are not very attractive, but they are great!

 

Your nurse will probably teach you this trick, but if not, here goes:

 

Take one of your gigantic postpartum maxi pads and hold it gently against your incision (absorbent side on the incision), then pull the mesh undies up over it.  You can even double up on the pad if you feel you need to.

 

The incision area will be extremely sore for a while, you want to take every precaution possible to protect this tender area.

 

  1. Keep a soft pillow over your incision area.

 

In addition to the pad/undie trick, this will also help cushion the area while you are sitting down or laying in bed.

 

Also, if you are coming home to a toddler, they will be very excited to see you home, and may not understand that Mommy just had surgery.

 

When I brought my second son home, my first was only 19 months old and instinctively jumped right on my lap…ouch! A soft pillow also helps when you need to cough, sneeze or even laugh.

 

Yes, it can hurt to laugh after a c-section.

 

Press gently down on the pillow when you feel any of these urges coming on.

 

  1. Wear snug fitting leggings or yoga pants.

 

You may feel the urge to wear super loose pajama pants or sweats, but this is not the best option for your recovery.

 

It is much less painful to wear some tighter fitting pants that will provide a light pressure to your incision area.  They should still be comfortable, don’t wear jeans, but you do want a bit of pressure in that area.

 

  1. Use body pillows and boppy pillows.

 

Yes, body pillows and boppy pillows will be your new best friends for awhile.

 

Hopefully, you already have a body pillow from your pregnancy, because they’re amazing.

 

Use it to prop yourself on your side while you sleep and under your incision area, so you don’t roll on it and hurt yourself.

 

The boppy pillow is amazing for holding and feeding your baby. Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, it will be useful.

 

Wrap the pillow around your waist and position the baby on top of the pillow. This way you will not feel the weight of your little bundle on your incision area and you can feed him or her with less pain.

 

  1. Make sure you have something to grab onto when getting out of bed.

 

You’ll need this for at least the first week or two.

 

Maybe set a chair or a sturdy nightstand next to your side of the bed, so you can pull yourself out of bed without exerting energy from your abdominal muscles, as this can be very painful the first couple weeks after surgery.

 

  1. Purchase a co-sleeper.

 

In case you didn’t know, newborns wake up a lot overnight!

 

If you are healing from surgery, you want to make it as easy on yourself as possible to get to your baby multiple times during the night.

 

There are cosleepers like this one, that attach directly to your bed. If you don’t like that design, a moveable bassinet set close to you near the bed will work, too.

 

 

BONUS TIP!

 

I know I have already listed ten, but this one is just so important that I can’t leave it off.

 

Please take care of yourself.  Especially your mental health.

 

This is not just a tip for c-section mothers, but all new mothers.

 

Hormones go crazy after birth, and you may experience all sorts of emotions that you may not feel comfortable telling anyone about.  These emotions are normal.

 

If you are experiencing what you think may be postpartum depression or anxiety, or you just don’t feel like yourself, talk to your doctor!

 

They are there to help you.

 

And one last thing before we go.

 

I realize a lot of women don’t plan on having c-sections. A lot of women dread having to have one.

 

I want you to know, coming from a three-time c-section Mama: this does not define you.

 

Your type of birth does not define you as a Mother.

 

It may not be what you wanted, and that’s ok, too.

 

It’s ok to be angry or sad that you had to have a c-section. This change to your birth plan is a real loss, a loss you should grieve.

 

Just please know, it is not your fault.

 

You did nothing wrong to cause this change of plan. Your baby will never know the difference, and you are still a great mother.

 

You just had a baby!

 

 

You just had a baby AND underwent MAJOR surgery!

 

You just had a baby, underwent major surgery, and are now running on little to no sleep while caring for this beautiful new life.

 

If that is not bad ass, then I don’t know what is.  Take care of yourself, Mama, you are amazing.

 

Be sure to pin these c-section recovery tips for later!

 

 

This article was written by our friend and fellow mama, Chelsea Boylan from Three Times the Chaos!

 

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