When I first found out that I was pregnant my furthest thought was the possibility of having a Caesarean birth (C-section). As a female, you are brought up with the knowledge of babies being born through the vagina and all the horror stories that come with that.
Because of this I was terrified of a painful vaginal birth so I began educating myself on all I needed to know to prepare. My husband and I watched a birthing class in preparation for labor. I purchased a hypnobirthing course to help with mindfulness and labor techniques. I also purchased all the items that promised to help ease the recovery pain. I bought those massive “padsicles”, peri bottles, and witch hazel wipes. I had an arsenal of vaginal birth recovery products. I thought I was ready.
Then came the day, after 56 hours of labor my son was born C-section. This is not what I planned and not what I prepared for. There is such an emphasis on education and preparing yourself for a vaginal birth and very little talk on C-sections which to me is insane since 1 out of every 3 births is via C-section.
My son also decided to make his appearance a month early so what little I had packed in my hospital bag, would not help me with a C-section recovery. Thank god for Amazon, we were able to order everything I needed and waiting on our doorstep when we were released from the hospital.
C-section Recovery Tips
Now that I have shared my birthing experience I want to share the tips that helped me through the healing process.
- Take the medicine!– I tried to be stoic and not accept anything after birth other than over-the-counter pain medication. After the procedure and 24 hours later I was in a horrible place. All the pain medication from the surgery had now worn off and I was in some serious pain. On top of that, I now had an almost 7-pound baby to care for. DO NOT allow yourself to get into this place. If you had any other major surgery you probably wouldn’t be so hesitant about taking the prescribed pain medication. Mothers are burdened with this insane amount of pressure to be super thoughtful about everything they ingest and how it could negatively impact their children. So my advice is to talk to your care team. Ask what types of pain medications are available to you. Maybe ask if you could start with a lower dose and see if that is enough to give you some relief. I went home with prescription pain medication, Tylenol, and Motrin. I only ended up needing to continue with the prescription pain medicine for a few days and then was able to slowly wean myself off of the over-the-counter medications too. You will also be given stool softeners. Continue to take these. That first poo can be seriously intimidating.
- Ask and accept help– C-section births qualify you for a longer hospital stay. Take these additional days if you can! The nurses are there and happy to help you while you get into the new groove of being a mommy. If you have a partner ask them to help you. They can’t read your mind. Let them know what you need!
- Take it easy– it is super easy to overdo it when you get home. I had a very hard time accepting that I couldn’t do even half of the activities I did prior. There was still a house to take care of and cooking to be done. Three days after being home I was making homemade meals. I do not advise this. I made myself so uncomfortable that I was done for the rest of the evening. If someone offers to bring over a meal accept it! Forget about the dishes in the sink and the piles of unfolded laundry. You are in survival mode. Your main focus is the health and wellbeing of your baby and yourself.
- Movement– you are probably asking why after I just told you to take it easy but it is important to have some movement. This will help with a few things. You are going to be retaining a ton of fluid. By moving around you are helping aid your body move that fluid to be able to get rid of it. Moving around also helps avoid getting any blood clots that you are at greater risk for because you just had surgery. It will also help aid in your bowels getting to work.
- Washing– you are going to want to keep the incision area clean to avoid infection. For me, the area was super tender, so when I was in the shower I would use a washcloth and have it all soaped up and just pat the area. I also made sure to moisturize the area after each shower to help with the itchiness that comes with any wound healing. You may have a glue adhesive or Steri-Strips over the incision. Do NOT pick at these. They will fall off with time.
- Diet/Hydrate– again to avoid constipation you should be consuming a high fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluids. Also, I was insanely thirsty when I was breastfeeding/pumping.
C-section Recovery Items
High Waisted Undies– this is one of those Amazon purchases I made in the hospital before I went home. You WILL want high-waisted granny panties. Wearing your regular underwear will cut right into the incision area and it hurts! I got these and they were perfect. Size up for extra comfort.
Pillow– keep a pillow nearby for when you need to cough or sneeze, which will happen. Pressing that pillow against your abdominal area will help with the discomfort.
Heated Neck Pack– this pack can be heated up in the microwave or chilled in the freezer. I loved using this at the end of the day on my lower back and abdomen. I prefer this heat pack over a heating pad for a few reasons. These heat packs are weighted so it comfortably wraps wherever you put them. This option is also filled with herbs, like lavender, that helps with relaxation. Lastly, you can heat it up and take it to bed without worrying about it running all night, like a heating pad, and the possibility of burning your skin.
Loose Fitting Pants– you will want lose fitting pants. I purchased these but I also just wore my maternity leggings and still do postpartum 4 months! If you are lucky enough to give birth in the summer you can just wear dresses.
Belly Band– this was recommended to me because I was having trouble with standing up straight while recovering. I did try it a few times and it wasn’t for me, but I know some people swear by them. I have also heard the pressure from the wrap is beneficial for your abdominal muscles when healing back into place.
Silicone Scar Sheets – these were recommended by my OBGYN and I wish I had spent more time looking into them. They are silicone strips that you place over your C-section scar and they can help with the appearance of color, texture, and flatness.
Diaper Caddy– wherever you plan on sleeping, having a diaper caddy near you will be helpful. You can stock this with everything you will need for diaper changes through the night so you’re not having to get up and go into another room.
Now you wonder when will my tummy go back to the way it was? I Googled this many times and have come to the realization that it will never be what it was because you are not the same as you were before. You have just spent 9 months carrying a child. You have given life to a human being. Your body has created a miracle. So if you are reading this and you end up having a C-section or already have had one and you’re looking down at your scar, wear it proud. You are a badass mama!
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission if you make a purchase using one. This comes at no additional cost to you and I will only ever share items I have used myself and tested out.*