How To Recover From A C-Section (10 Smart Tips)
After being hounded and warned that having a C-section was the “worst thing ever”, I came to find it wasn’t as bad as everyone dramatized it out to be.
While you can’t be overly physical immediately after your procedure, you can do some things that will help your body recover quickly.
From exercising, to wearing the right gear and stocking up on pads, to looking for comfort and support anywhere you can find it, we have a plan for you.
Read on to gain 10 tips for recovering from a C-section.
#1. Get Moving
While you won’t be able to jog, lift heavy objects (nothing over the weight of your baby), or climb up stairs, you should start to move gently and walk around the day after your surgery—I found it helped me to stay active and limber.
Movement also increases circulation and can help you pass your first bowel movement (doctors want to make sure things are working properly), before they release you.
Make it a point to go up and down the hall of the hospital at least three different times a day, the day after your surgery. It may hurt a bit, but you’re doing your body a favor.
#2. Wear A Compression Belt
Compression belts keep you nice and tight and help flatten the tummy and protect your incision.
In addition, compression belts give you plenty of support.
They take pressure off your abdomen and back, and can be worn day and night, underneath your clothing and pajamas, constantly!
#3. Take A Shower (Not A Bath)
It’s easier to navigate around a shower, rather than a bathtub. Plus, you aren’t supposed to soak your incision with water, especially if you have staples in your abdomen.
You can definitely rinse off in a shower, but it’s important to pat your incision dry.
Also, never rub or scrub your wound with a washcloth, pouf (or anything that can snag or get stuck). A rinse of warm water will do the trick.
#4. Use A Squirt Bottle
When it comes time to wipe yourself, you’re going to have a difficult and sometimes painful time.
So, your health care professional will send you home with a squirt bottle to help clean off your bottom when you use the restroom. It also helps keep you clean in addition to postpartum bleeding.
This way, you’ll have to bend, stretch, and twist far less.
#5. Stock Up On Pads
You’ll need a large collection of “overnight” pads, which will absorb the most amount of liquid.
Women who don’t give birth vaginally still experience a lot of bleeding and will need to make sure they are prepped until bleeding subsides (around four weeks).
#6. Use A Cushioned Toilet Seat
I found that a cushioned toilet seat was much easier for me to get relief from while cleansing or using the restroom.
It takes just a minute for a partner, friend, or family member to swap out that hard cold seat for you.
At this point, it all boils down to the little luxuries!
#7. Stay Out Of The Driver's Seat
You should not drive a car for at least six to eight weeks after a C-section.
Your movements and reaction times are limited, and you could do more injury to yourself in case you get in an accident.
#8. Utilize Supports
If you’re in pain, don’t try to be a hero. Everyone manages pain differently.
So, use the pain pills your doctor provides you with.
Also, take advantage of help! If friends or family members want to come over to cook dinner, walk the dogs, do the laundry—let them!
You can also use nursing pillows to take pressure off your body when you nurse.
#9. Don't Skip Appointments
Your postpartum appointments are important: your doctor wants to check on your incision to make sure its healing properly and not showing signs of infection.
They also want to make sure you’re managing your pain and are moving as much as you should.
They’ll monitor you for fevers and will also want to know about any other concerns you have.
Often times, women will skip these appointments because they think their incision is fine, and they are feeling better (or many are just super tired), but in the long scheme of things, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
#10. Minimize Scarring
At about eight weeks out, start applying a topical cream that targets scars—this will help your incision mark shrink and will make the general area look nicer.
Some creams are better than others, so be sure to check with your provider to see if they have any samples and to gain their recommendations.
C-sections aren’t as bad as everyone makes them out to be.
The healing process and recovery is long, but doable.
Consider some of the 10 tips above to ensure you’re off to a safe and healthy start as a new mom!