Cesarean Birth Recovery
Most people do not plan on a cesarean birth, but babies arrive this way more than a third of the time. The recovery process is different, and challenging in a special way. Below are tips that Brittany learned after her cesarean birth.
Words of wisdom.
Everyone is going to tell you, “don't over do it!” And we are here to tell you, “DON’T DO IT!” If there is someone else that can do it, let them. Your job is to heal...not to cook, clean, do laundry. This is your time to heal. You are a new mom so everything in your body is commanding you to take care of your newborn but after a c section you have got to take care of yourself too.
If you have stairs in your home stay on your main floor for at least the first week if not 2. Stairs will seem like something easy you can tackle a few times a day but don't be tempted. This is not the time to push yourself.
Roll out of bed the way they showed you to in the hospital, sleep when your baby is sleeping. If you need a reminder of the best way to get out of bed, roll to your side, swing your legs over the side of the bed and use your arms to push yourself up. Your abs were cut clean through during your delivery so using them to help you sit up it going to cause more pain, which we definitely don’t want!
Make sure you stay hydrated and are eating foods that promote healing. You have to take care of you if you want to take care of your baby. A good start for guiding your post surgery nutrition.
If you want we can help you set up a meal train where family and friends can bring you meals.
Hire a cleaning service temporarily if you need to.
Have friends come over that won't expect you to entertain them and who will be willing to help out around the house
Postpone visits. Friends (who don’t fit in the category above) can visit when you can go for a walk around the block with them…in a few weeks.
Post C section tummy support will help your core feel sturdier and will help your incision pain as well. The bellefit post c section girdle is amazing. Compression leggings and tank tops can help tremendously and are a little more comfortable that the full girdle. You can find some of my favorites here and here.
A lot of women don't expect to bleed as much post delivery after having a c section. You will still bleed and it can last just as long as if you had delivered vaginally (4-6 weeks is what you should expect). Wearing pads for weeks on end can kind of suck especially if you find them uncomfortable and are already struggling to get comfortable with your incision. A great alternative is Thinx, the period underwear. You'll want to get a high rise so nothing will sit near your scar.
A good article on recovery post c section. An easy read and a much needed reminder to let yourself heal.
Caring for your incision- Keep it clean.
You don't have to scrub it, but while you are in the shower you can let soapy water flow over it. Pat dry, don't pull on it.
You can use a scar ointment if you'd like but it isn't necessary at this time. If anything you can use vitamin E oil. I find it helped to keep it moisturized and with healing too. One thing worth noting is that itching means that it's healing! Try to not itch or pick at it though.
Air it out. Don't feel like you have to have it covered all the time. When taking a break from the c section girdle or leggings give your scar time to breathe.
If you notice anything at all that doesn't seem normal call your Dr! There shouldn't be any puss (slight discharge is normal, usually red/pinkish in color but it should not smell).
Nursing releases hormones that help contract your uterus which help it return to normal size. This can also cause bleeding so don't be worried if you notice increased bleeding while nursing. It can be uncomfortable and cause some incision pain. Discomfort is normal—excessive pain is not. If you are concerned or worried at all, reach out. You can never ask too many questions!
When nursing make sure you bring your baby to you, not your breast to the baby. You should be sitting with your feet up and in a comfortable position. Straining your core muscles and your back will only delay the healing process so get comfy when nursing!
Remember that Lactation Consultants are amazing and available for home visits. Check the resource page.