Any parent can tell you that caring for a newborn is hard work! Those first few days (and weeks) at home often pass in a blur.
As hard as it may be, mom needs to focus on herself during those early weeks though. She can’t give 100% to the newborn if she doesn’t take care of herself. And if she doesn’t take care of herself, she can slow down her own recovery, which nobody wants!
There’s a plethora of information on the Internet about recovering from a vaginal birth. Instead of adding to that, I thought I’d share some helpful hints for moms who find themselves having “belly births”.
C-sections are vastly different than vaginal births, with very different recoveries. Many moms aren’t prepared, and it can be difficult to find good information out there to help.
After two belly births of my own, these are some things that worked for me. Always check with your doctor first if you have any questions about your own situation (I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV!).
7 Tips to Recover from a Belly Birth (C-Section)
1. Shave your legs before you give birth! As difficult as it is to shave your legs at the end of pregnancy, it’s even harder after a C-section. You won’t be able to bend and twist at the waist for awhile, so start your recovery with shaved legs!
2. Fiber is your friend. You will be without food for 24-hours or more when you give birth. (Twelve hours before surgery, and usually another twelve after). Then you’ll be on narcotics for pain. This combination tends to slow things down, if you get what I mean. Ask your doctor how best to handle this, and make sure to drink lots of fluids. Eating fiber (bran muffins are good!) and taking Metamucil can help as well.
3. Think about where you’ll sleep when you get home. It can be quite painful to get in and out of bed for a few weeks. If you have a recliner, that may be your best option. Just remember that you might need help getting up from there as well!
4. Embrace the granny panties! No, they aren’t the most attractive. But your low-rise underwear won’t work after a C-section. They sit right where your incision will be, and trust me, you don’t want anything touching that area for awhile!
5. Stock up on super maxi pads. Yes, for the obvious reason. But you’ll use them for your incision, also. It’s important to keep that area dry to speed healing. What worked for me was to place a super maxi pad against my incision, and use my granny panties to keep it in place. This keeps the area dry, and also gives a little bit of support and comfort.
6. Invest in a hair dryer with a cool setting. As I mentioned, keeping your incision dry is imperative. When you get out of the shower, and throughout the day, aim a hair dryer (on cool setting) at your incision. This works much better than towels at keeping the area dry.
7. Have help lined up. A C-section is MAJOR surgery. There is no other major surgery where you’d be expected to take care of a newborn child immediately afterward! You will need help when you get home. I personally required help for the first two weeks, at least. Your body needs time to rest and heal. Try to have help lined up in advance for as long as you can arrange it.
Putting an emphasis on mom’s recovery will make the newborn stage so much easier to get through. Taking care of a newborn is difficult enough without adding the problems that can come with a slow recovery. Focusing on your needs won’t automatically guarantee a smooth and speedy recovery, but it will help you feel the best you can, and allow you to relax and enjoy your first few weeks with your new baby.
Photo of Baby Donovan’s birth by Robert S. Donovan.