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7 Tips to Recover From a C-Section

By on July 9, 2009
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 Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life.  You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.

C-Section Recoveries

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.

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16 Comments

  1. Tia

    July 9, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I’ve had 2 c-sections also. I never thought of using a maxi pad to keep the area dry. Thats good advice right there mama.

    Something I did learn after my first one though, was to forget about being shy, and ask for help. If somebody was coming over, they were most likely going to be seeing parts of me that they’d rather not, but that was the price to pay for holding my baby, haha. I think I even had the neighbor help me pull up my granny panties (yep, I rocked the granny panties too!) after going to the bathroom once.

    Anyways, loved this! Good luck to any Mamas who will be needing this advice! And Congratulations!!

  2. Lissa

    July 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing this info! I had a c-section with my first one and most likely will have another one if we have another child. I honestly don’t know how I did it the first time since I pushed myself a little hard that time. Now I know to just take it easy and let other people help. I like the maxi pad around your incision idea. :) And yes, granny panties were the norm for me as well during those times.

  3. holly christine

    July 15, 2009 at 6:22 am

    my advice: stock up on those really stretchy gauze underwear they have at the hospital! i loved mine so much i washed them so i could keep using them:) sleeping with my pregnancy pillow under both hips also helped the pulling at night..

  4. Elizabeth

    July 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Keeping your incision clean and dry is so important but so many women take the care of their incision for granted. I actually like the hair dryer idea, clever :-)

    Nice tips :-)

  5. stephanie

    July 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

    OK c-sections if all has gone smoothly are a very routine surgery these days. It is great to have help but the more you move around and try to do things for yourself the faster your recovery:)

  6. Ashley

    August 3, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I have had 2 C-Sections. They have been very hard and painful to recover from. I found that with my 2nd C-Section it was easier my husband found this thing at babies are us that is Awesome it holds your tummy for you. I swear by it and I am having my 3 baby in dec. I am worried about the pain and being able to move around. But I am glad I will have my band to help. Love the tips on here!
    There is nothing easy about being a new mom and throwing Major surgery in with it. Good luck to you all.

  7. Shannon

    August 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I had a c-section with my first and am having another in three weeks with my 4th and am loving the extra tips (it has been 6 years since I had a c-section since the two in between were vbacs). One thing that helped me with my first was I had my hubby bring me the boppy from home to use around my waist, came in handy when I had to cough or sneeze, I would use it to lean up against, also was a great help with holding the baby and not having him on the tender area. I also loved the mesh panties from the hospital :) Will definitely use that maxi pad advice for the incision area, never thought of that!

  8. Danyell

    September 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve had 4 previous C-Sections and am due with my 5th on september 19th. The best way to recover and heal quickly to try and do as much of the work yourself. Walking, twisting, bending will all help your muscles and your incision. With each C-Section i had, i moved and healed faster after each. My husband helps out a great deal but i choose to push myself. It all boils down to the person, whether you want to be relaxed and let nature run its course or push back a little to get your life and new routine’s started.

    • chastity Deaner

      June 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      I couldnt agree more. I have had three and I am expecting a baby, due Valentines Day of 2013! Get up and move and go! As long as your doc approves…..get up within a few hours. I was up in the third or fourth hour after delivery, because I was still under major pain control and I know that that initial getting up thing, is the hardest part, so do it while you are still numb. Im with you, Push back!

  9. new Mom

    January 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I love the advice I found on here. It was very helpful . Wilk definately try the maxi pad around the incision though sounds like a great idea .

  10. Bianca

    January 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Hello Mothers’
    I just had a c-section a week ago..the experince was very difficult and emtional for me..this was my first child and will probably be my last..i really wanted to have a natural birth but baby didnt want that. After surgery i was so cold and in pain. The day after i tried to get up and move n it was painful at first but the more moving i did the less pain i felt. im at home now n everyone (especially my gma) is telln me to take it easy n not do much, but being active is so much less painful. And while i was n the hospital they used the maxi pads for the cut n i am using them still. Goodluck to you all!

  11. T Diez

    April 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’m very tough and pushed myself after my c-section. I tried to do everything myself, stayed home alone with the baby after 3 days and sent my husband back to work. TERRIBLE IDEA! I ended up opening my incision and getting a scleroma. It took over 6 months before the worst of the pain went away, and even now over 4 years later I still have an ouchy spot. Don’t be so brave. Baby yourself even if you don’t think you need to because your body needs the time to heal.

  12. Araina

    May 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for posting this as they were all good tips. I do all these things already. A good thing to have is ready made meals that you pop in the oven or microwave because you may not feel like cooking and if you do cook you run the risk of getting fatigue and dizzy which could result in fainting.

  13. Crystal

    May 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Having my surgery Monday and these are very good tips!!!!!!

  14. leena

    July 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I just had my first c section wit my 3rd baby girl n it was very hard n painful for me, its been a wek now n I feel a whole lot better I found out that gettin up n walkin helps a lot, than just layin or sittin around like I did the first 4 days, also I been wearin a band around my incision it helps a lot to hold ur tummy n I also been usin the maxi pads to keep my incision dry n clean also a good advise for u mamas gettin ready for a c section make sure u have help after u go home bcuz u won’t have much energy specialy wen ur carin for a new born, I think that would b the best advise other than walkin

  15. Home Ever After

    July 9, 2009 at 8:23 am

    @Tiffany and @Tia: I’ll be having a c-section in December, and love the advice. After only having vaginal birth before, I had no idea what to expect. Thanks for the tips!
    Barbi / Danelle

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