First of all, let’s talk about c-section!
During a cesarean section or commonly known as c-section the baby is delivered by surgery, not vaginally. Vaginal birth is still considered the safest method however cesarean delivery is very common and there are many reasons why it could be necessary. The majority of c-sections have solid medical reasoning behind them, however, in some cases, doctors may allow you to choose this method if you prefer to do so.
While there are some important steps you need to follow after vaginal birth and it’s undeniable that recovery takes longer if you had a c-section. Here we collected some tips to ease the burden and make your recovery as speedy as possible.
Get an abdominal binder
Abdominal binders can help minimize pain by compressing your belly and the surgery site. This can make recovery much easier however it’s debated that it can hinder the development of abdominal muscles during the recovery so don’t use it longer than absolutely necessary.
Don’t forget your pain relief
It’s more than likely you will need pain relief during your recovery period. Some doctors might prescribe you opioids or over counter painkillers like Ibuprofen. As per usual, check with your doctor before taking any medication.
Stock up on stool softeners
Stool softeners can be your best friend. Postpartum constipation is very common and you will want to avoid straining your abdominal muscle groups therefore stool softeners can be really beneficial during this period.
Take probiotics and eat right
Similarly to other surgeries, you will likely need to take antibiotics after a c-section as well to avoid infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics also kill healthy bacteria in your stomach that ideally should be replaced. Taking probiotics can be a great way to give a boost to your digestive system. Make sure you eat plenty of food rich in vitamin C, iron and protein.
As soon as your doctor says it’s okay, start walking. It’s very important to start mild exercise as soon as possible in order to get your muscles working once again. Getting in and out of bed can be a bit of a challenging first step. Rolling out of bed might not seem the most elegant but definitely the easiest on your body when trying to get up.
Don’t lift heavy items
Make sure you don’t lift heavy items, it can cause damage to your healing wound and can even result in longer recovery time. Take it easy especially for the first few weeks.
Wait until you are ready to be intimate
This may take some time. Give your body a chance to recover. Many women report painful intercourse several months after their c-section so make sure you take it easy and only engage in sexual activity if you feel absolutely ready for it not just physically but mentally as well.
Get good quality maternity pads
Bleeding is very common after birth regardless if you gave birth vaginally or had a c-section. Heavy bleeding is normal at the beginning but your flow should become lighter over time. The hospital will supply you with maternity pads while you are there but even those can be old fashioned, bulky and uncomfortable so we suggest you stock up on these before you go into labor.
From your underwear to t-shirts and pants; everything should be loose and comfortable. You can even get some disposable mesh underwear or high waisted ones. We suggest stocking up on some comfortable underwear before your due date. Once your postpartum bleeding stops swap to breathable high waisted cotton undies for maximum comfort. You should get some loose T-shirts and dresses that give easy access to breastfeeding as well. There are special nursing gowns you can buy for this purpose however a loose T-shirt will do the job as well.
Nursing will get you dehydrated like nothing else. Have a large insulated cup or water bottle at hand at all times. Make sure it’s a no-spill one to avoid mess. Staying hydrated is important but it will also help you with constipation and boosting your digestive system in general.
Look after yourself
This can be a challenge for all new mothers. Making sure you are eating and drinking enough can easily slip your mind while juggling everything else, but it’s important to remember that you need to stay healthy to be able to look after your baby. This includes regular showers no matter how inconvenient they feel at times. It will make you feel a thousand times better. After a c-section avoid baths until your wound is fully healed as it can cause infection. After taking a shower tap the surgery sight completely dry carefully.
Ask for help
It’s extremely important to realize when we need support, especially after a c-section. Looking after a baby is already challenging enough but you need to make sure you give your body a chance to recover. Childbirth can be extremely straining physically but also emotionally. Your hormones are all over the place and you just welcomed a new member of your family. It will likely change your life forever. These are huge changes and it’s completely fine and normal to need time to come to terms with all of that has happened. Make sure you have someone to talk to when you need emotional support and ask for professional help if things get too overwhelming. Postpartum depression is real and no one should be going through it on their own.
Whether you give birth vaginally or by cesarean delivery there will be challenges to face and you will need your body half a chance to recover from childbirth. Don’t force yourself and take it easy especially for the first few weeks. This is a time for recovery and enjoying the time with your baby and close family.
Please let us know in the comments if you have experienced giving birth with a c-section and you have any extra tips to share with our readers. What has worked for you? Anything you wish you knew before? Any personal stories and recommendations are welcome!