When facing a C-Section, you may be wondering, “What can I do to help myself?” As a mama who asked herself the same question when preparing to have my twins, I wanted to gather as much knowledge as possible.
So, whether you are preparing for a C-section due to placenta previa, baby’s position, repeat C-section, having multiples, or an unexpected C-section, here are some tips that will help you recover faster.
Stand and walk as soon as you can. Movement will feel initially counterintuitive, as your body will be tired. However, getting up and walking around gets your blood flowing and speeds up the healing process.
Take Your Medication
Keep up with your pain medication (this can be Tylenol & Ibuprofen) along with stool softeners. Often, mamas will “feel better” and stop medicating before the doctor recommends it. Be sure to take your time with easing off your medications and listen to your doctor.
Listen to Your Body
If it hurts, slow down. Listening to your body is imperative to healing. You may feel your to-do list mounting, but this is an excellent time to ask for help and let the small things go when possible.
Protect Your Incision
Keep your incision dry and clean. Protect it from rubbing on clothing as irritation can inhibit healing rates.
Wear a Belly Binder
A belly binder is a great way to support your abdomen, back, and hips after having a baby. Binders help speed up recovery and reduce swelling around the incision site. They have also been found to reduce pain. Check out this belly band and these C-Section Recovery undies for some options.
Wear Comfortable, Loose Clothing
Wearing house dresses or loose high-waisted pajama pants will be the most comfortable over your incision. You can find many affordable options from big-box stores or on Amazon, or you can try a dress from small businesses, like Undercover Mama.
Take a Probiotic
Probiotics are hugely helpful. If you have a planned C-section, start taking a probiotic before your C-section and continue it after the procedure. You are given antibiotics through your IV during and after a C-section to prevent infection, and you want to do what you can to keep your gut healthy.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated (drinking to thirst) helps your body heal. This also helps keep your poop softer, as you want to avoid placing strain on your core. If you struggle with water on its own, you can always try Stevia-based water flavoring like Stur (liquid additive) or True Lemon (powder additive).
Eat Nutritious Food
Eating nutrient-dense foods helps your body heal faster and replenish what is lost from bleeding. Nutritious, warm foods, soups, and bone broth soothe the body. You’ll also want to incorporate food high in antioxidants like blueberries, blackberries, and watermelon, which are all great snacks. Finally, keep up with your fiber to assist your digestive tract.
Use a Pillow for Support
Use a pillow for counter-pressure when you cough, laugh, or sneeze. Your abdomen has just been cut through, and it can be very uncomfortable to cough, sneeze, and laugh. It’s easiest to keep one on or next to you during that first week to two weeks.
Don’t pick up anything that weighs more than baby. For some, this is challenging, especially if you feel antsy. It’s important not to lift due to the pressure it will place on your core (even if you may not have felt the pressure pre-procedure).
When possible, avoid taking the stairs or at least cut back on usage. You’ll be surprised at how many muscles are required to use the stairs, and now is the time to rest your core muscles.
Ask for Help
As I’ve mentioned, ask for help with things around the house. Think about hiring a postpartum doula or having a family member or friend to come help around the house and with all things baby. You’ll find that people want to help. You’re not a burden; you’re just a friend needing a little extra support.
Think about Meals
Prepare freezer meals and have a meal train set up before baby arrives. A quick Google search will set you up with all kinds of freezer meal ideas, and you’ll find most of them very cost-effective.
Above all, rest. Give your body the time it needs to heal from an intense procedure. While C-Sections are common, they’re not particularly easy on your body. Give yourself some slack and plenty of rest.
As a C-Section mama who has been through this, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have and provide lactation support. You’re strong, mama.