Whether you are planning a cesarean birth, opt for a c-section, or one becomes necessary, it’s good to know what things can help you with postpartum recovery.
Key Post Cesarean Tips
- Start walking as soon as possible – start with going to the bathroom and back. Increased physical activity helps with circulation, improves bowel function, and will get you back to baseline sooner.
- Breastfeed or pump to help your uterus contract.
- Shower when possible to help with infection.
- Stay on top of meds! Even if that’s only Tylenol or Arnica.
- Rest and sleep as much as possible.
- Don’t lift more than the baby, and focus on recovery.
- Use “c-section panties” or a binder for the first few weeks.
- Continue to eat healthy, with lots of protein, healthy snacks, and staying hydrated.
- Rule of thumb: 2 weeks in bed, 2 weeks on the bed, 2 weeks around bed. So for the first 2 weeks postpartum there should be minimal walking, no housework, no cooking, etc. for proper healing.
I personally experienced my first cesarean birth back in May, when I delivered twins as a surrogate. While I’ve helped prepare many couples for what the cesarean experience will be like from a medical standpoint, having experienced it myself, these are also things that are important to know…
Things I Wish Someone Told Me About
- Every OBGYN has a preference to closing up the wound. Learn how they cut into you, what they used to close you up (staples or stitches?), and if you need to follow up with anything after (like removing the glue!)
- When you need to cough, sneeze, or laugh, hold a firm pillow against your incision area. It hurts!
- The gas pain is extremely uncomfortable after, and that first poop sucks just as much too. Especially if it takes a week before anything happens!
- You will most likely end up with a tiny “pooch” between where your scar is, and where your stomach begins. For some it does get better over time!
- The numbing feeling is weird! I have described it as similar to when your foot falls asleep, you poke it, you can somewhat feel that poke but it’s all tingly still.
- If you “over do” it, you WILL feel it around your incision. This is your body’s way of saying, “Slow down!”
- It also helps to hire a doula! Planned or not, a birth doula can help you plan for a cesarean (so you know what to expect), support through one (especially for your spouse!), and most importantly support after a c-section!