Having a c section is no small feat, it’s a full blown major surgery with 6 week recovery time.
The second time around personally I feel that the healing has been quicker yet some what harder with a toddler around who wants Mummy but I can’t always play with her the way she’s used to and I certainly can’t pick her up. It’s also been much harder to slow down as life feels like it just has to go on but every day I am allowing myself to rest and recover as I know long term this is the best thing for me.
In this blog I’m sharing some tips on Cesarean recovery from my personal experience and perspectives. Hope they help you if you are about to or have just had your baby via c-section!
Getting up after your csection will bloody hurt the first time - there’s no sugar coating that part. Make sure they give you some pain meds about half an hour before you get up. You will feel like it’s impossible to stand straight or take any steps BUT you must get up and move as soon as you are able to help with your recovery. Each time it will get easier and you will be moving normally again.
- It’s going to hurt to laugh, cough or sneeze for around 4 weeks. If you need to lean forward and hold a pillow over your incision to do so.
- Laxatives , prunes to get it moving! The cocktail of pain meds will cause constipation so you really want to get things moving ASAP to avoid too much pain. Take a bag of prunes in your bag and if they don’t offer them as part of your post op meds request they give you some laxatives. You’ll feel so much better after that first toilet trip even though it hurts a lot!
Day 3 after the surgery has to be the worst I think personally. You’re tired, hormonal, your milk is starting to come in and the pain is really amped up from you starting to move around BUT each day from there will get easier, it hurts but its not unbearable. You’re a warrior and you will be okay!
Accept the pain meds when you need them. There is no point in allowing yourself to feel extra pain than you need to. They will also help you to be able to be more mobile.
If I could recommend one thing to you it would be to stay in hospital for as long as you can for your own recovery. I know the thought of your own home and bed is nice but this short period of time is so crucial to your recovery. Not only will you be able to relax and recover you will have the help and assistance of midwives, doctors and physios to gain knowledge on your recovery, help establish breastfeeding and help with your new baby. You will never get this time again with your baby alone with out the responsibilities of life so try to take it in as much as possible.
Accept help from everyone in hospital - this is your time to rest, relax, heal and bond with your baby. You are going to need help showering and going to the toilet - accept it and allow it.
Don’t do anything that strains the ab muscles.Don’t try to use your abs to sit up from laying down on your back. Roll to your side and use your arms to push yourself up.
Belly bands, abdominal binders and support garments will be your best friend. Try to use something as quickly as you can to support your core and back. It will also aid in the recovery of abdominal separation and can support your wound. I used the Tubigrip supplied by the hospital physio for the first couple of weeks and still do most days but now I’m also wearing my SRC RECOVERY SHORTS - these are so amazing especially if you have abdominal separation. Some other options are BellyBandit brand Belly Bands.
Eat a healthy and nutritious diet. Your body is recovering from major surgery as well as recovering from birth/pregnancy PLUS will be producing breast milk to nourish your baby. The most beneficial thing you can do is too eat a healthy diet full of nutrients and DO NOT starve yourself. A diet high in protein, good fats, enough carbs as well as high in vitamin A(dark green vegs) , vitamin c (to help produce collagen) , vitamin D and calcium can help you recover. You may feel like you have no appetite like I have so if that’s they case set an alarm on your phone to remind you to eat or you may feel super hungry all the time so enjoy healthy, nutritious foods where you can if you have a large appetite.
Drink plenty of water. Its so important to keep up your water intake for recovery as well as milk production. Try to aim for 3 liters per day.
Don’t do anything to strain the abdominal muscles. Practice rolling on to your side and using your arms to lift yourself from laying. Do NOT perform any type of abdominal exercises like crunches or sit-ups.
Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks. This can and will be hard if you have small children but you must remember the longer you allow yourself to heal at the start the quicker your recovery will be.
Ice your wound to reduce inflammation .
Keep moving. Try to move around and do short walks around the house but don’t over do it.
Avoid exercise until at least your 6 week check up. Do not listen to or feel pressured by what you see others doing especially on social media. Exercising after a major abdominal surgery too soon can have long term damage on your wound, back, core and pelvic floor. Slow and steady always wins the race here. Make sure before you return to exercise you see a women’s health physio to have your abs, pelvic floor checked and to discuss your recovery from your c-section.
Watch for signs of infection and report immediately to your doctor if you’re worried. Some signs of infection can include fevers, redness around the wound, abdominal pain , painful wound and oozing from the wound.
Accept help from everyone around you especially if you have other young children. You need your rest. Rest is the best way of recovering as your body needs time to heal. If some on offers to bring you over dinner, accept that offer or if someone offers to take your other child/children for the day or a few hours take up that opportunity to rest.
- Supplements - To help my gut health/immunity I have been taking the Life Space pregnancy and breastfeeding probiotic. It’s specifically designed for pregnancy and breastfeeding and can also help if you suffer mastitis. It will also go through your breast milk to help your babies gut and immunity too. As well as that I have been taking Elivit multivitamin for women. During a HG or any pregnancy really our bodies are sucked of so many nutrients to provide them to our babies so it’s important to get those back through nutrition and also supplements if you need. The other supplement I’m taking is a collegen supplement to help with recovery.
- High Waisted underwear - that doesn’t rub or sit any where near you wound will save you so much grief! Buy big black ones from Kmart - cheap and you won’t care if they get wrecked! They also fit maternity pads in them much easier than normal undies.
Breastfeeding - breastfeeding is hard work especially at the start when you’re trying to establish feeding. It can take an emotional toll especially I found when trying to recover from a major surgery & getting broken sleep ,you pretty much constantly feel like you’ve been hit by a truck and there is so much demand on you physically and mentally. If Bf is hurting your wound ask your midwife or lactation consultant for some alternate holds to take that pressure off. Be gentle and kind to yourself and remember fed is always best. Have the ice packs, heat packs, pumps and cabbage leaves ready to go and be prepared for the hard work ahead!
I hope these tips have helped you in any little way! Let me know if you have any of your own by commenting below.