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Having a c-section whether planned or unplanned means that your body will recover from the birth of your new baby a little differently than if you had had a vaginal birth.
Many women don’t realize what a toll having a c-section takes on your body and that the recovery needs are different.
Here are some tips to help you with your c-section recovery.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
After having a c-section you need to stay hydrated. It can be very helpful to keep a large water bottle close at hand to remind you to keep drinking regularly.
Drinking water will help with any constipation issues from the pain medication you receive after your surgery. Staying hydrated also helps to promote healing in your incision and boosts breast milk production.
Rest When You Can
Getting enough rest and sleep after having a baby is nearly impossible, and even more so when you are experiencing discomfort from having major abdominal surgery.
Find a way to get comfortable with your baby on the couch or in your bed, lots of pillows can help, and rest as much as you can. If possible have your partner help you when it is time to get up off the couch or bed at least for the first week or so.
Big Soft Panties
After your c-section you will be given the standard postpartum mesh panties with the big pads in them, but when it is time to move away from those you will need big soft panties that won’t rub on your incision.
Some panties are specially designed for c-section recovery if you know that you are going to be having a c-section that offers some abdominal support that can help to relieve pain.
Take Short Walks
Your doctor is going to recommend that you don’t exercise for at least six weeks after your c-section but you must get up and move around. Short walks down the hall or around the house can help to relieve constipation and reduce swelling and your chances of developing blood clots.
Have Gas Pills and Stool Softeners Waiting at Home
The hospital will make sure that you have a bowel movement before they release you, but it may still be difficult for you to have one at home.
Straining to go after having a c-section can be quite uncomfortable. Taking stool softeners and staying hydrated can make things easier.
You can also have a lot of gas after a c-section that can make your abdominal pain worse, the gas is a natural result of having your abdomen cut open but there is no need to be miserable. Take gas pills daily for the first couple of weeks to keep any gas pains to a minimum.
Everyone already knows you are a superwoman, you just brought a tiny human into the world. Don’t be too proud to ask for or accept help because you are going to need it.
Let friends or family members help take care of the baby, say yes if they ask if they can drop off a meal or supplies, or even just load the dishwasher for you.
Take Your Medication
You will probably come home from the hospital with a prescription for pain medications and antibiotics to prevent infection.
Make sure that you take the pain medication when you need it, and take all of your antibiotics as prescribed. Your new baby needs you pain and infection-free so that you can focus your attention on bonding with them.
Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and eating healthy meals at least a couple of times a day. It can be easy to forget to eat when caring for a new baby, but healthy meals and snacks are important for healing.
Keep some fruit, yogurt, and protein bars in the house so you have some healthy snack options that you can grab easily and eat with one hand if needed.
Don’t Lift Anything Heavier Than the Baby
For at least the first several weeks after your c-section you will need to let others do the heavy lifting for you.
Upon leaving the hospital you will be instructed not to lift anything heavier than your baby. This is to give your abdominal muscles time to heal and prevent you from tearing open your incision.
Take Care of Your Incision
The hospital will give you instructions on caring for your incision but basically, you will need to keep it clean and dry.
Make sure that there are no signs of infection like redness or fever around the incision and that there is no drainage or pus. Once the incision is sealed you can put creams on it to help it heal more quickly and reduce any itching. If you have severe itching you can put an ice pack on it to help reduce it.
You may notice that there are areas of your abdomen that are completely numb, and this is normal. When the incision is made to remove the baby nerves may be cut that reduce your ability to feel certain parts of your abdomen.
You may regain feeling months or years down the road, or there may always be some small areas with no feeling.
Keep a Pillow Handy
Chances are you will already have plenty of pillows around to help make sitting up bearable, but make sure that you have one that you can press up against your abdomen too.
Every time you sneeze, laugh, or cough your abdomen is going to hurt for a while, pressing a pillow to your abdomen can help to relieve a lot of the pain you may feel. If you know that you are going to be having a c-section make sure that you have one in the car for the ride home.
These are just a few of the tips that you can use to help make recovering from a c-section a little bit easier.
The time and memories you make bonding with your baby during this special time can never be replaced, so make sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you can enjoy it.