Let's Talk C-Section Recovery!
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
It’s been a minute since I have put up a blog post, but for good reason. I had a baby!!
The last few weeks have been a blur, but the best kind. Full of snuggles, naps and staring at the baby while he sleeps. It’s so hard for me to fathom that he used to be in my stomach, and now he’s here!!
Today I wanted to dive into C-SECTION RECOVERY. If you followed the end of my pregnancy journey on Instagram, you know that baby boy was stubborn (foreshadowing for the future?? LOL!) and remained breech up until the very end. I also had low amniotic fluid, so it wasn’t in best interest for me, or for the little man to try an external inversion (where the OB literally manipulates the baby to flip). I had my scheduled C-section at exactly 39 weeks gestation, which seems to be the norm for scheduled c-sections. I plan to go more in-depth about my birth story in the next blog post (so stay tuned for that!), but today I’m going to talk about the ESSENTIALS for c-section recovery.
Let’s just say this right now - a c-section is MAJOR abdominal surgery. I heard so many people say this before, but WOW it really didn’t sink in for me until I was laying in my hospital bed literally unable to move. The recovery is no joke, and it is so so important to follow your OB’s instructions once you return home! It’s hard to not want to jump into mom mode instantly, but trust me, you don’t want to rush things. The sooner you take care of yourself, the sooner you’ll be back to normal!
Here are the biggest tips I have from my own experience:
Have someone at home to help you. I was so fortunate to have my husband home with me full time (he gets a full month of leave). I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without him. Even though it was hard for me to do, I let him take over diaper changes, preparing meals, and lifting the baby in and out of the bassinet. I also needed him to help me get in and out of bed! If your spouse is not able to stay at home with you, reach out to family members nearby, friends or neighbors. Trust me - you can’t do it all on your own!
Set up feeding and changing stations around the house. We live in a two-story home, so going up and down stairs was a big no-no. Therefore, I set up a changing table downstairs (literally used our coffee table!) and prepared a bin with diapers, wipes, diaper balm, burp cloths, and extra onesies. This made it so I didn’t need to worry about going up and down the stairs when the baby had to be changed or fed!
Get up and move, but don’t overdo it! About 12 hours after my surgery, the nurse made me get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. It was just about the hardest thing I’d ever done - it felt like running a marathon! But they told me moving was crucial for my recovery. Each day in the hospital I was made to take a walk up and down the halls and move around the room. It was literally the last thing I wanted to do, but it definitely did aid in my recovery! Once I was home, I made sure to move around the house each day (being super careful with standing up/stairs/etc). That being said, it’s REALLY easy to overdo it, so listen to your body! Everyone is different with the amount of movement they can tolerate. This may be TMI, but I knew I had done too much when I started bleeding more (yes - you still bleed even with a c-section!) This was my cue to rest!
Stay on top of your pain meds (don’t try to be a hero). Even when you think you feel better…...trust me. I kept on my rotation of meds (as prescribed) for a full two weeks.
Use ice & heat on the incision site! Alternating ice and heat on my incision site provided immediate relief! I would do about 20 mins at a time.
Compression underwear and leggings. When your abdominal muscles have been sliced through, this is huge. I wear both simultaneously to provide some light pressure/support on my incision. Also be sure to have a pillow nearby to press into your stomach for whenever you get the urge to sneeze, cough or laugh! (can you say OUCH!)
So there you have it! My top tips for helping with c-section recovery. As always, listen to your OB and follow your post-op instructions, but I found these things helped immensely! I am now 3 weeks post-partum and feeling so much better. My incision site is still sore every now and then, and I still have to take it easy, but I’m way more mobile than I was when we first got home from the hospital! Feeling more and more like myself each day!