7 Tips to Help Your C-Section Recovery
When you’re pregnant, you’re more than likely planning to deliver your baby the old-fashioned way with a vaginal delivery. But sometimes a Cesarean section (also known as a C-section) is necessary in order to make sure both the baby and the mother are safe and healthy.
“A C-section is a surgical procedure where an incision is made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies,” explains Lisa Wilson, a physician with Novant Health Providence OB/GYN. “C-sections can be planned, but many times they are a plan B option for delivery, especially if the baby becomes distressed during labor.”
Since a C-section can be unexpected, it’s important to learn about the recovery process and the best way to heal from this major surgery and take care of your new little one.
Tip #1: Ask For Help
This is not the time to try to be Super Mom and do it all! You have to remember that you are recovering from a major surgery and you need to heal properly.
If you are lucky enough to have family and good friends nearby, ask them if they can be around for the first couple of weeks to help with chores, to make meals, to help with your new baby, etc. The last thing you want is to strain yourself because you need to vacuum the floors.
Tip #2: No Heavy Lifting
The only things you should be lifting for a few weeks after the birth is your precious little newborn and any older children you may have. But we recommend lifting your older children sparingly because it will exhaust you quickly.
Your abdominal muscles will pretty much be non-existent in the weeks following your C-section, so you need to give them time to heal. Lifting anything heavier than your baby won’t help you do that.
Tip #3: Prepare for Your First Bowel Movement
Yes, that first trip to the bathroom after your C-section will be a little difficult and scary… we’re not kidding.
You may not have a bowel movement for a few days after your surgery because of the combination of the pregnancy hormones and the prescription medications. You can ask your physician at Novant Health Providence OB/GYN for stool softeners to take after surgery and for when you go home to help with the… umm… process. Believe us, the stool softeners will help so you don’t strain and put more pressure on the incision and cause you pain.
Also, remember to drink water and eat fiber-rich foods after your C-section.
Tip #4: The Side Roll Method Will Save You
We’re not going to lie, sitting up after lying down will be a challenge for you in your first few weeks. Remember, your abdominal muscles just went through the wringer.
One of the best methods we have heard from mothers is to roll on your side, then get your bottom half all the way out of the bed, put your feet on the floor and stand up from there. It’s not the most graceful way to get out of bed, but it saves you from some pain.
Tip #5: Loose Clothes are Your Friend
Your C-section incision will be close to your waistband, so you don’t want any tight clothing.
We suggest some nice and loose sweatpants (maybe steal some from your husband). Or you can opt for comfortable dresses that won’t rub against your incision.
Tip #6: Let Your Scar Heal
During the healing process, your incisions may start to itch. Resist that urge. You can reach out to us at Novant Health Providence OB/GYN and we can suggest some creams that can help alleviate that itch.
Also, you may be scared to sit up straight because you think the stitches will pop out. Don’t worry, those stitches will stay in. Sit up straight to help with the healing process.
Tip #7: Exercise Often
Speaking of abs, make sure you are moving around and exercising a little. We’re not talking about taking a CrossFit class right after your C-section! We’re talking about going on short walks with your new little baby so you can get out of the house and get some fresh air.
Before you do an exercise that is more strenuous than a walk, please talk with your OB/GYN to determine if your body is ready for a more intense workout.
You have to take your C-section recovery one day at a time. There will be frustrating and difficult moments, especially with a newborn, but you will get through it! Remember that every mother has a different recovery process, and we don’t want you to compare yourself to other women.
We always want you to reach out to Novant Health Providence OB/GYN with any questions, comments or concerns about your recovery. Please call our Providence office at 704-372-4000, our Steelecroft office at 704-384-7900 or our SouthPark office at 704-372-4000. We’re here for you and your new little one.