Are there things that you can use for easier c-section recovery? After two c-sections, I know what’s helpful to have to help you recover smoothly. Note: This post contains affiliate links. See the sidebar for more information.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I did a lot of research about childbirth. Overall, the birth stories and literature I read made having a c-section seem horrendous. Some women (and a lot of research) made me feel like it was absolutely terrible to have a c-section. As in, having a c-section would make me a second-rate mom.
I believed it all – I was SO against having a c-section that I made a natural birth plan that involved absolutely every precaution possible. A c-section was only a life-or-death option for me.
So of course, when it came down to it, my pregnancy ended in the dreaded cesarean.
Not sure what to expect during a c-section? Check out this article about what to expect.
Because that’s life.
I taught me so much. Yes, I cried and felt unworthy when they told me it had to be done. I’d labored for 40 hours after all, and my daughter’s heart rate was dipping. I’d done so much but so little in the way of making progress. I was disappointed.
The mentality that I went in with, the one that said I wasn’t enough if I couldn’t have a natural birth, followed me.
It affected my confidence as a new mom, it affected my ability to breastfeed, and eventually I spiraled into postpartum depression.
I’d put too much stock into the way that I delivered, and wasn’t focused on the overall outcome: a healthy baby.
I let the opinions of others sink in too deep.
Fast forward to now, pregnant with my second, who is due January 2018. I’m planning a c-section because of the complications I had previously and I’m fine with it. I feel more prepared and I could care less what people say about having a c-section. I know what to expect and I feel equipped to deal with recovery. Never again do I want to feel depressed and like I’m a big “let down” as a mother, so I’m doing what I think is right for me. You should too.
The point is that c-sections happen.
Yes, maybe they happen more often than they should. But they happen in about 1/3 of U.S. pregnancies, and they are necessary in many cases. If you haven’t had one, that’s okay. I wouldn’t consider myself “lucky” either way. But if you haven’t had one, you can’t judge. We should be able to talk about these things without all that.
This article is for moms who have recently had or will have a c-section in the future.
Childbirth, no matter the delivery outcome, is tough to get through. Because I’m at c-section #2 right now, and have fully embraced it, I know a thing or two about recovery. But not everything you read is going to work for you – the tips, the statistics, the loads of information out there.
So today I want to share the things that have helped me personally have an easier c-section recovery. Like with birth, what you need is going to be different from what I needed. Just like who you are as a mom is individual and just like your children have varying needs. (Also see, “13 Things No One Tells You About Having a C-Section.)
Still, you can always learn from other women. Being prepared and having a “heads up” when it’s your first time doing anything is helpful. So today I’m going to give you a few ideas for things that might make for easier c-section recovery for you. If I can help you go into this new-mom thing with confidence, then I’ve succeeded. 🙂
7 Things to Have on Hand for Easier C-Section Recovery
1. Postpartum Girdle
Before my c-section, I splurged on a highly-rated postpartum girdle from Bellefit. This was before I knew I would end up with a cesarean, but boy am I glad I had this thing on hand.
I was initially worried about getting my “body back” after pregnancy, but having a c-section changed that somewhat. My paranoid, irrational, and hormonal inner voice thought my guts were going to fall out of my incision. So the girdle really came in handy keeping it all in.
But in reality, using the girdle helped a few different things. It helped:
- protect my incision
- fix my posture
- focus on engaging my core again
- fit in my regular jeans sooner
I kept the girdle that I bought and I’m so glad I’ll have it this time around!
2. High-Waisted Granny Panties
When you’re not wearing a girdle, you still want to protect your incision site. Plus, you want something comfortable to wear that isn’t going to rub around your incision. That’s why you’ll want some high-waisted undies on hand. They don’t have to be specifically for c-sections, but the ones on the market are great for speeding up recovery similarly to the girdles. The hospital will give you some mesh panties that are comfortable but awkward (with pads inside), so consider purchasing some of your own. I recommend having more than one pair on hand for washing.
3. Squirt Bottle
Newsflash: you’re still going to bleed a lot after a c-section – and I’m not talking about the incision site. The hospital should provide a squirt bottle to help flush the bleeding in the first few days. But you’ll be using this thing until your bleeding completely stops. Why? Because you can’t take full showers or baths until several weeks postpartum. Keep your trusty squirt bottle (or two) on hand to stay clean.
4. Stretchy Pants
The best pants I have are high-waisted yoga pants from PinkBlush Maternity.They’re my favorite because they’re lightweight and don’t feel too loose or too tight anywhere. Roll ’em up or down. They fit over my postpartum girdle nicely, even after stretching them out a bit during pregnancy. It will take some time for your uterus to retract after having a c-section, so you definitely want some pants that can be stretched and not rub around your incision site. Not all sweat pants are created equal, so opt for wide-panels around the waist.
5. Scar Cream/Lotion
You don’t to mess with your post-cesarean dressing until you’ve been given permission to. But once you have permission, you might want to consider helping your scar diminish. I personally didn’t feel comfortable touching mine (I couldn’t see it anyway) until I was completely done with my 8 weeks of recovery, but that may be different for you. After this, you can help your incision scar diminish by massaging it with a specially-formulated scar treatment. I used Bio-Oil all through my pregnancies for stretch marks, and continued to use it for c-section shelf massages.
6. Your Prescribed Pain Meds
If you’re like me and try to be natural as much as possible, this can be a hard one. But when you’re in the middle of adjusting to newborn life, please don’t mess around with, “I can handle it.” Meaning, make your life as easy as it can be. Choose your battles. You’re already losing sleep and adjusting physically. You don’t need to be in pain, too. These little things matter. Take your prescribed meds until you’re SURE you don’t need them anymore. It’s going to make for easier c-section recovery – trust me. 😉
7. Baby Wipes
All those baby wipes you got for your newborn? They’re gonna come in handy right now. Keep some in the bathroom at all times, and keep some in your purse for yourself. Why? Because the bleeding will stop when it wants to. (Pads will come in handy, but you still want to feel clean.) You wont stop needing baby wipes until your kid is like three (maybe longer), so just do yourself a favor and start buying them by the case.
That’s it! I hope some of these things help you have an easier c-section recovery.
Have you had a c-section (or a few)? Tell me what you think should be added to this list! How can we help more moms have easier c-section recovery?
Other articles you might like:
- How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals After Baby
- C-Section Recovery 101
- 3 Things All Moms Should Know About Postpartum Weight Loss
- 11 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms