April Is C-Section Month!!
Many women plan for a vaginal delivery, but sometimes baby or your body will have other plans– approximately 33% of deliveries in the US are via cesarean (including scheduled and emergency). A cesarean delivery brings many different physical recovery components, and it’s important to know what to expect for your c-section recovery to have a more enjoyable experience through your delivery, your first few days with baby, and in the following weeks. Delivering your baby, no matter what method, can be challenging on your body– so we’ve assembled 20 tips from c-section mama’s on how to have the best delivery and recovery experience!
1- Keep Up Your Core: Many mama’s who engaged in light activity, including safe prenatal core exercises approved by their doctor, found that abdominal recovery was much easier and quicker.
2- Plan Meals Ahead. In the weeks before delivery, prepare some freezable healthy meals, so you can have food that aid breastfeeding and your recovery without having to spend too much time on your feet or in the kitchen.
3- Get Mentally Prepared. One tip other mama’s shared was to have the doctor talk to you and your husband about exactly what to expect throughout surgery if there’s time. That way, you’re both prepared for what you see and hear!
4- Enjoy a Pre-Surgery Meal. If you’re having a scheduled c-section, you’ll likely be told no food after midnight the night before. Take this opportunity to load up on healthy, filling foods that will keep you feeling full and give you energy. Real Mom Tip: Avoid gassy foods!
5- Get Pictures! You might think you don’t want anyone to see what goes on during delivery– but for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries, you’ll want to remember. This is especially so with cesareans because the medication can often make the experience memory ‘groggy’.
6- If you can, ask questions during your delivery. Ask your partner, nurses, and doctors what’s going on and to give you a play by play– being more involved in the delivery can help you remember the experience.
7- Take the suggested medications (but ask questions!). Pain management medications and stool softeners are commonly taken after all deliveries– don’t be afraid to ask what you’re taking, but don’t try to recover without them if you aren’t feeling 100%, you’ll enjoy your time with your new baby a lot more if you’re comfortable.
8- Stay on top of pain. Don’t wait for a ton of breakthrough pain before taking pain medication. For the first few days, it’s safe to say you’ll be sore, so keep a pain medication schedule to help avoid major discomfort.
9- Sanitary pads have more uses than you’d think. A few mom’s have sworn by using feminine pads stuck to the band of your pants or underwear, to provide cushion to your incision.
10- Keep the dress-code comfy. Avoid trying to see if you can get all dressed up for visitors, you just had major surgery! Pack comfy pajama bottoms that fit right while you’re pregnant, so they’ll be loose enough not to irritate your incision after delivery.
11- Bring lots of pillows. Bringing pillows from home can not only be comforting, but can help support your abdominal muscles after recovery.
12- Hydrate! Even when you’re hooked up to an IV, you need to be drinking plenty of water to aid recovery, reduce discomfort (constipation & muscle pain), and help your body produce milk for breastfeeding. Hospitals get pretty dry (I drank 7 liters of water in 24 hours after my second delivery) so drink as much as it takes for your body to feel replenished!
13- Fiber up! Along with staying hydrated, and taking the stool softeners provided; choosing meals high in fiber will help get things moving– a big milestone after a c-section.
14- When it’s time– get up and walk. Even if its just to the restroom, getting two major milestones out of the way (walking, first bathroom break) will help calm your recovery concerns.
15- Walk often. Many moms suggest trying to get about 3 laps around your floor of the hospital per day. Walking will help your muscles recover, help you avoid gas and constipation (read: pain), and build your physical confidence back up.
16- Have someone stay in your room. Especially if you baby or babies are staying in your room, you will want to have help (your partner or a family member), since lifting baby and getting out of your bed can be challenging the first few days.
17- Limit visitors. While everyone probably wants to come see your new baby, try to limit the length of time you’re entertaining in your hospital room. The time you spend in the hospital is meant for your recovery, this might mean having family and friends wait a few days to visit you at home instead.
18- Invest in a belly wrap. Of all the tips– this was the biggest consensus from real moms! Belly wraps, binders, or compression underwear designed specifically for c-sections can help minimize pain and aid healing.
19- Take a Step. Literally, if your cups are in a tall cupboard, or your bed is on a tall frame, invest in a couple steps around the house so you aren’t reaching and straining.
20- Ask for help (and take it!). You’ve just had a major surgery for your baby, you’re already a supermom! So don’t be afraid to ask for help with everything from standing up to caring for baby and housework. Visitors will ask if you need anything, take advantage of it and try to relax with your new baby.
Thanks to all the mama’s who shared their c-section tips, here’s wishing all the Knocked-Up Mama’s a safe & happy delivery!