Well, here we are… officially 10 days postpartum on my fourth and final c-section. Yes, all of my babies have been brought into this world via c-section. The first delivery was an emergency and the rest were elective because I felt it was nice to be able to “pick” my delivery day and know exactly when the baby would come.
Historically, I have had difficulty with c-sections as my body does not respond well to anesthesia or pain medications and this last time was no different. Actually, this last time about 1/2 of my body decided it didn't want to accept the medication around 1/2 way through the surgery and I felt pretty much everything they were doing.
Yes, my doctors tried to give me more pain medication and even give me propofol to knock me out but nothing worked. My OB was going to stop but I just told her to keep going and I would make it through. Especially since I was also getting my tubes tied and didn't want to have to come back at a later date to do that.
Obviously, I'm sitting here writing this post so everything went fine, despite the immense pain, and the baby and I are doing great.
Now, even though I had a rough delivery I know how to recover well and fast. I always get released after just spending 2 nights in the hospital and recovery for me is always speedy.
So I thought it would be appropriate to share all of my tips and tricks with you on how to recover safely and fast from your c-section… whether it be planned or not.
I'm just going to start by saying that I absolutely hate the mesh underwear that they give you. Instead, I use these Always Sillouhette underwear and they are a godsend. Yes, it feels like a diaper but it is much better than the mesh underwear stretching out and then feeling like your underwear and giant pad are falling off you. As soon as I get home I put these on and instantly feel much better.
Once your through with bleeding you'll want to switch to high-waist underwear so your low rise ones don't sit on your incision and irritate it. I also use this Kelo-Cote scar gel to help minimize the appearance of the scar.
Essentials You Should Have
- Water bottle – you just had major surgery and you need to keep yourself hydrated to aid in recovery and healing. Keeping a large water bottle full and around at all times is a great way to make sure you're staying hydrated.
- Boppy or Nursing Pillow – this helps tremendously with propping up your baby so you can feed them. Moving and bending are going to hurt for a while so any help you can get with feeding or whatever is a amazing.
- Medications – duh… to help with pain. Just don't overdo it. Honestly, I don't even ever take the pain medication they send home with me because I hate the way it makes me feel.
- Perineal Bottle – it's still going to be hard to bend, twist, and wipe yourself after going to the bathroom so I usually take the perineal bottle that I use at the hospital for home and use it just like I did at the hospital.
- Thermal Pack – for me, in lieu of pain medication, I use this thermal pack instead. This one is great because you can heat it or freeze it depending on what you need at the time.
- Scar Cream Kelo-Cote – once I'm cleared from the doc, I start using this to help reduce the appearance of my scar.
- Hip Bandit – this is the best for helping compress your hips and get them back into their normal size. It also puts subtle pressure in your incision for support.
- Bellefit Postpartum Corset for c-sections – I will warn you, this is going to be uncomfortable the first couple times you use it. It will also be hard to get up and buttoned but once you do, I promise you will feel so much better. I used mine for at least 6 weeks and lost just about all of my pregnancy weight before I even went to my 6 week post-partum checkup.
- Neoprene Waist Shaper – Once I am cleared to work out, I use this for a little more support while I'm training my abs and it also gets the sweat going a little more so you can shed any excess abdominal weight that you could be carrying around.
- High Waist Panties – after you stop bleeding you can't just transition into your low rise panties because they will aggravate your incision. High waist is the way to go and even though they will feel weird for a while, you'll be thankful you have them for the time being.
- Bralettes – real bras suck, bralettes are life. That is all. haha
- Cotton/Rayon Chemise or Nightgown – these are just easy for lounging around the house and sleeping in.
- Wide Waistband Pajama Pants – If you don't like nightgowns, then wide waistband pajamas will be your friend. The wide waist will help prevent scar irritation.
- High Waist Leggings – the first few weeks after delivery your jeans are not going to fit or they'll aggravate your scar. You're also probably not going to want to put your maternity clothes back on or feel up to getting completely dressed every day. This is where these leggings come into play, they make you feel put together but you're not actually wearing “real” pants.
- Loose Fitting Tops/Tunic Tops – to cover and mostly hide the fact that your belly still looks like you're still 6 months pregnant. Plus they're just comfy and pair great with leggings for running to the grocery store or whatever errands you want to go on.
- Flip Flops or Slip on Shoes – bending down will be difficult for a while… why torture yourself by trying to put on sneakers? Just grab some flip flops and you're good to go!
Quick Recovery Tips
Move Your Body
Yes, it is going to hurt the first time you get out of bed but it is necessary.
While you are still in the hospital you will be required to get out of bed at some point and go to the bathroom. I am usually my own advocate and always try and persuade the nurse to let me get out of bed sooner. The sooner you get moving after surgery, the better. Blood flow is the key to healing.
Now, this doesn't mean that you should be running around your room 2 hours after your c-section but the nurses will want you to at least get out of bed and stand next to it (with their help) within a certain time-frame. After this first time standing they will come back some hours later and have you walk to the bathroom.
After you are released from the hospital and you move further out from your surgery day you will feel better and things will get easier. But don't fall into the trap of just lounging on the couch all day, you still need to make sure you get up and walk around the house and go up and down the stairs.
Only walking is approved after a c-section and you need to wait for doctor approval for anything any more strenuous than that.
Use Compression Garments
Just like movement is your friend so are compression garments. I swear by these and highly recommend them to anyone… even if you've had a vaginal birth.
Of course a compression garment is going to compress your belly, help with swelling, and get your baby belly to go down faster. It is also amazing for help with c-section recovery as it gives your incision, abdominal muscles, and back a little more support and help you not feel like your insides are going to fall out every time you squeeze your abs.
I usually don't start compressing until after I get home because I'm just too swollen and puffy from all the fluids while at the hospital. I like to start with a simple wrap compression and then move up from there.
Proper nourishment for your body is key in helping and speeding recovery. I'm sure that your doctor will still recommend you take your prenatal vitamin for a time but you also have to make sure your drinking enough water and fueling your body with whole, fresh, and real foods.
This is not only important for you but also important for your baby if you're breastfeeding.
Wear Comfy Clothes
Life is too short to stuff yourself like the Pillsbury Dough Boy into clothes right after you give birth. You don't feel 100% like yourself and you'll still have pain at your incision site. There's no need to make yourself feel even more uncomfortable.
Plus, your pre-preggo jeans won't fit and you're not really going to feel like putting on your maternity jeans again. I mean, you already had the baby.
After a c-section, I swear by high waist leggings, oversized tunic tops, and cotton nightgowns for lounging around the house.
Being unprepared for a c-section can definitely seem daunting especially if you didn't even plan on having one in the first place.
Just take these items to heart as these are the “rules” that I have followed after every c-section that I have had and always recovered and felt normal again very quickly.
Listen to your body, give it time, love, and care and you'll be back on your feet before you know it!