The recovery from a c-section is a little different than recovering from a vaginal birth, and while there are some items needed for the recovery of both a vaginal birth and a cesarean, a c-section requires a few postpartum items that aren’t needed for a vaginal delivery. I’ve experienced two scheduled c-sections, my sister has experienced two emergency c-sections, and our mom has experienced two scheduled c-sections (we all have breech babies to thank for our c-sections) and together, we have compiled a list of items that really help us to recover quickly from surgery. With the US c-section rate being 1 in 3 women, this is a good list to keep handy whether you’re having a scheduled c-section or planning on a vaginal birth.
- Belly Band: This isn’t just a “help me get my pre-pregnancy body back” item. My nurse said it helps binds your scar so no fluid gets in, and it puts your stomach muscles back together. For the first few weeks after having a c-section, pretty much every movement you make feels like your insides are falling out. The belly band offers your stomach muscle support, helping to lessen that feeling. I started wearing a belly band while I was still in the hospital and wore it for several weeks after giving birth.
- Hospital Underwear or High Waist Underwear: Stock up on the underwear they give you at the hospital! They may be ugly but they are the most comfortable thing on your c-section scar. If you absolutely hate the hospital underwear, buy some high waist underwear in a couple sizes larger than you normally are.
- Lounge Dress/PJ Dress: I lived in my cami style pj dress for the first few weeks. It was easy to nurse in and loose on my stomach.
- Always Infinity Flex Foam Pads: Just because you had a c-section, doesn’t mean you won’t be bleeding down there. You’ll need pads to wear in your underwear, and for the first few days after your c-section, you’ll want to place a pad over your incision site to protect it from your clothes. The Always Infinity Flex Foam Pads were my favorite because they are thin but super absorbent.
- A Pillow: Laughing, crying, sitting up, laying down, basically everything you do will hurt after having a c-section. Keep a pillow nearby and use it to apply pressure to your incision site to make moving not hurt as much.
- Stool Softeners + Pain Meds: Trust me, stay up on your medicine and ahead of the pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance so I quit taking my pain medicine a couple days after I got home, but I continued the stool softeners for a while. It’s normal not to have a bowel movement until 4-5 days after surgery, but when you do go, you’ll be happy you took stool softeners.
- A Helper: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You just had major surgery! Find someone you’re comfortable with, whether it be your mom or husband or best friend, and put them to work. Cody did most of the cooking and cleaning the first couple weeks, along with so much more! I couldn’t have recovered as quickly without him.
- Water: Drinking water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will help push fluids through your body. After my c-section, I looked swollen and bloated from all the medicine and fluids the doctors gave me. Drinking water helped that to go away quickly.
- Start Walking: Get up and walk as soon as the nurses tell you it’s ok (usually it’s the same day you gave birth). The sooner you walk, the easier your recovery will be. Increase how long you walk for each time, but don’t overdo it.
- Rest: I know, this is tough to do as a new mom but you just had surgery and your body needs rest to recover. I tried to nap when the baby would nap, and Cody was a huge help at night time. For the first week or two, Cody would get up at night with the baby, bring her to me to feed her, and then get her back to bed, or be up with her all night if she just wasn’t wanting to go back to sleep, allowing me to sleep.
Have you experienced a c-section? If so, leave a comment sharing some of your postpartum essentials.