Have you just had a C-section and are feeling a bit lost? Follow these C-section recovery tips from a real-life mama, ZB, who underwent the major surgery for both her second and third child.
We have already debated in our minds whether to be cut or to try and push our guts out; we have fortunately – or unfortunately – been sliced open to bring a beautiful soul into this world; we are now finally stitched up and drugged to the point of blissful slumber for the next 24 hours. What now?
“What now?” is exactly what I kept asking myself when I awoke to the nurses telling me to feed my newborn. “What now?” is what I asked when I struggled to sit up in my bed, stand, walk, or even pee. A caesarean is no joke; it is considered a major surgery and recovery from one is a lot harder than people believe.
Having had two caesareans, I can fairly and confidently share a few tips that helped me recover quicker than my natural birth. I was out of bed and walking down the halls within two days, out of hospital on the third, and back to my kids missing me at home.
1. Drown yourself in H2O
Drink lots of water – the simplest piece of advice that makes the most sense. Our bodies are made up of between 55 and 60% water, all of the cells in our body contain water, and heck even our organs are heavily composed of water. Fun fact: our brains and hearts are made up of 73% water.
After delivery, water consumption is even more vital. The water helps to keep the bowels moving, as constipation will only put pressure on your abdomen and cause great discomfort.
2. Go Green
Eating good and nutritious food not only helps produce an abundance of breast milk, but is important in aiding to repair the body. Vitamin C is very important for tissue repair and can be found in foods like kale and broccoli, which also in turn help with digestion. Eating these greens is a win-win situation.
3. Incision Care
The incision must always be kept dry and clean to prevent any infection.
Here are a few suggestions to heal the wound quickly:
After showering, dry the wound with a hairdryer. This prevents any pressure from a towel, but is also effective in truly drying out any moisture.
Another bizarre tip: placing a sanitary towel over the incision helps to keep it tight, adds a little padding, and prevents any pressure from your trousers.
Wear a post-surgery panty to prevent anything rubbing against the wound. The silicone strip on the inside reduces scarring and itching, and bonus: the panty also works like spanx. Silicone strips can be worn to help the scar remain as flat as possible.
Make sure to keep the wound extremely clean. If it is slightly red, then apply an ointment immediately, but remember that it always has to stay dry. If it becomes excessively painful or feels warm, oozes, or becomes very red, then be sure to make an appointment with your doctor as it is likely infected.
4. A Little TLC
Rest lots. People always told me to sleep whenever I had even the slightest chance and it’s true. After delivery, the body and mind are exhausted. The body needs time to repair and the best time is when you are resting. Lying down will also maintain a flat scar.
A very helpful tip I received was to hold a pillow to the tummy whenever I needed to cough or sneeze. This support creates stability to the incision and reduces the pain.
5. Be Smart
Do not carry heavy loads including laundry or groceries as this only increases the risk of opening the incision.
6. Get walking right away
Once you can take a few steps, you’ll be able to get the catheter taken out. The longer it remains within you, the higher the chances of infection. Walking also gets your blood pumping and reduces chances of blood clots.
7. I’ve got the Whole World in my Hands
Positivity – mind over matter – determination.
Mental health is so important and it’s normal to have the blues, but never feel afraid to reach out and talk to someone.
It is completely okay to relieve your pain using medication. You’ll be able to stay in good spirits and enjoy your little peanut. Alternating between Neurofen and Paracetamol is safe to use while breastfeeding and will help keep pain under control. Heat pads will also relieve discomfort at the surgical site.
Do not be afraid to ask for help: carrying your little newbie, changing nappies, bath time, and housework – anything that will give you even a few minutes of rest.
10. And finally, take it in your own stride.
Everyone’s experiences during pregnancy and labour are different, and recovery after birth is likewise. There is no such thing as a weakling, especially after a major surgery, so listen to your body and do what is comfortable for you.
Recovery is roughly six weeks; the first week is always the hardest, but your body will suddenly bounce back into action and you will be able to walk taller, stand stronger, and be happier.
And there you have it mamas, 10 tips on how to recover from a C-section! How did you recover from yours? Do let us know in the comment section below.