My son was born by emergency C-section after 36 hours of labor in the hospital. (I know, right?) I had hoped for a vaginal birth, but instead got a Caesarean section… and healthy baby boy! And so it goes. But as I hadn’t planned on the C-section, that meant I also hadn’t prepared for how to recover from it properly. The second time around, I knew what to do. Even if you don’t think you’ll have a C-section, read my 15 ways to heal faster after a C-section birth just in case.
Recovery Immediately After the C-Section
I remember right after my son was born, weighed, and whisked off to be checked, I was wheeled to my hospital room and the motion of the gurney made me SURE I was going to throw up. I didn’t, but I was nauseous for a few hours afterward. I didn’t know to expect this and it was stressful. You may also feel groggy or even itchy. If this happens, let someone know. They can help you!
Rest to Heal Faster After a C-Section Birth
The biggest tip is to allow yourself plenty of rest after a C-section. This is major surgery, and your body needs time to heal. When you’re in the hospital, get as MUCH sleep as you can. When you get home, sleep when your baby sleeps. If you cannot get enough rest, ask for help from a friend or family member so you can get more rest. I cannot over emphasis how much rest will help you here.
Head Restrictions After Your C-Section
After my son was born, I was under the restriction to lift no more than 15 pounds and to avoid stairs as much as possible. The doctors don’t just say this to bug you — it really matters. If those stitches open, you’ll slow down your healing and risk infection. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby, and ask for help if you need to exceed this weight or go up and down the stairs a lot.
Pay Attention to Pain After a C-Section
If you had an epidural or spinal during your C-section, the pain relievers can stay in your system for up to 24-48 hours. So be prepared for the pain to return around that time. If you have issues in the hospital, don’t be shy about asking for pain relief.
You’ll be sent home with pain relievers after you C-section. Take them, and stay on top of your medication. Skipping a dosage may mean it’s harder to get on top of the pain later. I was breastfeeding after my C-section, so I had only Tylenol to help me out. But I stayed on top of that Tylenol (acetaminophen) like my life depended on it. I recommend you do, too! Pain is exhausting.
Eat Nutritious Food for Faster Healing
If you’re able, prepare nutritious freezer meals before your C-section so you can eat easily and healthily after you come home from the hospital. Did you know that eating vegetables while breastfeeding can help your baby enjoy it more because it gives the milk more flavor? Whatever you do, avoid low-quality foods. You need protein and complex carbohydrates to recover from surgery.
Avoid Getting Constipated After a C-Section
You may have problems pooping after a C-section due to the medications or even just because everything hurts and you don’t want to push it. If necessary, take a stool softener after your C-section to get you back into your routine. Being constipated is quite uncomfortable! And remember to drink, drink, drink (water, that is).
Peeing Without Pain After a C-Section
Speaking of bodily functions, peeing can sting or burn thanks to the catheter you had during your C-section. If it’s really bad, consider a sitz bath for relief. A sitz bath can soothe the area everything “down there,” from the vagina to the anus. All a sitz bath is is a special tub that fits between your toilet and toilet seat. You just fill the tub up with warm water, lift the toilet seat, place the tub under the seat, put down the seat, and sit with your bottom in the warm water for about 10-15 minutes. You can do this 3 times a day and feels really good.
Dealing with Shoulder Pain
About a week or so after my C-section, I got this weird mystery pain near my right shoulder. I asked my doctor and he said it was likely gas from my bowels extending all the way up to my shoulders. Crazy, huh? If you feel something like this, or even just gas in your abdomen (ouchie!), ask for some anti-gas medication and walk around a bit more. The pain should subside soon enough if you do this.
Walk More to Recover Faster
Getting out for daily walks is a really, REALLY good idea and it will aid you in recovery. It’ll improve your mood, help your bowels work properly again, reduce gas pain, and help you avoid blood clots.
Shower Daily Whenever Possible
Getting clean and staying clean will help your mood and keep your incision clean. Mild soap and water fine over your incision. My doctor was pretty clear about the need to keep that area clean (no scrubbing, just clean). You don’t want your incision becoming infected.
Pay Attention to Body Temperature
About a week after my C-section, I began to notice I felt a touch warm. I took my temp and I was near 100°F. I’m glad I was paying attention, because I immediately called my doctor and found out I had a uterine infection. There was nothing I could do to avoid this, but knowing it was an issue sooner was better for taking care of it. I ended up back in the hospital for a few days on heavy antibiotics.
Get Comfortable Nursing After a C-Section
I highly recommend a nursing pillow if you plan to breastfeed after your C-section. It protects your tender abdomen and gets your body into the right position without you need to hunch over. This will really help!
Being Kind and Patient With Yourself
You need to give yourself time after the surgery. You’ll be uncomfortable and there’ll be lots of things you just cannot do. Remember that this will pass. Be patient with yourself.
Hugs and kisses,
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