Medically reviewed by Dr Kristy June Dinampo.
Because C-sections are so common we tend to gloss over the fact that it is an extremely invasive surgery.
The trauma and pain which comes after a C-section shouldn’t be underestimated.
The good news is that there are many ways to reduce the amount pain and the length of recovery time, and get back up on your feet, enjoying life with your newborn bundle of joy as quickly as possible.
If you have been told that you are going to need a c-section, you’ve recently had a c-section, or you’re simply wondering about your delivery options, it’s vital be informed about what you may experience.
So, let’s check out eight helpful tips for your c-section recovery.
Tip 1 – Take Painkillers
It’s completely normal to have some degree of pain for around two weeks after a C-section.
You’ll probably be prescribed painkillers by your doctor after the procedure and you should take them as prescribed to help aid your recovery.
Some new mothers, especially those who have chosen to breastfeed, avoid taking pain killers after giving birth.
Make sure your doctor knows your feeding choice, assure that any medications won’t adversely affect the baby, and then take whatever he or she prescribes!
Tip 2 – Try Probiotics to Help With Gut Health
You may be prescribed antibiotics after your C-section to help prevent infection.
Unfortunately for some mothers, these may cause upset stomach and other digestive issues.
Probiotics are a great way to boost your both your gut health and immune system.
You can take them in a supplement, either as a pill or a yogurt-based drink, or you can boost the amount of probiotics in your diet by enjoying probiotic-rich foods.
Whichever option you choose, probiotics can help to reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea which is never fun, especially after a C-section.
Tip 3 – Look After Your Wound
The key to recovering quickly after a C-section is in how well your wound heals.
An infected incision is going to extend your recovery time and make you feel awful.
Keep your wound clean, check with your health-care provider often, and follow the post-operative instructions.
You’ll be back to fighting fit in no time.
Keep your wound dry and check it often. You need to be on the look out for pain, redness, heat, or any oozing.
You will either have stitches that will dissolve on their own over time, or surgical staples which will need to be removed by your doctor at a set time.
Be sure to keep any scheduled appointments so that your doctor or midwife can keep an eye on the wound and make sure it’s healing properly.
Tip 4 – Do Some (Very) Gentle Exercise
The key word in that sentence is ‘gentle’.
Don’t over do it!
You can start with very light walking as soon as you’ve been given the go ahead by your doctor and slowly rebuild your endurance.
This will help you get out and about with your baby, which helps to reduce the chances of postpartum depression.
It also boosts your circulation and reduces the chances of a blood clot, a possible side effect after a C-section.
Tip 5 – Watch Your Diet
If you want to get back to full health, you need to give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs.
Your body relies upon good nutrition for overall health and well-being and a healthy diet can reduce your recovery time after a C-Section.
Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The addition of anti-inflammatory foods, such as nuts and seeds, chicken, broccoli, and berries can also help reduce swelling and pain.
Another diet-related consideration is getting enough fiber in your diet.
Hormonal changes can cause constipation for new mothers, whether they had vaginal birth or a C-section.
Straining is going to put pressure on your wound, and could lead to tearing and pain.
By avoiding constipation in the first place, you can avoid that potential problem.
Tip 6 – Avoid Heavy Lifting
You have total permission to get someone else to do the manual labor around the house, because you’re sworn off heavy lifting after your C-section!
Lifting anything heavier than your newborn puts pressure on your wound and may cause healing issues.
It’s not great for you back, either.
This restriction will likely last for at least the first two weeks or more depending on your doctor’s recommendations.
Of course you will need to lift your baby, but you should even do that with caution.
When nursing prop yourself up on pillows.
Finally, no matter how much you want your old body back, you shouldn’t be doing crunches or any other kind of abdominal exercises at this point.
Tip 7 – Take Your Time With Sex
Sex may be the very last thing on your mind, but perhaps not.
If you do find that you want to get back into it make sure you clear it with your doctor. After that, take your time and stop if you feel pain.
You can reduce the chances of this happening by using plenty of lubricant and making sure that you are sufficiently aroused beforehand.
This is the same advice as for women who have had a vaginal delivery, but women who have had a C-section have a wound to think about too.
Avoid any positions that cause excess friction around your incision.
Tip 8 – Don’t Try And Do Everything Yourself
Finally, remember that your body has just gone through a traumatic experience. You are also probably pretty emotionally drained.
Do not try and do everything yourself.
You are now a mother, and that means you have a million responsibilities going through your mind while also healing from a major operation.
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, friends, family, or anyone who you trust for help.
This is a time to focus on yourself and your baby, not to be running around trying to be Superwoman.
These eight tips should help you recover from your C-section must faster, and have you feeling much better as a result.