Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Okay so you've been cut in half and had your guts pulled out - now go home and take care of this baby.
I have now had two c-sections - the first was not planned, and the second was scheduled. With the first being an emergency c-section I hadn't thought at all about what happens after you're sliced open or what the healing process is like.
First off - I am not a medical expert, but I'd like to share the things that helped make my healing process much smoother the second time around.
Secondly, I want to make sure any c-section mama out there who reads this knows that you are a BADASS. Your birth was/will be beautiful. The fact that you delivered in an OR surrounded by scrubbed up doctors and nurses does not make your birth any less magical or transformative than a woman who delivered in the middle of the forest surrounded by gnomes and fairies. Okay?!
Your c-section birth is nothing to be ashamed of, and should be celebrated by you and others just like any one else's! Wear your scar like a badge of honor cause dammit you earned it! You grew a freaking HUMAN and you're caring for that tiny human while you recover from a very MAJOR very INVASIVE surgery. You're a superhero.
So, now that I'm off my soapbox, here are the things that helped me with my recovery the second time around in a major way.
1. Post-Partum Support Belt
This was a huge one for me, I had no idea these were a thing after my first c-section and I can tell you it made a world of difference. After the procedure your abdominal muscles are not only recovering from being cut and sewn back together, they're also trying to snap back to normal after many months of stretching and loosening up to make room for your little bundle. The support belt helps you "hold it all in" and gives those muscles some much needed support as they heal. I wore mine for 6+ weeks after delivery!
2. Supportive Panties
Just like the support belt above, these help provide that extra support your belly needs as it heals. These were great because they were comfortable to wear to bed, and I continued to wear them as they helped camouflage my postpartum-pooch for several months until things began to tighten back up. I wore these for 4+ months postpartum!
3. Arnica Supplements
Arnica is an herbal supplement made from flowers that is known to help reduce swelling, inflammation, pain & soreness. You will have all of those things most-op! I liked taking arnica as opposed to the opiate pain medication or Motrin. BUT - the first couple days take the pain killers if you need them! If you're in extreme pain that is preventing you from getting restful sleep, take the pain killers! You do most of your healing while you sleep, so make sure you're getting lots of it. I took the prescription pain meds for 3 days after leaving the hospital, and then arnica plus Motrin before bed did the trick from there.
4. FIBER! Metamucil
Let's talk poop ladies. It's likely that your nurses won't let you leave the hospital until you go pee on your own after catheter removal, but you probably won't be pooping until you get home. Trust me, you DO NOT want this poop to be a hard one. The pain killers WILL harden your stools. I learned this the hard way the first time around, let me tell you there were a lot of tears involved. You DO NOT want to be pushing and flexing those abdominals after surgery, and if your stools are not soft you will be doing just that. So make sure you are drinking fiber supplements, LOTS LOTS LOTS of WATER, and maybe even a stool softener once a day to get things moving.
5. Vitamin E - Oral Supplements & Topical Oil
Vitamin E is super helpful when it comes to helping your skin repair and reducing scaring. I take one orally each day and also apply it topically to my scar each night.
Continue to take your prenatals after delivery, please!! They will help you heal with all the wonderful vitamins packed in them! If you are nursing you NEED those extra vitamins, your body is taking a lot from you to produce milk for baby. You seriously need the additional nutrients.
7. Get Help
Please, make sure your partner or someone can be at home with you to help you care for the baby and yourself for the first two weeks. You just had a really major surgery. It will probably be hard to ask, but do! I was too proud to ask for my husbands help after my first delivery, and the day after we got home from the hospital I fainted in the shower. I am serious - don't push it. You do not need to be super woman, you need to be a healthy mama for you baby.
8. REST REST REST REST
You can't heal if you're constantly up and about and not getting proper rest. Put your feet up, lay on the couch, and binge watch netflix. Baby will be sleeping almost all day. You should be too. Any chores or obligations can wait. Don't feel obligated to let visitors over right away. You need your rest. I repeat, YOU NEED YOUR REST.
9. Nursing Pillow
These are super helpful whether you are nursing or not! They can help you support baby while still keeping them in your arms and help lessen the strain on your muscles.
10. More rest!
Yep I sound like a broken record. But I am serious, the #1 thing you can do for yourself to make your healing process easy is to get ALL the rest you possibly can.
I hope this post helps a new mama out there in some way!
Please comment if you know of any other great c-section recovery tips! I'd love to add them to the list!
Photos of my C-Section with Cashy below --- Warning! If you're queasy, you may not want to look!
Keep it crazy, make it beautiful.
xx - Gigi