Even on the web there are lots of tips and advice available — and for good reason. C-Section recovery is painful, long and exhausting. It can also rob you of quality bonding with your baby if you let it.
One of the biggest problems with recovering from a C-Section is that moms often miss out on important recovery advice. Not because they haven’t heard it before but because they don’t take it seriously. They rush their recoveries and take liberties that often result in complications, infections and more pain than is necessary.
Don’t make that mistake.
Be serious about your C-Section recovery and take the advice thousands of moms and doctors recommend for a speedier, more enjoyable recovery that’s not miserable.
Smart C-Section Recovery Advice For Better, Faster Healing
1. DON’T Do Too Much Too Soon
New C-Section moms often base their recovery on how much pain they have.
For example, less pain means doing more.
Doing too much too soon can complicate your pain, create fatigue, depression, cause incision issues such as infection, internal bleeding, hernia, or more. Just because you may feel pretty good one day doesn’t mean you’ve recovered or will even feel better the next day.
In those first few days after surgery less pain isn’t the green light to do housework, lifting, errands or busy chores. Doing more than you should too soon can actually prolong your recovery and make you feel worse.
Resist the temptation to resume your normal activity within the first ten days or so. It’ will mean a smoother, faster recovery in the long run.
2. DON’T Get Behind the Pain Curve
I know you’ve heard this a thousand times before but the fact is that once you get behind the pain curve the longer it takes to get relief. That can kill your day.
This is equally as important during those first few hours following surgery. Any pain that you feel getting worse, call your nurse immediately.
When you arrive home take your pain medication as directed for the first 3-5 days or so. Even if you’re feeling better continue to take it.
Pain is interesting, you can feel really good one day but be in pain the next. Once your pain catches up with you it’s hard to finally get relief again.
Of course listen to your body. If it hurts don’t do it. You’re still recovering from major surgery so things like napping, resting and taking it slow are in order for at least the first week to ten days. It will be difficult at first but it makes a huge difference to your overall recovery.
3. Walk Soon and Walk Often.
You won’t have much choice on this one. Your nurse will have you up and walking within 12 hours of your C-Section.
Walking for the first time after surgery isn’t pleasant sorry to say, but it’s so important for avoiding blood clots, pneumonia and gas build up. Walking also promotes oxygen flow throughout your body which is one of the things that makes you feel better and restores your energy.
The hardest part of walking will be your first time out. But trust me; it gets easier with each walk you take.
Once you get home don’t find a comfy spot on the couch and camp out there. Instead continue walking as often as you can. Walk slowly but consistently.
Tip: While you’re in the hospital request your pain medication just before walking. Additionally any time you’re given a new dose of medication, that’s a good time to take a walk.
4. Wear an Abdominal Binder – They’re Truly Wonderful!
Wearing an abdominal binder relieves abdominal pain. It works by supporting your abdominal muscles and your incision so you can walk and move with a lot less pain for longer periods of time.
There’s just one problem though.
Most abdominal binders themselves aren’t very comfortable. Some are made with rigid, stiff materials that might relieve your abdominal pain but cause discomfort in other ways such as rubbing or digging around the edges of the binder. Many will also irritate your incision.
I suggest wearing an abdominal binder designed specifically for C-Section moms. This type of abdominal binder is soft and smooth yet firm enough to allow movement without agitation almost immediately after your C-Section. And it won’t ride up or irritate your incision.
Designed for C-Sections means it targets the specific needs of a C-Section mom, not just the needs of someone having abdominal surgery.
5. Take Advantage or Your Time in the Hospital
When I had my first C-Section I couldn’t wait to get out and go home. That’s a common feeling. But boy did I regret it when I got hone.
Yes, hospitals are far from the comforts of home. They’re noisy, uncomfortable and the food isn’t great but they do help you with walking, breastfeeding, and with pain. Most women don’t get that at home. It’s normal to want to go home and begin your new life with baby, but the reality is being home often means less rest, less help and more distractions.
When I had my next C-Section I knew better. I took full advantage of my time in the hospital. I also planned for childcare, meals and housework. I can’t tell you how much easier that made my homecoming.
This is your baby’s most precious birth. It only comes once; take full advantage of any help you can get, that includes staying in the hospital an extra day or two if you can.
6. Be Fanatical about Caring For Your Incision
Don’t take your incision for granted. Tearing, breaking open or infection of your incision just prolongs your recovery, not to mention; it hurts!
Remember, you have an external skin incision and an internal incision on your uterus, so extensive reaching, heavy lifting or pulling must be avoided.
Be sure to clean your external incision every day by following the guidelines your doctor gave you for incision care at home.
If you have numbness or lumps around the incision don’t worry, these things are fairly normal unless your incision has signs of infection. If you do become concerned about your incision don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office. If you’re worried about disturbing your doctor, sometimes the office nurse can assist you, so never hesitate to call.
7. Relieve Painful Gas
Gas pains are common after a C-Section. Abdominal surgery causes your bowels to become sluggish causing gas pain that can even extend up into your shoulder area which is also a common complaint after surgery.
Anti gas medication combined with walking helps. In fact walking is super important for getting your bowels working again which is what helps fight gas pain.
If you have been given morphine for pain, it has a tendency to constipate which can also cause gas. Moving off of Morphine and on to another pain reliever will help.
Avoid carbonated beverages and foods known to cause gas. Also don’t drink through a straw, this allows you to take in more air.
For your first few meals after surgery, avoid heavy solid foods introducing solids gradually.
You can also try these home remedies for gas relief.
8. Urinate Frequently
Having a urinary catheter can sometimes cause painful urination once it’s removed. To help relieve any discomfort keep drinking fluids and urinate as often as possible after your catheter is removed.
Drinking and urinating often will also help avoid getting a urinary tract infection.
9. Get Dressed Every Day
Pajamas are comfy to lounge in but don’t wear them all day. Get dressed. It goes a long way to help your attitude and energy.
Wear loose fitting clothing and don’t feel depressed about not fitting into your regular clothes or worrying about losing those extra pounds. Instead use these first few weeks at home to focus on recovery and bonding with baby.
10. Abdominal Self Massage Therapy
Abdominal surgery often causes abdominal adhesions which are fibers of tissue that form as your incision heals. For many women adhesions never cause any problems, however some adhesions can cause a variety of medical complications and pain.
Performing abdominal self massage therapy techniques soon after your C-section can help keep adhesions from becoming a problem. Self massage therapy breaks up the adhesion fibers keeping them from becoming painful or causing internal difficulties.
If you’ve had a C-Section in the past and suspect that you may have adhesions causing painful complications, consult with your doctor or a myofacial massage therapist specializing in massage therapy for abdominal adhesions.
Always follow the C-Section recovery advice of your doctor first, never rush your recovery and of course cherish this time with your baby. This is a time in your life and your baby’s life that comes only once. 🙂
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net