Post C-Section Recovery Guide
By Cindy Puppos | January 14, 2019
Whether planned or not, about one third of moms in the United States have their babies delivered by cesarean section (C-section). Is your new bundle one of them? Congratulations mama!
We’ve put together this Post C-Section Recovery Guide just for you. Why? You’ve undergone MAJOR surgery to bring your child into the world, and now it’s time to focus on your recovery.
Easier said than done, we know, but the 1 Natural Way team would like to walk you through what to expect once you head home from the hospital.
You’ll need more time to recover after a C-section than you would after a vaginal delivery. You can expect to spend 3 - 4 days in the hospital before you and your baby head home. And, it may take up to 4 - 6 weeks at home before you’ll feel back to normal. Your new normal. Nothing is the same with a new baby in the house! Some women recover faster, some slower - so don’t feel the need to compare yourself to others.
Once home with baby, you’ll feel the urge to do a million things - laundry, cooking, cleaning, being attentive to older siblings, running errands, etc. STOP! Do not overwork your body when it has been through a major surgery. Your body is recovering. Pushing your mental and physical abilities can set you back even further. Accept help from your partner, family and friends.
Movement will be limited in the short term. Avoid going up and down stairs, bending, stretching and lifting items heavier than your newborn.
Keeping everything you need (diapers, wipes, burp clothes, onesies, water bottle, snacks for mama, and your breast pump) close to you is key! You won’t have to get up and move as much.
Breastfeeding can be trying no matter how you brought your little one into the world. It becomes even harder when your movement is limited and painful because of a C-section incision. Breastfeeding positions that work well with a cesarean section incision are the football hold and the side-lying hold. Nursing pillows help with these positions and take the strain/weight off your incision.
Luckily, with the help of 1 Natural Way, we can make sure you have your breast pump and accessories setup and ready to go as soon as you come home with baby! Check out our guide to selecting a breast pump, and be sure to contact us to start the qualification process so you can get your breast pump at no cost through your insurance. 1 Natural Way can also work with your insurance company to help replenish your breastfeeding supplies monthly, with our Resupply Program. One less thing to worry about while recovering and focusing on baby!
Good nutrition is a MUST after a cesarean section. It is essential for your physical recovery, energy level and mental wellbeing. It is also important if you are breastfeeding, since you will be the sole provider of nutrients for your baby.
Your digestive system will be sensitive after giving birth, so consume meals that are easy to digest. Junk and fried/greasy food, carbonated or caffeinated beverages, and items with excessive iron may cause painful constipation.
Consume foods full of protein, minerals, calcium, whole grains, fiber and iron (not excessive!), as well as low-fat dairy products, vegetables and fruits. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and energized and to minimize constipation. Have your doctor recommend a stool softener if needed.
PAIN MANAGEMENT AND COMFORT
If your doctor prescribes painkillers, take them as directed. If not, and you are seeking an over-the-counter alternative, your doctor can best lead you to breastfeeding-safe options.
Heating pads or warm washcloths can also relieve discomfort at the incision site and help with overall belly pain. Keep in mind, when sneezing, coughing or laughing, hold your abdomen to protect the incision site and reduce any pain.
While your incision site may be tender to the touch, dealing with pressure and irritation from underwear and pants may be a problem. You may consider a postpartum recovery garment, which optimizes recovery with comfortable compression on the abdomen, back and thighs. Many insurance companies will cover one or two garments. If you are interested in finding out if your insurance company will cover this item for you, please give our customer care team a call at (888) 977-2229.
Here is what you can expect as your post-cesarean body heals:
- Vaginal Discharge - Bleeding is normal after a C-section and is heaviest after your baby is delivered. After 10 days, it should become lighter in flow and frequency. Heavy vaginal discharge or bad-smelling discharge beyond two weeks should be discussed with your doctor.
- Contractions - These after pains occur during the first few days after the C-section and mimic menstrual cramps. You may notice these pains while breastfeeding as well.
- Firm Breasts - As your breasts replace colostrum with milk, they will become full, firm and tender. Breasts that are engorged and painful to the touch must be addressed, as it may affect the health of mom and baby.
- Weight - Your stomach and abdomen will still be extended after your C-section. Of course, every woman is different. As you recover at home, your body will drop the weight from excessive fluids.
- Incision - Your incision site will be sore, red and you may have some bleeding or discharge for up to 6 weeks.
1 Natural Way offers a complete array of products and services to make moms more comfortable and confident throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey. We provide mothers with name brand breast pumps, monthly breastfeeding supplies, maternity compression stockings and postpartum recovery garments, as well as expert and compassionate advice and top-notch customer service. Click here to start the qualification process and find out if you qualify for a breast pump at no cost to you.
About the Author
Cindy Puppos is 1 Natural Way's Customer Service Supervisor, so she has a good idea of all the different and wonderful questions that moms have for her team. Thankfully, as the mother of two boys (who are now grown!) and a veteran of the company and breastfeeding, Cindy is always knowledgeable about breastfeeding, pumping and all the latest and greatest pumps!