No matter which way you go about it, giving birth to a baby is an intense physical ordeal. The changes that your body gradually went through over nine plus months seem to reverse themselves in a matter of days after birth— you'll deal with bleeding, cramping, hot and cold flashes, and a ton of other symptoms. Having a C-section, however, adds another layer of issues to deal with. As someone who went through it myself, I can attest to the fact that it's tough AF. But luckily there are plenty of hacks to make your C-section recovery easier.
My C-section wasn't planned. I labored for about 12 hours before my doctor made the call that a C-section would be needed. At the time, I was exhausted and grateful. In the aftermath though, I became upset and felt disappointed that my birth wasn't anything like I pictured it would be. I think if I had ever stopped beforehand to consider the possibility that I would end up needing a C-section, it might have helped me cope. So the best advice I could give a pregnant mom now would be to be truly open-minded about what your birth experience might be. And because you could very well end up needing a C-section like I did, it might help you to plan ahead and think about what you need for your recovery.
Here are 11 tips to make it a little easier.
1. Get Moving As Soon As You Can
According to The Bump, it's important to get yourself up and walking within a day of your C-section. It might be tough at first, but it'll ultimately help your recovery. Don't feel like you need to push yourself too hard if you don't feel ready yet though, because you did just go through quite an ordeal.
2. Roll Out Of Bed
The recovery from a C-section can be so intense that you even have to rethink the way you get out of bed (or up off the couch). She Knows recommended rolling onto your side and then pushing yourself up with your arms to avoid straining your midsection.
3. Avoid The Stairs
Going up and down stairs after a C-section is going to be difficult, and Parents recommended avoiding it as much as you can. Camp out on the lower level of your house if you need to, or at least try to limit the number of times you go up and down.
4. Eat Healthy
Eating nutritious foods and drinking lots of of water will help you bounce back after a C-section, according to Health Line. Besides being good for you, getting enough calories and water can also help your breastmilk supply.
5. Get Ready For Gas
Gas pains after a C-section are a common complaint, according to Fit Pregnancy. You might be able to minimize them with a special pre-surgery diet, or alleviate them with simethicone pills.
6. Stock Up On Stool Softener
You can't avoid pain meds when you're about to undergo major surgery like a C-section. Unfortunately, one side effect of pain medication might be constipation according to Baby Center. The nurses at my hospital and several C-section moms I knew urged me to have a bottle of stool softener on standby, and I was glad I did.
7. Prepare For Blood
Having a C-section doesn't mean you'll miss out on post-birth bleeding, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It's just as heavy as having a vaginal birth, so be sure to stock up on pads or disposable underwear.
8. Adjust Your Wardrobe
You may want to invest in new underwear for after a C-section, according to Baby Center. You'll want to wear looser fitting panties that don't rub against your incision. And if you're anything like me, you'll also want to forego pants altogether and just live in robes and nightgowns for a while.
9. Try Different Breastfeeding Positions
Breastfeeding after a C-section can be tough because your mid-section is still hurting and the traditional cradle hold may put too much pressure on your abdomen. According to Baby Center, it might help to try other breastfeeding positions like side-lying or the football hold. If your hospital has a lactation consultant on call, don't hesitate to ask them for help.
10. Support Yourself Physically
Sudden movements are going to be a bit unpleasant when you're healing from a C-section— my first giggle fit after birth quickly ended in tears. The Mayo Clinic suggested holding your abs when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.
11. Support Yourself Emotionally
Whether your C-section was planned or a total surprise, you may find yourself dealing with judgment from people who think you "had it easy." Or if you were hoping for a vaginal birth, you might be disappointed that it didn't work out and blame yourself. I still struggle with both of those issues a bit, but time has made it a little easier. Nothing about a C-section is easy, but if the's best option for you and your baby you should never feel ashamed.