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How To Get Out of Bed After A C-Section, According To An Expert

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I am an old pro at abdominal surgery. I know all the aches, pains, and shooting fire sensations that accompany even the smallest of tasks after being cut open. While the 4-inch (or so) incision that accompanies a C-section might not seem like that big of a hurdle, it can be more painful than you're prepared for, and requires some serious strategic maneuvering. Even simple ambulation can be problematic. Take for instance, how to get out of bed after a C-section. It's an elementary task which suddenly seems insurmountable given the pain of recovery.

I'm not going to lie — it's hard to want to get up and move around after having major abdominal surgery. However, there are strategies that you can employ that will help. The biggest factor in the first stages of postoperative ambulation is the speed in which you try to move. Take it slow. You don't want to get light headed and you don't want to overtax yourself or pop stitches. For the first few days, you'll require a lot of support, and it helps immensely if you have someone there to help you get in and out of bed, and around your home or hospital. It should also be done in stages so that you can tackle just a bit at a time.

It's a process, and you'll have to treat it that way.

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With all that in mind, it's time to move. Mom and nurse Heather Doyle tells Romper that the way she gets up after a C-section, and how she advises her patients to sit up after surgery, is to lie on your side facing the edge of the bed you're planning on getting up from. "Put your head on your elbow, and slowly bring your knees up so that the front of your legs is parallel with the edge of your bed." Then, Doyle says you should slowly swing your lower legs over the edge of the bed while pushing up on your elbow and sitting up slowly. Once that happens, "let your feet touch the floor and rest there temporarily." Doyle says that it's good to get yourself situated before you try to stand.

Which means that before you even start to roll out of bed, the first thing you should do is try to psych yourself up. I'm serious. Give yourself a pep-talk. Think Friday Night Lights. And then after you've pumped yourself up and are feeling ready, start to move slowly. You're not Elon Musk trying to launch himself into outer space in a gold-plated Tesla. You're better. You just made human life inside your body from food and sheer force of will. If it takes you a bit of time to pull yourself out of bed and get to the toilet, so what?

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You're going to want to stand up how you imagine a very fragile person would do it. Sort of stooped over, and holding onto the side of the bed. You might have to hold a hand over the incision for support or wear some type of compression garment, too. Several of the moms I spoke to about C-sections and how they got out of bed afterwards mentioned the power of control-top panties or other compression garments like yoga pants, camisoles with Spanx-like fabric involved, or just really tight fitting shirts. The pressure feels good on the incision site and makes it feel less like your organs are going to bounce right out of you again. That kind of confidence might have you feeling even more prepared to move.

Again, do all of this very slowly, and move very slowly. It sounds counterproductive, but it's really important to move. "You run a risk of forming blood clots postoperatively. That's why we bug you to move so soon after your C-section," notes Doyle. Plus that Netflix remote isn't going to fly into your hand.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.