Childbirth is wonderful, exciting and important for every pregnant woman. Most women get ready for this moment during pregnancy by doing Lamaze exercises, reading a lot about the subject or talking about it with their ob-gyn doctors. However, as important as the birth itself is the recovery period that follows. Every mother wishes to recover as soon as possible, mainly because she needs strength to take good care of the little miracle she gave birth to. Thus, being informed about postpartum recovery is essential for every new mother, especially if she had a cesarean delivery (C-section) – in this situation the time to physically recover is considerably longer than after a routine vaginal delivery.
A C-section is considered major surgery. You will probably have to stay in the hospital for four or five days after your delivery, longer if there happen to be complications, and you will need up to six weeks to fully recover. Of course, nurses and doctors will take care of you while hospitalized, but you will have to know how to properly take care of yourself after you get home.
Try to rest as much as possible during the first weeks after your C-section
As much as you’d like to be active and get back to your daily routine, you should be really careful to not overburden yourself right after your C-section delivery. Your body needs time to heal itself and the best way to help it heal is to understand your limitations as a new mother and the kind of care that might be necessary for a healthy recovery.
First of all, try to get as much rest as possible. You can start doing this by fitting your resting hours with those of your baby. Newborn babies usually sleep up to 18 hours a day in the first week and 12 to 16 hours by the time they’re a month old. So, you’ll have plenty of time to rest if you can stick to your infant’s schedule.
Other than this, don’t be ashamed or reluctant to ask your husband, mother or other close relative to help you out when you feel tired or overwhelmed. This is a good option for your mental health, too, as many women find it hard to accommodate to their new role, that of a mother. A good rest gives your body the ability to regenerate faster and offers you the necessary strength you need in order to care for your newborn baby.
Support your abdomen
Doctors recommend wearing a belly wrap (postnatal recovery belt or abdominal binder) after your C-section delivery. This is an elastic belt that is placed around your stomach to provide support for the abdominal muscles and to help your uterus shrink. Abdominal binders also improve blood circulation to the C-section area, so they also help the incision heal faster. Postnatal recovery belts are also great to keep in place your bandages, if needed.
There are a few different types of abdominal binders, so you should choose yours depending on your body structure and weight:
- Wrapper Band Girdle Belt – is easy to put on and you can make it as tight or loose as you are comfortable due to the velcro fastening means; it supports core abdominal muscles and helps you loose your pregnancy belly fat faster.
- Hip Compression Bandage – is easily attachable, hard to slip off and fixes your pelvis off after birth effectively; it can prevent heat and itch in all-seasons;
- Post Baby High Waist Postpartum Underwear – reduces swelling and slims post baby belly, supports abdominal muscles weakened from pregnancy and speeds recovery.
- Strapless Shapewear Backless Body Shaper Girdle – works miracles on your whole body because it smoothes the abdomen, tummy and waist, while lifting your butt, too; it can be comfortably worn underneath your clothes.
- Full Body Shaper – it is very comfortable, supports your muscles and helps you loose the fat on your belly, bottom and tighs and can be worn under clothes during the cold seasons.
No matter what kind of postnatal recovery belt you choose, by using one you will surely shorten your recovery time, strengthen your abdominal muscles and reshape your post-pregnancy body.
Care for your incision
Your C-section wound will probably be healed in six weeks after delivery. However, you should continue to take special care of your C-section incision a considerable period of time after that.
First of all, make sure you clean the incision at a regular basis, preferably daily. You can use soap on it, but be careful not to scrub it and try to rinse it off as well as possible. If there are any signs of infection, (the wound turns red, it starts oozing green or pus-colored liquid, or it becomes hard or painful), immediately call your doctor.
In time, the color of the incision will fade, but the C-section scar will still be visible. There are a variety of products you can use to make your scar look as faded as possible, from organic herbal balm and scar cream, gel or oil removal treatment to silicone gel scar treatment strips.
Likewise, you can always opt for a C-section recovery kit.
Most of scar removing treatments work very well in time. They actually reduce the redness and make your scar fade. Just make sure you use them constantly.
Useful tips for a fast C-section recovery
- Take it easy – don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for at least two weeks;
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat fibre-rich foods to help prevent constipation;
- Wear cotton underwear and preferably loose clothes;
- Relieve your pain – don’t be afraid to take pain medicine if needed, but only with your doctor`s approval;
- Ask your doctor when it is ok to start workout (usually after 6 weeks from delivery) and begin with low-impact exercises;
- Don’t compare yourself or your C-section to other women or to their surgeries. Every woman is different, so doing this this is definitely useless and consuming.
- Learn how to take care of your body and recover fast by reading a book on the subject – for ex. The Essential C-Section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back, and Everything Else You Need to Know About a Cesarean Birth.
Taking good care of your C-section is mandatory for a healthy post-pregnancy physical healing and it is not a very difficult thing to do. It may be a bit expensive, but it`s really worth every penny.
How did you take care of your C-section incision? What products did you use?