My Top 10 C-section Tips for a Safe and Speedy Recovery
Did you know that April is Caesarean Section Awareness Month? As a newborn and family photographer, I hear a lot of birth stories. From water births to home births and of course C-sections (elective or emergency) there are many ways our babies can enter this world! As a C-section mama to three beautiful babies, C-section Awareness Month is something very close to my heart. To help raise awareness of caesarean births and the postpartum recovery, I wanted to share my own birth stories and some super helpful recovery tips I received from other C-section mamas!
My C-section Stories
I've had three C-sections. The first was an emergency C-section after my labour did not progress for two days. It turned out that my little Arabella had the cord around her neck and was becoming distressed. Although the birth resulted in an emergency C-section (not what I had planned), the experience
wasn’t too traumatic. I was pretty out of it though after being awake for 48 hours, pumped full of drugs!
I decided to opt for an elective C-section with my son, Iggy. I didn’t want to experience another emergency caesarean and whilst a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) can be successful, having had a C-section already, I felt more confident repeating a similar birth journey. I will admit it was an extra
bonus that I was able to organise childcare for Arabella! Valentina, my third child was automatically a C-section, as is recommended after having two previous sections.
When I had my first C-section with Arabella, a few of my friends sent me over some of their amazing recovery tips. From handy tips to make life easier or simple ideas to help you navigate those early post C-section days, these are lifestyle, health and wellness pointers designed to give you a bit of an extra helping hand. Here are 10 C-section recovery tips which helped me enormously.
My Top 10 C-section Survival Tips
1. Always Seek Professional Medical Advice
Whether you’re looking to prepare for a C section or looking for ways to aid your post-surgery recovery, my top tip for any concerns is to *always* seek proper professional medical guidance. The NHS have a really handy section on C-section recovery but if you have any worries, concerns or niggles after your C-section, please contact a medical professional for advice.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Pack loose fitting clothing to wear when you leave the hospital. I had maternity leggings over the scar, a big baggy dress top and sliders (shoes you can slip on and off without bending). Packing massive Bridget Jones style knickers is a top tip too! (The bigger the better to go over your scar!). If you already know you’re going to have a C-section and are looking for some postpartum pants, places like John Lewis or Babygo have some C-section kickers that are designed perfectly to support Mamas post birth.
3. Insist on a Wheelchair When Leaving the Maternity Ward
Don’t make yourself walk too far, too quickly. Leaving the hospital can not only be a *tad* emotional (Hello pesky post-partum hormones!) but depending on where your Labour Ward is in relation to the car park, it could be a bit of a trek. Save yourself any unnecessary stress (and shuffling) and let your other half push you whilst you proudly hold your baby!
4. Don’t Let Pain Be a Pain
Yes, you’re discharged from hospital but keeping on top of your pain relief is important. There is no need for you to be in pain on top of getting to grips with being a new parent. Your doctor may prescribe you pain medication, and it is important you follow the advice given. If your pain continues or the medication doesn’t seem to be working, always get in touch with your healthcare professional for advice.
5. Let Someone Else Change Nappies! (And Do the Burping)
Remember you’re in recovery and your body needs time to rest. Where you can, take full advantage of your partner being home with you and let them do the lion’s share of the nappy changing and burping! When it comes to changing nappies yourself, I totally recommend getting a waist high changing
table, so you don’t have to bend over!
6. Ask Your Partner to Pass You Your Baby for Night Feeds
Avoiding extra lifting, especially when you’re tired, really helps. If your partner can pass you your baby at night for feeds, you’ll feel the benefit. Also get a sleeping arrangement that means you don’t have to bend over. I slept propped up on pillows for the first few nights because I didn’t feel like I could lie flat. Sitting up also stopped me feeling uncomfortable or using sore abdominal muscles to sit up for feeds.
7. Pop a Maternity Pad Over Your Scar After Showers
Not only does this help you dry, but it’s also nice having one pressed against your scar (the extra pressure helps the scar feels less exposed). It adds extra protection from itchy fabric and means you can change it frequently to keep the scar nice and clean.
8. Walk *Very* Slowly & Sleep as Much as You Can
Now is not the time for speed. Whilst you may be eager to get back to your normal self the trick is to not overdo it. Taking a gentle walk is great to get your circulation moving plus getting some fresh air is a super boost for your mental health. Sleep is also incredibly important to aid your recovery. Rest and recuperation are essential. So, sleep when baby sleeps. I promise you won’t regret it!
9. Nurture Your Nutrition
It won’t surprise you that eating a healthy diet is important for your recovery. Drinking lots of water, eating fibre rich food, fruit and veggies are essential to ward off constipation. There are lots of helpful resources online too. Ensure you’re eating a good balanced diet as well as incorporating C-section healing foods. My friends swore by turmeric tea and tablets to help healing (studies show turmeric is great for reducing inflammation and contains lots of antibacterial and antiviral properties) as well as adding lots of health boosting beetroot into their diet.
10. Take Your Time to Heal
My final tip is to remember there is no pressure to heal by a specific date and ignore anyone who says otherwise! Everyone’s experience with surgery is different and your main priority is to look after yourself and your new arrival!
I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did! Recovering from major abdominal surgery as well as having a newborn to care for can be difficult. Whilst time is always the greatest healer, thanks to new help and support, C- section Mamas can begin to recover faster and more comfortably. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to spend less time sore and more time enjoying those oh-so dreamy newborn days!
Love Jess xx
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