I am 7 weeks out from my c-section and feeling really good! For those of you who have had c-sections before, you know they are no small matter to recover from. The first, for me, was the worst. But with my second and third, both my pain and mobility was more manageable.
If you have never had a c-section, it’s hard to know how your body will recover. Some people have it better than others – luck of the draw, genes, body type, labor, doctor, other conditions – it all plays a part. Either way – it is important to remember that it is a major, major surgery and not following doctor’s orders and not taking care of yourself properly after your cesarean can lead to really bad things for your body.
If you are about to recover for your first (second, or third!) cesarean birth – here is my take:
- Truly follow your doctor’s orders. Likely they will require not lifting anything heavier than your baby for at least 6 weeks following delivery. They might also recommend never lifting objects (including things as light as your baby) from the ground, avoiding sudden physical movements or positions that could cause straining. Sex is also off the table. This all applies to the first six weeks post-surgery, normally.
- Listen to your body – beyond just the doctor’s orders. Try to relax, allow yourself to heal. Don’t push yourself to get all your laundry done, walk up and down flights of stairs doing chores, or push yourself to get back into any sort of “shape” right away. If people are offering to make you dinner or help take care of the house or baby, take all the help you can get.
- Get out! If your doctor allows it (some highly recommend it) – get out for some light walks. Keep your body moving throughout the day, but don’t push it. It is important to keep blood flowing – and will overall help with your recovery.
- Take care of your incision from day one! Talk to your doctor about this prior and heed their advice above all else. However, I found out the hard way that I scar badly – something I wouldn’t have known before. So, after my first baby I talked to two dermatologists and a plastic surgeon about how to prevent a keloid scar for my next baby. Here is what they all recommended – as soon as you get the go ahead from your OBGYN at the two week check-up, apply scar strips and basically never take them off! Wear them as much as you can, washing and checking on the scar every couple of days. If you notice you are starting to develop a keloid scar – visit a dermatologist ASAP to talk about a small amount of steroid injections you can get into the scar to prevent it from continuing to grow. I wear my scar strips 24/7 and take them off only twice a week to check on my incision and wash the skin thoroughly.
- Have the right gear ready. Have a soft ice pack needed, and a comfortable chair/pillows ready at home. Wearing non-slip socks or slippers is also important at home. I am also a big fan of “recovery underwear” but that is a personal preference!
For more about having a cesarean, read my posts here: