A Cesarean Section is major abdominal surgery, and recovery takes time. You’ll likely stay in the hospital 3-4 days, and it will take another 4-6 weeks to feel fully back to “normal”. While the weeks after a C-section definitely aren’t easy, it can go a lot smoother with the right supplies! Check out the list below for exactly what to get, and how to use it.
- Abdominal Binder (or Belly Wrap): After a C-Section, your midsection can feel a bit loosey-goosey. These stretchy wraps help support your incision, which can be hugely helpful when you are moving around after surgery. Your care team will encourage you to take short walks as soon as your anesthesia wears off. Wearing an abdominal binder while moving around gently compresses your abdomen, which may decrease tugging and pulling around your incision. Some moms report that binders decrease postoperative pain, and one study even showed they reduced postpartum blood loss! Many hospitals in the US provide these to C-Section patients, but they are also available for purchase online. You’ll get the most benefit from an abdominal binder the first week after your surgery.
- High Waisted Underwear: You’ll want to be sure that your underwear won’t rub against your incision. Typical low rise underwear that hits right at your bikini line could be irritating and just feel “weird” if you experience numbness around your incision site. Instead, opt for breathable, oversized high-waisted underwear that doesn’t aggravate your surgical wound. You can purchase disposable mesh underwear or reusable cotton high waisted underwear, depending on your preference and the heaviness of your bleeding.
- Over the counter pain medication: Once your pain becomes milder, your provider will likely recommend switching from prescribed narcotics (if you’ve been taking them) to over the counter pain medication. Both acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) are safe for breastfeeding and can really help manage any residual soreness or swelling. Using one or both of these medications around the clock for a few days (as advised by your healthcare provider) can really make moving around at home a lot more bearable.
- Ice packs: These aren’t just for vaginal deliveries! Some women experience burning around their incision. An ice pack provides cooling relief. Peas from the freezer also work just fine for this purpose! Be sure to have a layer of clothing between your bare incision and whatever cold pack you’re using.
- Stool softener: Surgery temporarily slows down your digestion. Add the constipating side effects of narcotic pain medication, and that first poop after baby can be a challenge. Your first bowel movement after surgery will often be after you leave the hospital (though some mamas do have one before discharge). Stool softeners may be given to you in the hospital, and they are available over the counter. They will make that first bowel movement after delivery easier, and prevent straining that could irritate your incision.
Be sure to listen to your health care provider’s guidance about your activity so you aren’t putting too much strain on your incision. Follow their instructions about recommended medications or other therapies, and be sure to follow up as scheduled for your incision check at 1-2 weeks. You got this, mama!
Still pregnant and looking for a prenatal class? If you know you’re having a C-Section, we can customize a class to your birth plan! Please contact your local Mama Coach for more information.