Both of my babies have been born by caesarean sections. Mini was classed as an emergency section, where as Baby Mack was a planned, gentle caesarean. Recovery after caesarean section can be challenging, however there are some things that you can do to try to make it a little more comfortable.
I’ve brought together my tips from my experiences to help your recovery after caesarean. Some tips are things that you can do yourself where as others involve the support of those around you. Hopefully these ideas will help make the recovery a little more comfortable and make sure that you really get to enjoy those precious moments with your brand new baby.
Think ahead about food for when you are home. You probably won’t want to be up and cooking during the initial recovery after caesarean, so plan ahead to ensure you are well stocked up. Some people like to use the end of their pregnancy to batch cook meals to freeze. I didn’t feel like cooking in those last few weeks however, I did fill the freezer with quick and easy things for us to eat from the supermarket. I picked up some family pasta bakes, ready to cook stir fry meals and a few pizzas too.
Invest in some super huge, super comfy pants for the recovery period. It’s best not to have anything tight pressing on your scar or dressing area whilst you are healing. I bought some really soft, stretchy ones from Primark. They came right high above my scar and made me feel so much more comfortable.
Go on a tour of the maternity unit whilst you are pregnant. Whether you are having a planned section or end up having an emergency one, you will know what the environment looks like. This helped me to feel more prepared as I knew what the ward was going to be like for after the operation. Recovery after caesarean differs for everyone, it’s a good idea to check out the normal length stay for the hospital you are giving birth. This will help you pack the right amount of things in your hospital bag. As I knew I was going to be staying overnight in a multi-bed ward, I made sure that I packed an eye mask and some ear plugs to help me sleep (don’t worry I still heard Baby Mack).
Take the painkillers that you’re given during the recovery period to help you feel as comfortable as possible. This time round though I was careful to check what I was being given. After having Mini I was given co-codamol. It was great for pain relief but gave me some rather uncomfortable side effects to deal with too! As and when you feel able to, slowly reduce the amount that you take to help your body adjust rather than just stopping all pain relief.
Don’t underestimate what you use your stomach muscles for. I had a stinking cold at the time Baby Mack was born. I quickly learnt how painful it was to sneeze, cough or blow my nose after the operation. The best bit of advice someone gave me was to hold my scar area with one hand at the same time, this definitely made it more comfortable.
Try to strike a good balance between resting and moving. Yes you need plenty of rest, but gentle walking is also good to help with recovery after caesarean. I started by pottering about the house, this was plenty enough exercise for the first few days. When you do go out for the first time, take it slow and easy. Also try to go with someone so that you don’t have to carry baby if they are in a car seat. I did find it useful to push the pushchair as it gave me something to support myself on too. One of our first outings was to a coffee shop. It was lovely to put a bit of make up on and leave the house. I also knew it was a very short walk from the car to the café, which was just enough for me.
Think about how you will be best able to get comfortable in bed to sleep. I didn’t feel able to sleep in any position that put pressure on my stomach. I started sleeping on my back with 5 cushions propping me up. As I slowly recovered, I was able to reduce the number of pillows I needed. When I was ready to sleep on my side, I then used a pillow under my tummy for additional support for a few nights. Investing in a feeding pillow is also a good idea so that you won’t have to lean down as far to feed baby and they will be nicely supported too.
Limit the number of guests. I know there will be plenty of family and friends wanting to congratulate you and meet the new arrival. However, it can be tiring having lots of guests so think about how you might manage this. I put Mr Mack in charge of co-ordinating our guests and we chose to agree to no more than two sets of visitors per day in the early days. If you are a guest visiting someone with a new baby, take them something lovely to eat, even if it’s just a pack of biscuits. They will also appreciate it if you offer to pop the kettle on for them too.
I hope that my tips will be useful whether you are due to have a caesarean section yourself or are due to support a mother going through this. Either way best of luck for the safe arrival of lots of beautiful babies.
Here’s a few more ideas . . .
I also asked some of my lovely blogger friends to share their tips for recovery after caesarean too.
Fern from Mum Conventional – My friend made me some meals for after I gave birth via emergency caesarean, and those were a life saver as I am usually the chef of the house. Having those to just throw in the microwave made the world of difference for me, even for the first week. I would definitely recommend batch cooking some meals to freeze before you have the baby if you can!
Rebecca from Becca Blogs It Out – Accept that you’re probably not going to bounce back straight away. You’ll recover more quickly and with less discomfort if you don’t push yourself past your limits!
Sinead from SineadLatham.com – Take the pain medication you are prescribed. Don’t underestimate the recovery time your body has gone through surgery and you also have a small human to support too.
Nellie from Nellie Pom Poms – Visitors – make yourselves useful
When you’re making breakfast (or someone else is) make a sandwich for lunch
Have nappies, wipes and change of clothes dotted around
Don’t run before you can walk
Plenty of nice baths with lavender, marigold cream good for scarring
Make a hot drink in a thermos cup so you can have a hot drink when you want it
If you’ve got a keysafe people can let themselves in
If you’re offered help take it
Katy from KatyKicker – Ask the pharmacist at your local chemist for the extra strength ibuprofen and paracetamol. They are a little more expensive than the ones on the shelf but double the strength and very helpful!
Gemma from Mummys Waisted – I took high strength Arnica (homeopathic medicine) as many others swear by it, not sure if it made a different but my recovery was very quick.