Whether you’ve had a planned cesarean birth or an unexpected one, recovery can sometimes be a little bit tougher than after a vaginal birth (while it is a birth, it is still surgery.) Back when I had my daughter, no one gave me a list of cesarean birth recovery tips, though I wish they had!
Here are a few of our favorite tips for a smoother recovery process after your cesarean birth.
*Rest as much as possible for the first two weeks- Consider hiring a Rocket City Doulas postpartum and infant care doula to help support your rest and recovery.
*Consider hanging out with your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible during that same time frame.
*Stay hydrated (this will help with postpartum bowel movements that may be more difficult due to pain medications, too.)
*Limit housework if possible- or hire out (if financially possible)
*Do not climb the stairs more than 2-3 times a day. (Going down equals once, up equals twice, etc.) If you have a multi-level house, consider setting up stations prenatally so that you can stay on one level once your baby arrives.
*Try not to lift anything heavier than your baby (which, I know, I know. If you have a toddler, this is kind of laughable. But, if you have anyone who can come and be the toddler-lifter, try to delegate that out if possible for the first few days.)
*If coughing or sneezing (or laughing) is difficult, hold a pillow across your incision with some slight pressure.
*Consider a bed-height bassinet like this– bending down into a crib/cradle with a fresh incision can be difficult and uncomfortable. (This was a huge one for me, personally, the first night home with our eldest.)
*Pre-pack a rolling cart full of baby supplies like diapers, wipes, and pump parts (if pumping/breastfeeding) so you can move it from room to room.
*Set up a snack and water station on your nightstand for those late-night feeding snack attacks. If you’re planning to breastfeed, the hunger and thirst hit like no one’s business, and you don’t even know it’s coming until you’re tethered to a newborn. It’s so nice to have it already set up so it’s within arm’s reach when that crazy hunger and thirst inevitably come.
*Consider sleeping propped up or on a wedge- sleeping completely flat and then getting up from a flat position is, well, sort of difficult those first few days. If your c/s is planned, this may be an idea to think through before coming home.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, nor should you follow any of our advice that goes against anything your provider says!
If you had a cesarean, what tips for cesarean birth recovery would you add?