The Do’s & Don’ts of C-Section Recovery
Are you awaiting the birth of your baby via c-section? Perhaps you just had a Cesarean and are wondering what you need to do to heal as well as possible. Here are some actionable c-section recovery tips to help you bounce back from your major abdominal surgery as quickly as possible, including what not to do after a c-section.
When recovering from a surgery like a C-section, it can feel easier to let things slide. However, you still need to care for your own body so your incision can heal.
- Clean your incision with unscented soap and warm water gently every time you shower
- Dry your incision by patting it with a towel rather than rubbing
- Check your incision at least once per day to make sure it isn’t getting worse or opening
- Call your doctor if you are even a little bit concerned: your body knows best
- Go for a short walk each day to help prevent blood clots
- Bind your abdomen or hold a pillow over it when you cough or laugh
- Drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet
- Take a fiber supplement every day or eat more fiber-rich foods to help avoid constipation
- Start using a scar heal kit on your incision once it has fully closed (if you are looking for minimal scarring)
Don’ts: What Not To Do After A C-Section
Knowing what to do is essential, but you’ll also need to know to avoid the following things. Keeping your body strong for your new baby is important, too.
- Lift anything heavier than your baby
- Use scented soaps on your incision
- Use douches, menstrual cups, or tampons
- Have intercourse for at least 6 weeks
- Take a bath or soak your incision
- Pull off any incision tape or glue
- Strain while having bowel movements
- Start a diet or restrict your eating in any way
- Take stairs more than absolutely necessary
Trying To Scar Minimally?
First and foremost, remember that you can choose how you view your scarring. Some women are genetically predisposed to more severe scarring than others. Your body is your own; if you want to minimize your scarring, go for it. However, keep in mind that scarring is natural and you shouldn’t feel obligated to minimize it for someone else’s sake. Do it for yourself!
There will be several c-section scar healing stages: the inflammatory stage, the proliferative stage, and the remodeling stage. If you want to reduce and lighten your scar, proper protection and moisturization during all three stages is critical.
Remember: You’re Healing From Major Surgery
Above all, don’t forget that a Cesarean is major abdominal surgery. New mothers are expected to do far more than someone else that may have undergone a similar surgery; even before your surgery is done and you’re stitched up, you now have a new full-time job. It’s not going to be rainbows and butterflies, but it’s going to be beautiful in its own way and you will find your rhythm in time.
Mental Health Dos & Don’ts
While all of these tips for your physical recovery are undoubtedly important, it’s just as important to make sure you’re taking care of your emotional & mental wellbeing during this time as well. So here’s a few reminders you might need to hear:
Don’t take negativity from anyone, especially if it’s about how you’re parenting.
Don’t beat yourself up for being tired or needing a break.
Don’t forget to care for yourself, too. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Don’t ignore signs of postpartum depression; you’re not a bad mom, it’s just the hormones.
Do ask for the help and support you need.
Do recognize that you are enough for your baby.
Do tell someone if you are struggling emotionally.
Do realize that this is all normal.
And above all, do snuggle your baby! It makes everything else disappear.
You’ve got this.