A Cesarean section is not always planned for, in fact about 1 in 3 births in the USA are c sections these days, and over half of those are not planned.
Recovering from a c section can be rough, both emotionally and physically, especially if you had your heart set on a natural birth.
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There are some simple things that you can to that will help to speed up healing and recovery after your c section, so that you can get back to being the best mom you can be.
What should I do after C section to speed up healing?
1 Take pain killers
A body in pain is 1. No fun and 2. Limited in what it can do and 3. At risk of developing pneumonia from not taking deep enough breaths causing lung collapse and consolidation in the bases of your lungs.
You aren’t doing anyone (including yourself and your baby) and favors skipping on the pain medications. Take them, and take them regularly so that you are comfortable enough to move around and take a deep breath.
2 Take probiotics
During the cesarean section they will have given you antibiotics. This kills off all the good bacteria in your gut and a lot of it on your skin.
Give your body a helping hand by providing it with some good bacteria while it heals. I prefer this brand.
3 Care for the incision
Your scar will need some special care over the first two weeks. Keep it clean and keep it dry. If you notice weeping, redness, bleeding or increased pain, let your doctor know.
4 Eat well
A healing body needs plenty of nutrients, especially protein. Eat as soon as you feel hungry and drink whenever you’re thirsty. Keep snacks near to keep you energized.
5 Drink lots
Drink plenty of water and other fluids. This will help you avoid constipation and UTIs, help you to feel less tired, and boost your breastmilk supply. So grab yourself one of these and get drinking!
You know the old adage ‘rest while baby is resting’? Well for you dear momma, that is what you need to do. Your body is not only trying to recover from major abdominal surgery, but it has just finished making a baby and is now making all the milk your baby needs to grow and thrive.
Let your body rest as much as humanly possible.
7 Avoid getting constipated
Constipation is never fun. It is much less so when you have a sore belly. Keep up the high fibre foods, plenty of natural fats and take a stool softener for the first week or two.
8 Support yourself when breastfeeding or just sitting!
When you are feeding baby, make sure that baby is lifted up high towards your breast and away from your c section scar. A good quality breastfeeding pillow is perfect for both these things. This one is my fave.
Even when you are not feeding avoid slumping, support yourself well in a comfortable chair.
9 Avoid heavy lifting
For the first 2-3 weeks you should avoid lifting anything over 8lb/4kg. For many this includes your baby! Especially in the first few days try to have someone around that can pass you baby, and do the carrying that is required.
For the first 4-6 weeks after a c section most insurance companies will not insure you to drive without medical clearance.
You should also avoid vacuuming and lifting the washing basket.
10 Avoid sit-ups
Postpartum sit-ups are generally a bad idea for anyone. But especially so if you are recovering from a cesarean. If you have any form of diastatis recti, you should be avoiding crunches like the plague!
If you need help strengthening your core, you should look in to a program like this one, it is designed with postpartum mamas at it’s core.
11 Ask for help
Don’t ignore baby blues or feelings of disappointment, exhaustion, sadness, and specially urges to hurt yourself or your baby. Talk to your spouse, a friend, a counselor, or your doctor for your emotional and mental health.
Ask a partner, friend or family member to help with other children, pets, cooking and housework until your body is capable to do what it needs to do safely.
How long does uterus heal after C section? How long does it take for C section to heal from the inside?
Superficial healing of both your skin and your uterus should happen with in 7-10 days. Muscle, nerves and blood vessels take much longer.
You will be back to about 80% strength at 6 weeks, but full healing can take 6 months or more.
It is recommended that if you have a c section that you try and have at least a 2 year gap between this baby and the next to allow for full healing to occur before you re-stretch the scar with another pregnancy.
What helps with C section pain?
Take your prescribed pain medications regularly. Using a coughing pillow to hold against your scar when you need to cough or sneeze can help support it.
A coughing pillow is simply a towel folded in to a square approx 10in x 10in and then placed in a pillow case. You can just use any small firm pillow.
How can I get my c section to heal faster?
Keep your scar both DRY AND CLEAN.
Do not scrub your cesarean scar in the shower; simply let soap and water wash over it.
Pat dry and keep a maxi pad over the wound for at least 1-2 weeks to absorb sweat and drainage. If you have quite a pooch left over from the pregnancy (or like me, you always have one!) a hair dryer on the cool setting can be a good way to get it proper dry.
Take some arnica pills to help reduce the swelling and bruising.
10 C Section Recovery Essentials
It is a surprise to mamas just how much you still bleed after a c-section. Your uterus still needs to contract and you will still bleed vaginally for 4-6 weeks.
Get the biggest pads you can. You will be bleeding what feels like the blood of a thousand periods right after childbirth, whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section.
One of my favorite mama brands Earth Mama Organics (they also make the angel baby bottom cream). They make an amazing healing salve just for moms who have delivered via c-section.
Made from organic oils, this balm helps reduce the appearance of scars (and stretch marks—bonus!) without irritating the skin.
Or you can get it as part of Earth Mama’s C-Section Birth and Baby Kit.
3. Postpartum Girdle
This is not really a vanity “get your pre-baby body back fast!” type item. When it comes to recovering from a C-Section, having a belly wrap is an absolute MUST.
During the first few weeks after a c-section, if you sneeze, laugh, or just move the wrong way, it can feel like your insides are about to fall out! So wrap it up securely and enjoy the comfort that that provides.
4. Nursing Pillow (Even if you’re not breastfeeding)
Breastfeeding/nursing pillows are wonderful for anyone feeding a newborn. However, mamas who delivered via c-section have an added reason to add this item to your list.
Using a breastfeeding pillow provides a soft barrier between your incision and your baby. There is nothing like the pain of being kicked in a fresh scar by a squirmy baby!
The Boppy Pillow is one of the most popular nursing pillows (and the one that we used with all 3 of our children), you can find it here.
5. Nursing Pads (Even if you’re not breastfeeding)
Regardless of whether you decide to breastfeed or not, if you go through a pregnancy and delivery, your body will almost certainly produce breastmilk. And chances are it will leak.
If you’re breastfeeding, your breasts will be leaking.
If you’re trying to dry up your milk supply, your breasts will be leaking.
Either way breast pads are a MUST.
Using a super soft washcloth around the scar (not on it) is much less likely to irritate the sensitive skin around the cut than a loofa, sponge, or lesser-quality cloth.
These Bamboo Cotton Organic Washcloths from Bamboo MN are incredibly soft and come in beautiful colors.
Staying hydrated is super important after birth.
I love this double walled drink bottle cos it keeps my drink cold for hours. Or you could try one of these!
Now just because you don’t have stitches down there, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep it clean!
A peri bottle is used to help keep the exterior of your vagina clean during postpartum bleeding by allowing you to wash the area with a gentle stream of warm water in between showering sessions.
This is a MUST HAVE!
Whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section, having your first bowel movement after birth can be a challenge.
Make sure you have some stool softener ready to go at home as a part of your postpartum recovery kit.
Getting back out in to the world after having a baby can be overwhelming. The last thing you need in uncombable pants!
Postpartum leggings became a staple for me, and these are my favorite pair of postpartum leggings: Snapback Postpartum Leggings.
They are specifically designed to factor in the true needs of postpartum women, including providing great coverage for breastfeeding moms and keeping the elastic high and far away from the c-section incision point.
Home remedies for c section recovery
There are a few natural alternative and home remedies that you might also like to use to help speed your healing after a C section.
- Use arnica gel or tablets – they help to relieve muscle pain, swelling, and bruising associated with c-section recovery
- Cinnamon and garlic supplements help fend off any potential infections.
- Coconut water is full of electrolytes and helps to provide those minerals you need to heal quickly
- Omega-3 fatty acids speed healing and help prevent blood clots
- Hawthorn berry tea, hibiscus tea, and apple cider vinegar can also help.
- Calendula supplements can help avoid vaginal infections, a common side effect of this surgery.
- Drink at least one cup of bone broth per day to help restore vital nutrients depleted during blood loss.
What Symptoms do you need to worry about after a C-section
Here are some of these symptoms that require a doctor’s attention as they may indicate an infection. Keep an eye on your scar several time a day, and contact a health professional if you notice any of the following:
● Pus, hotness, redness and swelling on or around the incision site
● Increasing pain or sudden pains around the site, especially if more sensitive to touch
● Fever higher than 100 ℉ or 38℃ or a feeling of hot and cold all over
● Foul smelling vaginal discharge
● Heavy vaginal bleeding after four days from a C-section especially with clots
● Swollen legs or one leg is more swollen, hot or sore
● Difficulty breathing
● Chest or breast pain
● Frequent urination or even urge incontinence but only little urine comes out
● Burning or pain during urination
● Dark, sparse, or bloody urine
Basically if something doesn’t seem right, better to be safe than sorry, and get it checked out as soon as you can.
Recovering from a C Section: Speeding up Healing after a Cesarean Section
A c section is not always planned, but with a little preparation, you can be ready for what ever happens. If you are planning a section, you should grab all these supplies before the birth so you are ready to heal quickly and well from your delivery.