A C-section is scary for many new moms. It’s major surgery and it may not have been part of their birth plan. We spoke to moms in the mom.life app about their post-cesarean experiences. Some described easy recoveries, while others are still feeling pain months later. But all agreed that having a C-section does not make you any less of a mom!

Here are 23 tips to help you survive postpartum after a C-section, especially those first few days when you come home from the hospital. 

A girdle is a lifesaver

“Honestly the girdle is a lifesaver and of course Motrin. But for me it is self-motivation to want to get better. Plenty of water and pillows.

“My number 1 piece of advice is to purchase a girdle that will apply pressure to your uterus not only helping it to go back in place but easing the pain of the area where you were stitched. The girdle will also allow you to be able to laugh, sneeze, and cough freely without feeling like you're getting ripped open again.”

Try something new everyday

“I'm completely independent and I hate depending on someone. So everyday I try to do something new and I keep at it until I can do it without pain. But of course the moment pain starts I stop. Rest for the rest of the day and the next day try again in a different way…”

Ask for help when you get home

“If you have family that can take time off to help ask them. I had a c-section, take all your meds and don't be afraid to ask for more if you need it.

“Get a doula! if you can't afford, ask around for one who works for discount or pro Bono, I guarantee there are 5 in your area! You need one no matter what! I don't care if you are high risk and maybe will need one, or plan from the jump. They keep a cool head when you need to concentrate, they remind you your options, and they assist you after.”


“Have someone home with you to take care of YOU. My mom was such a big help she cooked for me, served me and watched baby while I caught up on some well-deserved sleep!!! I love my mama?”

Don’t forget the stool softener

“Colace is your bestfriend and bring comfy socks and clothes.”

“Definitely take stool softened, every day, like clockwork, until you're healed and on a normal cycle again. That's been the worst part for me, but overall a good experience!”


HEATING PAD. HEATING PAD. HEATING PAD.

“Honestly, I feel everyone should pack and bring a heating pad with them. It can help anybody after birth! After a Cesarean, you will have the worst gas pains you will ever feel in your entire life. The gas, if not expelled quick enough, can travel through the body and ache something fierce! At one point I was sobbing because of gas pains in my shoulder. Walking helps relieve the gas, however, the heating pad can do wonders to release the gas. Also, the heat on the incision site will promote blood flow, which helps the recovery time! Just toss one in the trunk of your car, if you need if, then it's there, and if not? Oh well! Trust me! If I could only bring one thing with me to the hospital, it would be a heating pad.”

 

Find moms who get it. Chat, vent, brag, laugh, cry. Download the free mom.life app now.

Don’t feel guilty

“Unfortunately, I had an emergency c-section after a 42 week induction causes my daughters heart rate to drop extremely low. If you planned on an all-natural birth (with no pain-meds) and result in a c-section due to uncontrollable circumstances, don't feel guilty! Even at 18 months pp I still struggle with this however I have to remind myself that I did something that saved my baby's life- she's happy and healthy and that's truly what matters.”


Make sure you walk and move around

“The best advice I could give someone is to get up and walk around. I mean obviously be careful, but I had my daughter via emergency c-section because she was a month early. She was in special care and couldn’t come to my room, and I wanted to see my baby. In order to see her, I forced myself to walk to the other side of the maternity wing to special care to see her, and when I went home finally I would get up myself to do everything cause I knew my SO would have to go back to work soon and I needed to be able to care for my baby.”

“Move move move! When you stay still for long periods it makes you hurt more the more you move the better you heal prevent blood clots and build that muscle back.”


“Get up & get moving as soon as you're permitted but take it slow- take baby for a walk around your hospital floor using the rolling bassinet as a walker to lean on.”

Take advantage of the nursery and the nurses

“I honestly had the best experience for my c section… My doctors let me choose induction or c section due to me being diabetic and my baby being big. As long as you don't baby yourself and get up and walk, even if it's a few steps, you will recover much faster and you won't regret it. I was up walking up and down the hallway less than 12 hours after my c section. Definitely take advantage of the nursery, as someone said, your baby isn't going anywhere you will need sleep cause the first few days home with your little one are rough!”

Drink plenty of water

“Drinks LOTS of water. DO not drink anything carbonated, no beans and absolutely nothing from a straw. Try to rest when the baby sleeps. Get all the pillows you need, they help so much!”


Ice ice baby

“Ice packs are your best friends. I used them until I was done taking meds. Numbing the area made it so much easier to do ANYTHING.”

Don’t skip your pain medication

“I skipped my meds and regretted it! Do not skip them!!! Also remember to have a snack with them. I would get really dizzy and weak when j wouldn't eat with my meds. Start walking when they allow you to. Very slowly. And while walking wear the girdle the hospital provides or try to get one specialized in c/sections. It helps SO much while walking.”          

“DO NOT SKIP MEDS. even if you don't feel pain take at least one pill. stay on top of your pain meds. You'll be glad you do, or else you'll be in excruciating pain & it'll be harder to get rid of.”


Go easy on yourself and your body

“Don't forget to go easy on yourself and your body. Don't hate it, love it. Give it more time to heal than others need. You just had major surgery! And are a new mom! Give yourself MONTHS to recover.”


“Don't overdo it. remember that each day gets a little easier. I had an emergency c section after 4 hours of intense back labor due to her position. I dilated completely and was ready to push and have a successful natural birth with no pain meds but the doctor said that she wouldn't make it if I delivered her that way. I was terrified and really bummed out but all that matters is that the baby is delivered safely.”


Extra pillows!

“Get pillows to put on your incision when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. It hurts! I only take pain meds when I feel really sore and don’t do too much! you may feel like you're up to grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. but you will wear yourself out and make yourself verrrry sore just take it easy. Get as much help as possible.”

“Sleep with pillows propped behind you-it makes getting out of bed easier and do clothing and diaper changes sitting on your bed or couch rather than trying to lean over a changing table :)”

Get plenty of sleep

“Sleeeep!! Plus the anesthesia made me so tired. I felt bad because I didn’t realize the nurses were there to help you, but it did get me walking and I was out of the hospital in two days! Definitely let someone know if you need help and rest as much as possible!”

“Don't rush to sleep in the bed right away, I slept in a chair for a month and it helped. Keep it CLEAN!”


“Sleep at a higher position. Lying flat extremely sucks. because when u get up from being flat it hurts more.”

Strength and determination

“Pain meds, prayer, and determination to see my son in special unit nursery while I was in recovery unit. I had a heart ablation at the end of the week, too. I died then came back and so did my son.”

Try adult diapers

“I feel like my c-section actually had a quicker recovery. It was over after about 15 minutes of me delivering him. I was up walking within an hour after having him but with my vaginal delivery I had too much epidural and my left leg was numb the first day. I took my pain meds every 4 hours, or before they wore off. I showered as soon as I could and this time I'm planning on trying adult diapers instead of maxi pads over my incision to keep it dry since the pad kept moving.”

You’re strong and a real mother

“It's not as scary or bad as it seems. You are just as much of a mother as anyone else.”

“At this point I still have the tiniest soreness in my incision area but I'm already back on the motorcycle… (probably not the smartest lol) but I feel great! I thought I'd be an excruciating pain for months after this surgery but it was nothing like I thought it'd be so don't worry! everyone is different but you'll be feeling yourself again in no time.”

Use lip balm

“Chapstick, bring it. I got oxygen burn from the mask. My cousin, who had 3 c-sections brought me some, it saved my life. Don't be afraid to call the nurse, or tell them you’re in pain, they are there to help.”

No heavy lifting or bending

“Ask for help! Don't be afraid to accept help trust me don't overdo it you will pay for it ! Don't lift heavy objects the more you over do it the longer it will take to heal!”

“Don't try to bend over. Definitely don't raise your arms. Oh my gosh it's awful pain. Accept help. Walk. Do not worry about washing that place. The first week I didn't even like to shower. but I did. Just didn't wash the place. Let water and soap run down it. You'll have this weird numbness and soreness at the same time. Take it very easy the first 3 or 4 weeks. I wouldn't recommend anything but a gown or dress the first few days afterwards unless you have stretchy pajama pants that go over your belly button. you do not want anything touching that spot. It's definitely worth every second of the pain though. ❤”


Wear loose clothing

“Get clothes that won't irritate your incision. There are some breastfeeding positions that you can do that are a bit more comfortable for a recovering mama! Oh and WALK ! ❤”


“I'm only week 1 ?? & I’m miserable! Can't walk & can’t stand for long periods of time. Laughing & sneezing hurts. I'm still in my maternity clothes & nothing with buttons.”

Roll out of bed the first few days postpartum

“Don't sit straight up in bed, scoot to the edge and roll onto your side (whichever is closest to the edge), while rolling slowly put your legs over the side of the bed and use your arms to push yourself to a sitting position sideways. Have a pillow to press lightly over your incision when sneezing, coughing, laughing, and getting up from a seated position.”

Place your breastfeeding pillow above your incision

“If breastfeeding, use your Boppy by placing it above your incision, trust me your incision will thank you. Do not take a bath, showers are ok, until it is completely closed or you can get an infection. Take stool softeners as directed, trust me the last thing you want to do is strain and pop the incision open. above all, follow your doctor's orders, it's is major surgery after all!!!”

Place your baby near you when you get home

“If you are breastfeeding a cosleeper/insleeper/minibed comes in handy when you are in bed. Know that not every c-section is a bad experience and that people actually do have good experiences.”

 

Need more postpartum tips? Connect with moms who’ve gone through the same. Chat, laugh, vent, share. Download the free mom.life app now. 

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