Having a caesarean birth is abdominal surgery and for most women will take 4-6 weeks to recover. There are many things that can help your caesarean birth recovery.
Here are my ten top tips for a c-section recovery:
- Take probiotics after birth to counteract the effects of the antibiotics given to you during the caesarean birth. Antibiotics reduce your risk of infection which is around 10%. You may want to consider probiotics for your baby too, particularly after a planned caesarean birth, however, the research for babies and probiotics are limited. Breastmilk contains pre and probiotics which can help replenish the gut lining.
- Don’t compare your recovery to anyone else. You are you. Take your time to heal
- Drink peppermint tea to reduce wind pain (no more than 2-3 cups for a few days as this can reduce milk supply if taken too much for too long)
- Allow the wound to have some ‘air time’ when the dressing is off. Wear large cotton pants which don’t rub and wear a nightie rather than PJ bottoms to prevent rubbing on the wound.
- Use your hypnobirthing ‘up’ breathing and take pain relief 30 minutes before first getting out of bed. Use the bed controls to help you up and roll onto your side to sit up.
- Place your hands on your wound where possible when you need to laugh, sneeze or cough as this will give you some support.
- Consider a next to me cot if you can afford one or have the Moses basket or cot as level and close as possible to prevent you from having to lift your baby in and out. Or if you have a supportive partner, get them to do this for you. Have the changing table at your height to prevent lifting or bending too.
- Continue using your pregnancy pillow for support sleeping. You have had abdominal surgery and will need as much support as possible for your core muscles.
- Consider having a ‘baby moon’ with no visitors until you are ready. We often feel obliged as new parents to host all visitors and this can delay recovery if we aren’t resting enough or taking time to settle in as a family. When you do have visitors, ask them to make the cups of tea or bring you food or exchange housework in return for baby cuddles.
- Be kind to yourself! You have just grown and birthed a baby which is absolutely amazing! Ask for as much help as you require, let others do the housework, make you food and drink and wait on you hand and foot.
Mentally, if it wasn’t the birth you had anticipated or wanted, then speak up to your midwife, your health visitor, trusting family and supportive friends. A healthy baby is not everything. How you were made to feel and how your baby is born has lifelong physical and mental impacts so keep talking. This will help your physiological recovery.
Finally, as an additional tip, consider seeing a women’s health physiotherapist who will give you additional exercises to help your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. In addition, they can provide you with massage tips to aid the scar rehabilitation.