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8 Tips to Prepare for a C-Section Recovery


Recovery after your baby is born can be difficult under normal circumstances, however after a C-section, recovery can be even harder. Learn what to do -- and what not to do -- after a C-section.

1. Delegate as Many Tasks as Possible

After a C-section is no time to be superwoman! You're recovering from major surgery, as well as trying to care for a newborn. Do your best to remain active, but make sure you follow the limits set by your healthcare provider. Rest as much as possible and don't do any unnecessary lifting, pulling, or cleaning.

2. Forget the Heavy Lifting After a C-Section

A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn't lift anything heavier than your newborn, especially during the first six weeks. This will give your abdominal muscles a chance to heal. It may hurt to get up from a lying down position for the first few weeks, so rolling onto your side and then drawing your knees to your chest before sitting up can help make getting up more comfortable.

3. Beware of a Good Laugh

Laughing normally feels good, but not necessarily when you're post-C-section. You can be more comfortable when laughing, coughing, and even pooping if you hold a pillow to your abdomen. This will help your core muscles from aching.

4. Before That First Postpartum BM

It sounds silly, but many women are scared to have a bowel movement after a C-section. To help make it easier, consider taking a stool softener, drink lots of water and fruit juice, and eat plenty of fruit. Gas can also be quite painful after a C-section, so avoid sodas in favor or teas or water.

5. Exercising After a C-Section

You want to take it easy post C-section, but you can do some Kegel exercises. They'll definitely feel uncomfortable at first -- your body has gone through quite a trauma -- but they'll help support the abdominal muscles, including the bladder. Although you might be anxious to start exercising to get rid of any excess baby weight, ask your healthcare provider when it's safe to resume exercise. Typically, your healthcare provider will want you to wait six to eight weeks.

It is okay to go for a short walk after a C-section and getting some fresh air can be good for you and the baby. Until you're steady on your feet, ask someone to go with you to push the stroller or carry the baby in a sling. When you feel like you can walk confidently, you can take the baby out yourself.

6. Take Care of Yourself and Ask For Help Post-C-Section

A C-section is major surgery and you need to allow yourself time to heal. It can be hard to keep up with household chores, especially when you have a new baby. Ask for help with chores, grocery shopping, cooking and watching your older children. Try to have some nutritious snacks around the house so you can keep your energy levels up, drink plenty of water (especially if you're nursing) and try to rest as much as possible. Putting your feet up when you sit will help reduce the stress and strain on your abdominal muscles and allow them to heal.

7. Allowing Your Scar to Heal

Scars can be quite itchy when they are healing, so if yours is bothering you, ask your healthcare provider if you can use any creams or lotions on it. Gentle massage once your stitches have dissolved can also help it flatten and become less visible over time. Both massage and reflexology can be helpful for moms after a C-section, but make sure to tell your therapist that you're recovering from a C-section so that they can take special care of you.

Some women worry that sitting upright puts their stitches at a risk of popping open. It doesn't, so if your instincts are to hunch over, rather than sitting upright, to protect your belly, don't. Straighten your posture gradually to protect your back and strengthen the muscles in your abdomen.

8. Understanding Your Emotions

Your emotions can be like a roller coaster after a C-section. The hormones are still running throughout your body and you may feel weepy or depressed. Some women have complicated feelings about their C-section and childbirth so if you're feeling sad, talk to your healthcare provider or friends about your experience.

3 Recovering from a C Section

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