After a c-section, youâll spend some time in the hospital recovering. Totally normal. But once you get out and are back at home, youâre going to want to get back into your groove. Or your new groove with the baby.
Let me tell you though; nothing is going to be the same. Nothing. And youâre going to feel nuts (thanks hormones) for a couple of weeks at least. Thatâs the baby blues, which you can read about here. And just an FYI, if you feel that way for more than two weeks, contact your doctor straight away to help you. There is a help, and you will feel so much better when you get it.
Just because youâre discharged from the hospital and sleeping in your bed doesnât mean youâre ready to get back to life at the fullest. Youâre going to be in a considerable amount of pain. This, too, is normal. You may think youâre going to feel like this forever, but I assure you, you will soon be moving around pain-free.
Is there a way to speed up your recovery?
Iâm so glad you asked because, yes, there is! Iâve crafted a list of doâs and donâts of what to do after your c-section and further separated them into sections so you can have the best and speediest recovery possible. Just hang in there, and I hope your husband isnât as hilarious as mine or your whole abdomen will ache with every laugh.
Table of Content
Doâs and Donâts While Youâre Still in the Hospital After a C-Section
Youâre going to feel pretty rough after your c-section, and youâll still have the catheter in for a short while. Once it comes out, though, the hospital staff will encourage you to move around and to use the toilet.
Here are some things to do and not do while youâre still admitted.
DO: Take it slow.
Yes, itâs important to get up and walk around. But even if you were a marathon runner before giving birth, you need to ease back into simple walking. Keep your walks short and sweet.
DONâT: Walk alone.
Make sure your husband or a loved one, or even hospital staff if no one else can be there, escorts you. Youâre more prone to falling.
DO: Take the pain meds.
It is so much easier to recover when youâre not in agony. I speak from experience.
DO: Try to pass gas.
The only time farting is not a total faux pas is right after youâve had a c-section. In fact, your doctor and nurses at the hospital will be urging you to do so. Side bonus: you will be allowed to eat solid foods after this. Read my post about that here!
Physical Activity Doâs and Donâts Once You Get Home from the Hospital After C-Section
Once the hospital deems you fit for release (usually 3 to 4 days, sometimes longer), you can rejoice and head home. And while you should absolutely enjoy being back in familiar territory, there are some things you should and shouldnât do in regards to physical activity once you get there.
DO: Keep up the walking.
Every day, take time to walk. Slowly increase the length of your walk. You may feel more comfortable with your husband, friends, or family along with you. If you live in a place with clean, fresh air, taking the baby along is a great way to bond as well as soothe a cranky baby into sleep.
And by the way, that walking will help your circulation as well as keep you from getting constipated. Remember, this is major abdominal surgery. All your parts need a little coaxing to keep things moving.
DONâT: Overdo it.
You should never push yourself too hard. This is not the time to lift weights or try running. You can lift the baby, but nothing heavier than that.
DO: Spend time enjoying your baby.
Itâs definitely weird to come home with this strange-looking wrinkly creature that was once kicking you from the inside just a few days before. But you should soon start to feel that sweet bond forming between the two of you. I still tear up when I look at my girls and think of how much I loved cuddling them as babies.
DONâT: Submerge yourself in water.
DONâT: Engage in rigorous activity.
Again, wait for your doctorâs A-OK on this one. Also in this area: sex. You will have to wait until youâre recovered and cleared for that too. A downer, I know, and fair warning: it hurts the first few times after having a baby (yes, even after c-sections) so get ready to feel virginal again.
Diet Doâs and Donâts After C-Section
Itâs so important to nourish your body after this major surgery. And itâs not just for you. If youâre breastfeeding, you need to feed yourself even more so your milk can nourish your baby. Hereâs what you should know!
DO: Eat well-balanced meals.
Fill your plate with healthy, nourishing foods. You can undoubtedly splurge on something you missed during your pregnancy days, but keep it to a minimum. A slice of veggie pizza is fine, but a whole pie? No way, girl! Your meals should consist of whole foods (and not whole pies).
DONâT: Drink sodas.
All that sugar. And all that fizz. And all your digestive woes as you recover. No, no, and nope. Drink plenty of water instead or decaffeinated green tea.
DO: Work in more fiber.
Foods with more fiber will help you keep your digestive system moving. Try eating them naturally. If you find youâre often constipated even with eating fiber-rich foods, ask your doctor to recommend a safe fiber supplement.
DONâT: Fad diet.
Fad diets donât really work for anyone, and theyâre going to be even more harmful to you in your delicate recovery state. Patience, my dear. With balance and your recovery, you will see results.
General Doâs and Donâts After C-Section
What else should you know about recovering faster from your c-section? Keep reading, and youâll know!
DO: Follow directions for cleaning your incision area.
Your doctor and the nurses at the hospital will tell you what to do to keep your incision area clean the right way.
DONâT: Ignore signs of infection.
Some pain in the abdominal region is very normal after having a c-section. However, if you notice any swelling, redness, or pus around your incision, you should contact your doctor right away. Call even faster if you have a fever over 100.4F.
DO: Relax about vaginal bleeding, to an extent
Lochia, the bleeding from your vagina after giving birth, is a normal bodily function. This blood will get less and less through the passing days. About four days after delivery, you should notice the flow is improving. If it gets worse or turns bright red though, then you have cause for concern and need to notify your doctor immediately.
DONâT: Compromise your mental health.
Iâve written about the baby blues before. I remember having them myself. And then just like that, poof! They were gone in 2 weeks. Having a baby is a huge change that affects your body, your mind, and the way life was for you. Instead of just hopping in the car to run errands now, youâve got to prepare this tiny little person to come along too.
If itâs cold, youâre grabbing jackets. Youâre trying to remember wipes and diapers and all that stuff. You get ready to leave, and your baby shows all the signs of being hungry, so you settle back down to feed her and then itâs another 30 to 45 minutes before youâre out the door. Ah, yes, Mom-Life.
With all these changes, itâs understandable that you will cry at the drop of a hat, feel confused, depressed, and like you canât hack it. This is why you absolutely must ask for help from those around you. Donât be shy. Ask your husband, your parents, his parents, other relatives, and friends to help out. Most of them will likely offer.
And make use of delivery services to save your sanity. How I wish I had these things when my girls were babies! Luckily, I had my husband and his parents to help out when I really needed a break. With the language barrier, though, I felt so lonely.
Iâm going to mention how much my breastfeeding coach, Vivien, who was a volunteer for La Leche League, helped me during this time. She answered my calls when I felt like I was hanging on by a single, unraveling thread and helped me regain my focus. She had told me that my feelings were all normal but if they persisted after a few weeks, to tell my doctor.
Thankfully, it was the baby blues.
One of my friends had postpartum depression, the very reason why she refused to have another child. A fellow psychologist, she was ashamed to ask for help until it was almost too late. She said if sheâd reached out sooner, her life would have been so much easier. So from her to me and now to you, please tell your doctor if you are feeling depressed, hopeless, sad, or have evil thoughts that persist two weeks after your c-section.
Ok, that one was a long one, but mental health is vital, and I think so many people overlook it. Physical health is something we can see. Itâs tangible. If weâre ill, we look generally look sick. But when weâre mentally unwell, we can smile on the outside, and no one notices the torment within.
Moving on, there is one more thing I want to leave you withâ¦
Itâs sometimes hard to do with a newborn in the house. But itâs imperative that you do. Not just for your mental health as a lack of sleep will make anyone go mad. Itâs also for your physical health.
The cells in your body all make their best recovery while you are resting. When your body is in a state of rest, it puts less demand on everything, allowing the cells to get to work. They will send more oxygen to your incision site and help your internal organs heal from the c-section.
Again, ASK FOR HELP.
Itâs pretty much impossible to get a full night of sleep with a baby in the house, so take what you can get. An hour nap in the afternoon, while Grandpa and Grandma come to cuddle the baby, will undoubtedly help.
Also, breastfeed your newborn and once sheâs asleep again, get your rest too. That pile of laundry in the corner? Those dishes in the sink. LEAVE THEM. You will be less prone to emotions of hopelessness and despair if you put your needs for rest and recovery first, I promise.
If you havenât yet gone in for your c-section, donât forget to read up on what you should do before the surgery (I wrote about that here). Mainly, donât eat or drink after midnight. Also, take a nice, long shower. It will be the last one you get for a while and the longest one youâll have for months until the baby cries less.
Take it easy going into and especially coming out of it. Go with baby steps all the way to baby your body so you can be the best mommy to that baby!