Planned or unplanned, here is what you need to know about recovering from a c-section.
1.) Plan on doing nothing! The first two weeks of recovery you will be limited in what you can and cannot do. Your health care team will go over this with you, but it usually includes: no driving, no stairs, and no heavy lifting.
2.) Make sure your family knows your limits. Have them talk to your doctor or share this post. You family and friends want to help. Give them something to do.
3.) Schedule alarms in your phone for your pills. Not only are you recovering from surgery, but you will have serious mom brain thanks to the new baby. Your health care team will tell you how often you need to take your iron supplement, stool softener, post-natals, and of course your pain pills. I had to layer when I would take the Oxy and other pills.
4.) Have a pillow or blanket handy at all times. This is something you will press against your incision in case you sneeze or cough. Or laugh. Anecdotally for me, I only needed this for the first week after surgery.
5.) Use the belly binder. Ideally the hospital should provide a basic one to you. After the 4th week, I ordered a sturdier one off of Amazon. I ordered the one below. I liked it because it gave me options. I also liked that it helped to provide lumbar support while holding a baby all day. While you’re on Amazon, order some cheap high waist under ware and pants.
6.) The scar will be ok. It may fade a little bit. Many moms report some soreness or different feelings for up to a year after surgery. You are not alone, and it does get better with time. Once it has healed, after about 6 weeks, you can start massaging the area. This is supposed to help the scar tissue swelling and nerves reconnecting. Clear it with your doctor first.
7.) Planned or unplanned, scheduled or emergency, you did it. You may have many emotions. They are all acceptable. You may feel some guilt about how the birth went, and it is something that only time can heal (and a bit of therapy). You will bond with your baby. You will be okay. You got this mama.
C-sections are hard. Hopefully a little preparation and knowledge will make the process easier for you. Listen to your health care team and listen to your body. Make sure you talk to your family and friends or online support community.