The Day After a C-Section


“The Day After a C-Section”

I had to have a c-section with Bean because he was breech and ginormous. Then, I had to have one again with Gracie because I’d had one with Bean so recently. I didn’t mind, really, except that there isn’t a whole lot of practical, useful information out there for c-section recovery that isn’t related to medical info. Your doctor will give you all kinds of recovery information for how to take care of yourself (none of which is pleasant, by the way…), but there are also some things you can do for yourself to make the day after your c-section much easier to handle. IMG_8309

1. Be careful which pajamas you bring. With Bean, I was afraid of anything touching my incision and so I went with a nightgown instead of comfy pants. Unfortunately, that meant whenever a nurse came in to check me (which is pretty often in those first few days), I basically had to lift my dress up over my head. Awkward and unnecessary. With Gracie, I went a different route and was much more comfortable. I wore comfy, lightweight pajama pants and cotton t-shirt. This kept me warmer in the cold hospital room, and was more comfortable for me to greet guests in. Just be sure you are aware of where the pants line hits your midsection. Try to buy pants that are up high on your waist so that you can pull the pants up over the incision.


2. Walk around a lot. Get up and get moving as soon as possible. My doctor told me this with my first c-section, but it was really painful and so I didn’t do it as much as was recommended. With Gracie, I don’t know if it was actually less painful or if I was just more prepared for the pain level, but I got myself up and moving bright and early the next morning and it made a huge difference in how I felt. It will be really painful at first, but if you can push through that, try to. It gets easier and it will make a world of difference in how quickly you recover from your surgery.

3. Use a nursing pillow. Not just for nursing, but for holding pressure on your incision when you laugh or sneeze. They are fitted perfectly around your midsection, so just press it up against you when you have to laugh or sneeze and it will really help relieve the pain of the incision site. You can also use these to help you hold your baby in that first day when you are really, really sore. I was really hard for me to hold either of my babies the day after because my midsection was so sore. I started using the nursing pillow to apply pressure to my midsection when I was really hurting, but I quickly realized that it was also helpful to use as a way to hold the baby. That way, I got to hold the babies without putting any strain on my body.


4. Bring your own toiletries from home and shower as soon as possible. It is unbelievable what difference a shower makes after surgery. Depending on your nurse, you will be given the green light to shower either the day after or two days after. I waited with Bean because they made showering sound like such a big deal that I was a little nervous. But with Gracie, I just wanted to be clean again and so I got up and showered the morning after (right before my walk, actually) and it was awesome. Follow your nurses instructions, and do it right away. Your body will thank you.

5. Bring alcohol wipes or ask your nurse for some. The iodine and medical stuff (how’s that for terminology?) they put on your before surgery stays on your body FOREVER! I swear sometimes I still think I see that orange tint on my belly! It’s so gross! Try using alcohol wipes to wash some of that off as soon as possible. The longer it stays on you the harder it is to get it off.


6. Get ye a belly wrap! These are somewhat on the pricey side, but totally worth it. A belly wrap is a giant fabric wrap that goes around your entire torso and is pulled tight. In traditional pregnancies, it is supposed to help get your stomach muscles back in place and tightened up quicker (can I get an AMEN?). But in c-section recovery, it serves a second purpose, too. That tight pressure form the wrap actually feels really great on your incision. It protects it and holds it still so that you aren’t constantly jostling around your stitches. I had my nurse help me put it on the day after my procedure and it really felt great. C-sections are a beast of their own. Their needs are slightly different than a traditional recovery, which is a beast of its own, too.

Be prepared with a few simple things that can make a world of difference!

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9 Thoughts to “The Day After a C-Section”

  1. Alaina

    Completely agree with all! I would add to not push it at all. I may have jumped into things way too quickly, and it was tough. But the showering is something that made a world of difference.

  2. Good advice. I had to move after mine because my son was in the NICU. I credit the early moving with an easier recovery. I also completely agree with the pajama pants advice, and I wish I would’ve known about the belly wrap.

  3. Great practical advice! I loved my c-section experience! I had my first two babies the regular way but my 3rd was breech and my blood pressure was high. I was really nervous about my pending c-section when Connor decided to flip to the breech position, but because it was not an emergency c-section I really loved it! The only major pain I had was due to the kinked muscles I got in my back after surgery (we think maybe from being tense on the metal operating table) and I would have loved a good muscle relaxer but they wouldn’t give me one. I didn’t have any problem with the iodine staying, but even then the alcohol wipes help get the sticky stuff from all the monitors and iv’s etc. off of you.

  4. Crystal

    Good advice! Pregnant with my 1st (!!!!!) and its nice to be prepared, just in case of a C section!! This info came at perfect timing!

  5. girlsmama

    I have had 4, yes four, c-sections. This is all amazing advice, I would add, like the first comment, take it easy! Definitely walk and shower, but beyond holding your baby do nothing else. Don’t lift the baby in the seat, don’t try and lift your other kids, don’t try and do dishes, just relax for at least a week! Two if you can handle it. I ruptured my stitches on my first one and that was not a fun time. 🙂

    My fourth baby was a NICU baby (8 weeks early) and I was told constantly by my nurses and the NICU nurses to not do anything more than hold that baby. Sage advice.

  6. Seems like sage advice . . . I hope I remember this if and when the time comes! 🙂

  7. I hear ya on the belly wrap! That was one thing that helped immensely after my c section. It’s amazing how much support those things provide and it does actually help reduce the belly pudge.

  8. Kate

    Thanks for posting – I’m going to have a c-section and this is my first baby…so much unknown! Thanks!

  9. Cheap way for a belly wrap…go to a Ross store, find the little section that has exercise stuff, they tend to have “sweat” bands for your midsection. Work exactly the same as the expensive ones and only cost between $5 and $10. Helped so much after my last c-section!

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