As a new mom, learning these dos and don’ts after c section may come as a total shock! I had an emergency C-section with my daughter. Before that moment, I never even considered the possibility of a c- section because I had a good, healthy pregnancy and wanted a natural birth! (I was so stubborn on this idea). But I have learned that things can change during labor and delivery.
I was also surprised at how painful the recovery was, both physically and emotionally! However, I had heard of women having elected C-sections, and many women in my family had C-sections (I never heard them complain about their c-section experience), so I figured it was the “easy way”!
I was so wrong, there is no easy way to birth a child!
With that being said, I decided to create a list of ” 18 Dos and Don’ts After C section” to help simplify things for a new mom who didn’t plan or prepare for an emergency c-section!
Table of Contents
Do’s After C-Section
1. Take Your Pain Medication As Required!
In the hospital, I barely felt pain because the nurses were very punctual with my medications.
(I am forever grateful for the nurses I had in the hospital; they were AMAZING!)
After leaving the hospital, my challenge was remembering to take the pain medications while sleep-deprived and adjusting to my new mommy role with a newborn!
(This wasn’t easy for me to do the first few days. Therefore, the pain was intense!).
I recommend you put an alarm on your phone to remind you to take your pain medications, so you don’t forget!
2. Get Out Of Bed!
I was shocked in the hospital when the nurses encouraged me to get out of bed and use the bathroom the same day after my C-section
But I’m glad they did because I would have never gotten up voluntarily! (I was scared my incision was going to open as I got up). As a result, I was able to walk around the room while holding my baby the second day.
(Not for long periods at a time, but I was walking!)
So, when you go home, don’t be scared to get up for short periods at a time and walk around the house or hold your baby. Moving your body will help you recover faster!
3. Allow Others To Help!
For a while, I was so angry that I didn’t get the natural birth I wanted because I wanted to immerse myself in this new journey, but most times, I was in too much pain to enjoy it.
But, the reason why I think I was in more pain than I should’ve been in was that I kept pushing myself to do things my healing body wasn’t ready to do.
Listen to your body, and don’t be so hard on yourself!
Instead, allow those you love to help you with the things you need and allow them to help you find other ways to do and experience the things you want to with your baby!
The first week home from the hospital is a big adjustment! There is so much you may not have realized that goes into newborn life, and it feels like there is not enough time for rest!
Although this may be true, you must learn to pace yourself. If not, you may cause yourself more pain (like I did).
I would be in so much pain because I didn’t know how to rest as a new mom! During my postpartum recovery was actually the first time I ever experienced swollen feet (not even during pregnancy) because I was overworking my body!
Again, allow others to help you with your needs and your baby! You don’t have to do it all. Trust me, you’ll have plenty to do after you have fully recovered!
5. Wear A Belly Band!
Get a belly band if you don’t have one!!
At first, I thought the belly band would cause more pain on my C-section incision, but instead, it relieved pain by holding everything together!
I was experiencing lower back pain during my postpartum recovery, and I thought it was due to the epidural, but thankfully it wasn’t! The belly band helped relieve the pressure off my back.
6. Wear Everything High-Waisted!
When I packed my hospital bag, I packed nothing high-waisted! I didn’t know I had to until I put on my legging that wasn’t high-waisted and they sat right on my incision!
Thankfully, the sweat pants I wore on my way to the hospital were big on me even with my pregnant belly, so I was able to wear that.
I’m also glad the hospital gave me lots of mesh panties that went over my belly and pads because the postpartum diapers I bought didn’t fit me either!
7. Keep Incision Clean And Dry!
There are three ways an incision can be closed during a c-section, stitches, stapels and glue. For those reasons, follow your doctor’s direction on caring for your incision.
If you have medical strips on your incision like I did, they used glue.
You can keep it clean by showering daily but allow the strips to fall on their own. Keep it dry by gently patting incision dry after shower and not apply any cream on your incision (unless directed by your doctor).
8. Shower (No Baths)
My nurse said I could shower 24 hours after my c-section. Don’t apply soap directly on the incision, just allow the soapy water to run down.
Baths are a big NO in the first few weeks! It increases the risk for the wound to get infected. Also, you wouldn’t want too! Just the action of sitting or standing is a painful mission after a c-section! Imagine adding bath?!
Showering is the easiest option, just get in and out with support from someone.
9. Hydrate & Eat Healthy!
As we all know our body needs water and healthy foods to thrive and this is especially true after surgery! Immediately after a cesarean delivery you want to eat foods rich in protein, minerals, calcium, fiber and iron.
The role of these nutrients is to help your body heal faster by allowing new tissue cells to grow. Also, promotes a healthy digestion and easy bowel movements. You don’t want to consume anything that can cause constipation after a c-section.
And if you plan to breastfeed, water will help increase milk supply and eating healthy will help nourish your baby! so hydrate and eat heathy!
Don’ts After C-Section…
1. Laugh, Sneeze Or Cough Without Putting Pressure Over Incision Area!
I learned these the hard way! I laughed and coughed within the first 72 hours, and the incision felt like it was going to rip open! (I saw stars).
By applying a little pressure over the incision area with your hands, you avoid this “ripping” feeling! (you’ll thank me later).
2. Forget To Buy Something For Gas!
Gas was another thing I learned the hard way! I experienced painful gas a week after giving birth. I’m not talking about the gas you feel in your stomach. I’m talking about the painful ones you feel when you are on your period, the ones you feel when trying to poop!
The first two days, I was crying because I didn’t know it was GAS. I didn’t realize it was something I could quickly relieve!
My mom saved me! She told me that it was gas and to drink Ginger Ale! I’m glad she knew what it was because I don’t know how long I would have suffered for, thinking this was just part of the process.
So add Ginger Ale to your postpartum kit!
3. Think You Have To Do It All!
I think it’s normal to feel like you have to do it all as a new mom because you are so protective of this baby you want everything done “right”!
Also, if you had an unplanned c-section, you may be feeling like you have to push through the pain to do the simple things like carrying your baby, breastfeeding, bathing your baby, curling up in bed with your baby without being in pain.
The truth is you don’t!
People can help if you let them. In addition, you just had major surgery, so it’s ok to take it easy and wait until you feel more like yourself to do the things you want to do.
4. Give Up On Breastfeeding Goals Due To C-Section Pain!
Postpartum recovery is hard both psychically and emotionally! You don’t really want to add to the pain with breastfeeding for the first time!
So, I understand if this is something you really can’t do. But, after my unexpected c-section, breastfeeding felt like something I could control and do for my daughter!
It takes commitment and determination to succeed at breastfeeding for 6 months, 12 months or however long you decide. I leaned more towards breast pumping (aka exclusive pumping) because holding my baby to breastfeed hurt a lot and I couldn’t get comfortable.
Here are two post that can get you started, 7 Exclusive Pumping Tips & 13 Exclusively Pumping Must Haves.
5. Heavy Lift!
My doctor told me that I shouldn’t lift anything heavier than my baby for the first 6 weeks. You don’t want to risk putting pressure on your abdomen and opening your incision!
6. Climbing Stairs!
I was actually worried about this one because I live on the third floor and there’s no elevator!
For the first week I stayed at my in-laws who lived on the first floor and then I slowly climbed those stairs and never came back down until my 6 weeks postpartum doctor visit!
This is also so you avoid putting pressure on your abdomen or risk opening your incision.
7. Dwell (too much) On The Delivery You Didn’t Have!
Many first-time moms dream of the perfect natural delivery, but not all of us get to experience that with our first baby or any baby after that!
There are many reasons a c-section occurs. In my case, it was my daughter’s decreasing heart rate with every contraction!
My dream delivery was difficult for me to let go of because I was healthy. I had a healthy pregnancy, I did everything I could to get my mind and body ready for birth, and then I was told I had to be induced at 40 weeks.
At the time, the reason for my induction didn’t make sense to me, but I knew that induction most times lead to a c-section. Of course, I now understand the reason for my induction and emergency c-section, but at the time, I was so angry that I couldn’t even tell my birth story without crying!
With this, I mean to say, don’t let your unexpected outcome get in the way of enjoying this baby that you have just created with your amazing healthy body! You Did That!
8. Participate In Core Muscle Exercises!
Don’t be in a rush to get back to your pre-pregnancy body! Let your body heal, you just had major abdominal surgery!
At your 6 weeks postpartum visit your OB will let you know if you are ready to exercise and how to ease your body into exercise.
9. Use Tampons or Douche!
According to Babycenter, the reason you shouldn’t use tampons or douche before six weeks postpartum is that, after birth, your body is still getting rid of blood, mucus, and tissues from your uterus called lochia.
Therefore, as long as you are still experiencing postpartum bleeding, you still have an open internal wound that puts you at risk for an infection you don’t want!
I hope this was helpful!
If you have any additional questions about c-section recovery let know in the comments below!