12 C-Section Recovery Essentials You Need To Have

12 C-Section Recovery Essentials You Need To Have

These c-section recovery essentials will help you recover easily and quickly so you can get back on your feet with less pain.

12 c-section recovery essentials you need to have

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In nursing school, we learn from nurses in a variety of nursing specialties. And let’s just say going with the operating room nurse to assist with c-sections was my least favorite experience.

After that, I had every intention of having an unmedicated vaginal birth so I took Hypnobabies to prepare myself and my husband for the process. 

I labored at home as planned for over 30 hours (thank God for jacuzzi tubs!) before grabbing our hospital bags and heading to the hospital. 

Unfortunately, I started showing signs of preeclampsia so they had to get her out via c-section for both of our safety. 

Since almost everyone in my family has had c-sections I packed enough for the 3-4 day hospital stay. 

The worst part of the c-section is recovering. Within 24 hours you’ll be up moving around against your will but for the benefit of your health. 

As much as I hated getting out of bed and causing myself more pain, I knew it was essential to prevent blood clots, reduce pain from trapped gas, and to encourage the first bowel movement after surgery (which may or may not hurt like hell). 

Here’s all the tools you’ll need to recover from your c-section like a champ!

12 insanely useful postpartum essentials

This is everything that helped me recover quickly from having an unplanned c-section. Throughout the first week home with a newborn, these are the items I had my husband pick up or I ordered online to make life easier and less painful.

1. Pain medication

After your c-section, you’ll likely be given opioid pain medication such as Hydrocodone. As much as I hate taking medication it’s necessary to stay ahead of the pain because if not you’ll need even more medication. 

In the hospital I took my pain medication every 6 hours whether or not I was in pain. 

When we got home I thought I would go ahead and stop taking it so I wouldn’t be as tired since I was breastfeeding at night every 2 hours. 

Let’s both agree that was a terrible idea. 

The better way to stop taking prescription pain medication is to gradually reduce the amount and see how your body handles it or switch to an over the counter medication like Tylenol which shouldn’t cause you to be sleepy. 

Either way, stay ahead of the pain so your body can heal and you can better enjoy your new baby.

2. Stool softener 

Having a bowel movement after a c-section is painful because straining to push puts pressure on your incision that’s still trying to heal. 

Plus, a side effect of opioid pain medication and some prenatal vitamins (which you should still be taking) are constipation. 

To make it easier, take a stool softener every day and walk around to get gravity working in your favor.

3. Prenatal vitamins 

Without the proper nutrients your body doesn’t have everything it needs to help you heal. And if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is literally sucking all of your body’s nutrition right out of you. 

Your prenatal vitamin will restore those nutrients you may not be getting enough of from your diet which will provide your baby with those nutrients as well.

woman taking her prenatal vitamin on a couch

4. Compression socks 

If you aren’t up moving around you can develop a blood clot which could be life threatening. 

I’ve always worn compression socks during my 12 hour (usually longer) nursing shifts to keep my blood circulating and to prevent varicose veins. 

Compression socks put pressure on your legs and ankles to help the blood flow back to your heart instead of hanging around in your legs.

5. Belly wrap

A belly wrap helps protect your incision and decrease your pain allowing you to get more done around the house. 

The purpose of the belly wrap is to support your abdomen while your organs move back to their proper location.

I loved wearing my belly wrap because it made me feel better about myself. When you put it on it makes you look skinnier which is amazing after you’ve given birth to an entire human.

6. High waist underwear 

The cute undies you’re used to wearing may need to be put on hold for a few weeks. 

High waist underwear will come above your incision protecting it from being rubbed by your normal underwear.

7. Robe

Robes are amazing because they’re not only comfortable but they’re quick to throw on and go on about your life. 

My robe and non skid slippers will be in every hospital bag I ever pack. 

By wearing a robe you won’t have to worry about pain from clothing putting pressure on your incision.

8. Pads

After you have your baby, you’ll have vaginal discharge much like a period for the 4-6 weeks. This is called Lochia. It changes in color and consistency throughout this time (what seems like an eternity) until it stops. 

Since you can’t wear tampons for the first 6 weeks after delivery you’ll need extra heavy pads

If you don’t want to risk messing up your underwear, these mesh panties are like what you were given to wear in the hospital.

9. Maternity clothing

Unfortunately, after you have your baby you don’t automatically go back to your pre-pregnancy weight. You’ll still need clothes that are stretchy and not too tight on your incision. 

Maternity leggings have an elastic band that won’t cause pain to your incision. If you plan on breastfeeding, these nursing tank tops are loose and have a snap so you can easily feed your baby.

10. Nursing pads

Whether you decide to breastfeed or not, you may notice milk leaking from your breasts. These nursing pads are beneficial during that time so you’re not getting milk stains on your shirts and so you’re not leaking all over the place.

11. Nursing pillow

To protect your incision from a squirming baby accidentally hitting it, a nursing pillow will provide a cushy barrier. 

It’ll help you get your baby in a comfortable position for those long nursing sessions.

12. Co-sleeper

Our first night home I realized very quickly that getting in and out of bed every 2 hours would be excruciating and was not gonna work. 

I read an extensive amount of reviews before investing in a DockATot. And I’ll just say it was a game changer! 

I was able to have my daughter in bed next to me so I no longer had to get up and out of bed every 2 hours. 

It was easier to fall back to sleep and I could ease my new mom anxiety of looking at her 7,479 times per night to make sure she was still breathing.

What you need to know to heal faster

With all of your new responsibilities recovering from your c-section may feel like it’s taking an eternity. 

These simple steps will help you heal quicker:

  • Rest
  • Stay hydrated
  • Good nutrition
  • Managing your pain
  • Avoid stairs
  • Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby
  • Protect your incision when you cough or sneeze using a pillow
  • Keep items within reach

Having a diaper caddy or breastfeeding station will keep essential items within reach.

ottoman with glider, poppy nursing pillow in breastfeeding station

5 crucial things to avoid postpartum

To decrease your risk of infection or injury you should avoid:

  • Intercourse
  • Exercise
  • Baths
  • Public pools and hot tubs
  • Tampons

Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe to resume your normal activities but usually it’s at least 4-6 weeks after giving birth.

How to properly care for your c-section incision

There’s usually not much to do with your c-section incision. The less you mess with it, the less you have to worry about infection. 

Caring for your incision usually involves:

  • Keeping your incision clean and dry
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Do NOT spray water directly on your incision
  • Change bandages as instructed (if you have bandages)

As your wound is healing you’ll have an intense urge to scratch it. That’s because the nerves send signals to your brain which your brain believes means “this needs to be scratched.”

An itchy wound is a great sign!

9 Life-saving postpartum warning signs

It’s hard to know what’s normal when your body is going through so many changes. A few abnormal signs to look for are:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Severe headache
  • Changes in vision
  • Sudden pain at your incision site
  • Foul odor from vaginal discharge
  • Burning while urinating
  • Swollen, red, painful area in your leg (usually the calf)
  • Heavy bleeding that soaks a maxi pad in one hour or large clots
  • Feelings of wanting to harm yourself

Baby blues vs. Postpartum depression: How to tell the difference

Baby blues, sudden mood swings after giving birth, are normal for over 70% of new moms. This can last for a couple of weeks. 

It’s important to know when baby blues have become postpartum depression. Some signs of postpartum depression include:

These could be signs of dangerous conditions such as blood clots or postpartum preeclampsia. 

Your emotions will be unpredictable so it’s important to have quality time to bond with your baby. 

Put your endless to-do list on hold and give yourself time to relax and heal. 

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Hopelessness

To see if you have early signs of postpartum depression click HERE. This is a serious condition that can escalate quickly so talk to your doctor as soon as possible. 

Famous last words…

Having a baby is hard on the body and recovering from a c-section can be less difficult with the right essentials. 

Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. 

Your baby needs you to be healthy and that starts with self-care.

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12 c-section recovery essentials (the best advice from a nurse)
12 c-section recovery essentials for quick healing
12 essentials for an easier postpartum recovery

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