The first week of c-section recovery can be brutal and filled with questions. Here are some first person tips based on my experience, after having two c-sections, just 11 months apart.
Get On Your Feet ASAP
It is a good idea when you first have your c-section to get up and start moving around as soon as you can. With my first c-section, I was walking around the hospital at 7 AM the morning after. With my second c-section, the nurse did not allow me to walk around until well after noon the next day, and I believe this played a big part in the second c section recovery being more difficult in the long run. According to The American Pregnancy Association taking gentle strolls around the hospital will help speed up recovery.
Ask for Staples Instead of Dissolvable Stitches
Although they sound scary, I actually found that the c-section recovery went much smoother with staples than with dissolvable stitches. I went back to my doctors office just 48 hours after my surgery, and he pulled them out. It was painless, and that was that. The incision was completely healed a month later.
For me, recovering from a c-section with dissolvable stitches was miserable. First you have to wait 1-2 weeks for the butterfly bandages to fall off, and believe me, they can itch like crazy. Then you have to wait for the stitches to dissolve completely, which can take up to 3 months according to the National Health Service. What I ended up with a month after my second c-section was an incision that would have been completely healed, had it not been for the irritating stitches that were still imbedded in my skin.
If You do Get Dissolvable Stitches:
Don’t be alarmed if you notice a strings that look like fishing line sticking out of the incision. This happened to me with my second c-section. It can be very uncomfortable when these partially dissolved stitches rub on your clothing, but pulling on hem is a bad idea (and very painful). Instead, carefully clip off the strings with a pair of small sterile scissors or fingernail clippers.
Get a Boppy Pillow
A Boppy pillow can be a real lifesaver during c-section recovery. A lot of times, especially in the first week, it can be difficult to find a comfortable position to feed baby. This can be especially true if you are breastfeeding.Boppy pillows are the perfect shape for getting in a relaxed and comfortable position and keeping pressure off of the incision during feeding times.
Exercise to Regain Strength as Soon as You Can
Just because the incision is healed doesn’t mean your c-section recovery is complete. When you give birth by c-section, your stomach muscles are separated in the center and spread to the sides so that the there will be enough room to pull out baby. As you can imagine, this can be pretty hard on your stomach muscles, and some people may be left with a permanent gap and/or stomach muscles that are weak and stretched out. The sooner you can get to work on tightening those weakened stomach muscles, the better your chances are of getting things back to normal. Eight weeks was long enough wait for me to start exercising, but it is best to check with your doctor first to make sure that you are ready.