If you could give another mum advice on preparing and recovering from a c-section, what would it be? We recently asked our Baby Mums Australia parents this question and were gifted with loads of supportive and helpful c-section advice.

Below are 22 tips to bring to the hospital, the recovery ward, and back home again.

Join the conversation: Head over to Baby Mums Australia to join our group.

c-section adviceC-section advice: real mums, real advice.

1. Prepare (if you can) 

Cooking meals and doing housework is not likely to happen in the first two weeks, so try to arrange everything beforehand. Spend some time batch-cooking and freezing meals for at least 2-3 weeks worth (the more the better). 

2. Take your camera or phone into the surgery

Get your husband, a midwife or nurse to take photos/ videos of the birth. Make sure you bring your phone charger too so you can capture all of those magical firsts as you recover in the ward.

3. Ask for clear drapes! 

Not all hospitals supply these but it doesn’t hurt to ask. And look how amazing they make the birthing experience!

clear drape c-section
Source: Pure Motherhood

4. Recovery clothes 101

  • Baggy t-shirts
  • Pants that you can pull up above your scar or dresses
  • High waist undies – the biggest undies you can find!
  • Recovery shorts and leggings

5. That first walk is gonna hurt

Getting out of bed and walking for the first time is going to feel terrible. Like, “I’m 100 years old and haven’t walked in years” terrible. You will shuffle, you will hunch, you will look like a weirdo. All normal.

6. Every day will get easier

Recovery wise. Not necessarily newborn baby-wise. Newborns tend to be perfectly divine creatures the first night and then find their voices on nights two, three and beyond. Which is tough for recovering mums because ONE day of baby bliss is not enough!

7. Trust your instincts. 

If you want to go home earlier and everything is going well, ask if you can go home (so long as you have support at home).

8. Take the pain medication! 

We’re told to only take pain meds when we need them but this isn’t the case when it comes to c-section recovery. Stay on top of the drugs. Take the medication at the exact times stated, even if you dont feel you need them. They help enormously and allow you to move around which is really important to speed up recovery.

9. Compression! 

Laughing, sneezing, coughing HURT! A way to try and stop the pressure and pain is to add some compression to your wound when you cough, sneeze or laugh. This can be a rolled-up towel, a maternity pad, a pillow.

And tell your husband to lay off the lame dad jokes for a while – he can try and make you laugh in two weeks.

10. Arms reach

Have all the baby’s clothes, your underwear, change of pads, etc set up on the baby bassinet and within arms’ reach for you at the hospital. When home, same same.

If you have a two-story home, make sure you have all your essentials both upstairs and downstairs so you don’t have to climb.

11. Puff mummy!

One thing no one tells you about having a c-section is that you can retain some serious water! You receive a lot of fluids during labour and it can make your whole body swell – your face, legs, feet. It can take a week or two for the water retention and puffiness to fade.

12. Poop help

It’s really common to experience trapped wind after a c-section birth so stock up on some stool softeners. Peppermint tea is also good for helping with constipation.

13. Abs are out

Avoid any sort of movement or position where you need to work your abs. Roll to your side and use your arms to push yourself up instead. Sleep in a recliner if you need to. Just let those abs rest!

14. Numbness and pain

You can expect both around the incision. Both are normal.

15. Baby steps

Short walks can help with c-section recovery. Some experts recommend a light walk daily but when you’re up for this will depend on you. We suggest waiting a week or two.

16. Heavy lifting is off the table. 

Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby. And avoid doing things like emptying and loading the dishwasher that involves lots of bending.

17. Hot and cold

Warmth can have a soothing effect on your c-section incision while cold can reduce swelling. Invest in both ice packs and a wheat bag to warm up in the microwave.

18. Wound care

If your wound separates a bit in the following 6 weeks and starts weeping, seek medical advice. However, it’s usually nothing major and will heal. Use a sanitary pad sideways to soak up the liquid. 

19. Hormone hell 

Hormones will play a major role in recovery and it’s normal for the hormones to make everything seem so much worse. You may feel guilty, angry, resentful, frustrated, all the feels. All normal. Be grateful and proud of what you’ve achieved – a healthy birth and a beautiful baby. It can be hard and if you feel like you’re edging away from the baby blue phrase and into postpartum depression, speak to your doctor.

20. Stop with the shoulds. 

Don’t listen to the “You should be doing this or that.”

Listen to your own body. Your body will tell you when things are right and when things feel wrong – don’t try to do something because others did. Everyone experiences recovery differently.

21. Gather your tribe.

Try to have a full-time support person for at least the first 2 weeks post-op. Let people take care of you and whatever you do, don’t let pride get in your way of asking for help. 

22. Be patient. 

If you’re the type of person who likes to move at a fast rate, then recovering from a c-section can be mentally frustrating. You may want to push yourself to go, go, go, to get back out there, go for a drive, but you really can’t.

You need to let your body recover after this major surgery. So, sit back, let yourself relax, let your body heal (and be puffy a little longer) and let your only concern should be you and the adorable ball of squishiness sleeping next to you.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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