Having had 4 caesarean sections myself, I have come to learn how I recover best. You have to remember that a caesarean is major abdominal surgery, and your body does need time and care to heal and repair.
One of the biggest things that helped me with recovery was arnica. I took arnica tablets as soon after the deliveries as I could, although you can take for about a week before the operation if your babies are more patient than mine! Another Bun also found arnica helpful, and has some other great, gentle tips for post-op healing.
Arnica before and after the section, helps with physical and emotional healing. Get on your feet post surgery and gently mobilising as soon as you can, it really helps to stop you stiffening up (and stops you getting really bad wind pains!). Massive pants are a necessity. Lavender and tea tree oil to put in your baths at home to help your scar (soothing and antiseptic) can be lovely and relaxing too. Oh and ask for skin to skin in theatre – this is standard in a growing number of hospitals so there is absolutely no reason why your request can’t be accommodated.
I definitely agree with all of the above points – especially skin to skin. It’s absolutely wonderful for emotional healing, and I was lucky enough to get that during my last section experience. During a caesarean, you will be fitted with a catheter, which can irritate your bladder. I found soothing baths when at home really eased the discomfort, and I drank plenty of fluids to flush everything through. Cranberry juice can help too.
Several other bloggers seconded the need for mobilising as soon as possible, and how important big pants are!
One of the most common things that came up when I asked others about recovery was trusting your instincts, and accepting help:
Do what you feel you can And trust your instinct. I was told I wouldn’t be able to walk/lift a kettle but I know my body and my limits and was up and about the next day. Everyone is different and it bugs me how some people believe it’s a bed sentence for months. Twinderelmo
Listen to the doctors/ nurses/ midwives! They know what they are talking about. Do not try and clean the bathroom straight away, that’s very silly and it can wait (speaking from experience), and don’t be a martyr, take the pain relief if needed. Hills and Daffodils
I didn’t give myself chance to recover and still get the odd pain. I left the hospital the next morning after losing a lot of blood and just got on with it.My advice would be to relax and actually let all the people asking if they can help do it!! You focus on you and baby! Arepops
Take up all offers of help! Whether it be helping with shopping, washing, tidying. It is not a time to be house proud running around to please visitors and don’t rush yourself out of the house. Enjoy staying at home with your baby! Everything else can wait! Mummy and the Chunks
Definitely try and take it easy and not do things too soon. I went for a walk with my newborn down the road when he was three or four days old but it was too much and I had to send my husband to get the car to bring us back! Suburban Mum
Remember that it is major surgery – some people can be up and about the next day, but don’t feel a failure if you’re not. There are so many variables. Remember you don’t have to be Super Woman! Babi a Fi
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take the time to rest where possible. A short, gentle walk will do wonders for your confidence! A Cornish Geek’s lifestyle blog
I was pretty lucky in that I recovered well every time, but do remember that you are entitled to pain relief!
Use the pain relief they provide correctly. Another lady in hospital with me said she was in agony, and was still not comfortable when I bumped into her days later waiting to see the midwife. But in hospital she wasn’t taking her medication when recommended. I did and was surprised how well I mended and how quickly. Bubba Blue and Me
While you are still in hospital, there are lots of things you can do to make your life easier:
My Snugglebundl was a godsend in hospital so I didn’t have to wait for help lifting baby. Emmy’s Mummy
I always put my maternity pads in my knickers when packing my bag, by doing this I’ve found that when a midwife comes by the next morning to help you get up and out of bed, she doesn’t have to rifle through your bag, so straight on. Make sure you have grippy soled slippers, due to the compression socks you need to wear, without grippy slippers the ward floor is super shiny and slippy. Before you go for surgery, place your bags on the chairs or anywhere up high so you don’t need to bend down. Leanne’s blog
Remember you’ve had major surgery. Eat little and often to avoid low blood sugar and dizzy spells. Hi Baby Blog
There are things that can help with your scar too. I found one of the best things was placing a clean maternity pad against the scar to stop knickers or clothes rubbing against it. Give your scar time, and remember that plenty of air circulating around will aid the healing process.
Make sure you keep your scar clean and dry to prevent infection. Get moving as soon as you can but take things slow and steady. This Mummy Loves
One of the most uncomfortable times for me was the journey home from hospital – you don’t realise how bumpy the road is until you are travelling after surgery!
Hold a pillow to your tummy for the journey home in the car. I still felt every bump in the road but it was cushioned. Mrs Shilts
Remember to pack plenty of loose, comfortable clothing in your hospital bag, for after the birth and the journey home. Jogging bottoms, loose tshirts and HUGE pants will become your best friends for the first few days and weeks.
If you are having a planned section, you can plan for the recovery beforehand:
I read a report about enhanced recovery following c-section last year before I had Piglet. It mentioned about drinking energy drinks like Lucozade the day before your section and the following few days afterwards. I followed this advice and felt much better this time round than I did after my previous two sections. Boo, Roo and Tigger Too
No matter what sort of caesarean you have, be it an elective or a rather more surprise affair, there are many things that can make the birth a special experience. It is still your birth – don’t be afraid to take control!
For the birth- if you would like it, ask for the drape to be taken down and your baby to passed directly to you. I saw them pull my son out and they passed him into my outstretched arms. Hannah Spannah.
Look into ‘seeding swabs’. Wish I’d known about that when I had my caesarean; and delayed cord clamping for caesarean section. I thought I wasn’t ‘allowed’. Live Oxfordshire
I think the most important thing to remember is that you have had major abdominal surgery, and that on top of that you are looking after a newborn baby. You will be exhausted and uncomfortable, and that’s OK. Listen to your body, don’t try and be everything to everyone. Sleep as much as you can, accept all offers of help – whether that is someone watching the baby while you have a shower, pushing the hoover round for you or bringing meals when they visit – and keep your scar as clean and dry as possible.
If you are breastfeeding, the rugby ball hold can often be the easiest, or prop a pillow underneath your baby when feeding so they are not lying directly on your scar. Moving around really does help you feel more human, and will ease the aches and pains gently.
Post-op wind can be incredibly uncomfortable – I found that sucking mints or drinking peppermint tea really helped. You can ask for peppermint tea in hospital if you are struggling – most midwives have this readily available. Often, after surgery, you will have to self inject medication to stop blood clots. I found it really uncomfortable if I did it too close to my bruised stomach, so I used to inject in my thighs or the side of my waist area. If you really find this hard, ask your partner, a relative or your midwife to do it for you.
Have you had a caesarean? Are there any other things that helped you to recover well?