How to prepare for postpartum recovery after a c-section
Congratulations mama, you just birthed a tiny human! However you’ve welcomed your little one into the world, your body has just gone through a marathon of pregnancy, labour, and birth. And while the main rules of taking it easy where you can apply for any birth, c-section recovery rules can be a bit different as your body also heals from major surgery.
We know you’re going to be busy over the coming weeks and months caring for and nurturing your brand-new baby (not to mention any other little ones you might have running around!), but it’s important to also take a step back and make sure you find the time to care for and nourish yourself.
Why is postpartum care so important after a c-section?
It may sound cliché, but it’s true that one of the best ways to take care of baby is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Whether you’re feeling the aches and pains that come with recovering from birth, or you’re lucky enough to be almost feeling ‘back to normal’, your body is going through a healing process.
The biggest c-section do’s and don’ts come down to what you’re physically putting your body through. You should be trying to avoid lifting anything (or anyone) heavier than your baby, or amping up your exercise regime after birth, no matter how you feel. Instead, light walking, resting where you can, and drinking plenty of water are simple ways to help your body recover in its own time.
How long is recovery post c-section?
No healing process is the same, but most doctors recommend giving your body at least 6 weeks of recovery time after having a c-section.
Chat with your GP about a specific postpartum recovery timeline for your c-section, including how to properly care for your caesarean cut. Keeping the area clean (shower as normal but avoid baths for long periods of time), and patting yourself dry will go a long way in helping keep infection away without putting too much pressure on the cut. Postpartum physio down the track can also help your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles build up their pre-birth strength.
Most doctors also recommend that you avoid driving until at least 6 weeks after a c-section, or when the cut has completely healed. This is to avoid any undue pressure on your wound as it tries to recover, whether it’s from the seatbelt across your waist or braking suddenly.
Image alt text: A new mum looks into the mirror at her postpartum body. She is wearing a white maternity crop top with shorts and running oil into her pregnancy stretch marks.
C-section recovery must-haves
Your c-section recovery time will, of course, depend on how your birth actually went. But there are some products that can help ease those aches and pains to make your healing process a bit more bearable. Here are some of the items we recommend as best for c-section recovery at home.
Our Postpartum Briefs are specially designed for both vaginal and c-section births, with comfortable and breathable material to help support your changing body. They’re also super stretchy, which means less pressure on your caesarean cut as it heals.
Paired with our Herbal Infused Postpartum Pads and Warm & Cool Inserts, which both fit into the special design, trust us when we say that these postpartum recovery undies are one of our must-haves for your healing process.
Herbal Infused Postpartum Pads
One thing a lot of soon-to-be-mums don’t realise before having a caesarean is that you still bleed vaginally after birth. Postpartum bleeding can be uncomfortable, and often takes weeks to fully ease up. So it’s important to make sure you’re using a comfortable and breathable range of maternity pads to ensure that no other issues develop down there.
These Herbal Infused Postpartum Pads are just that, designed to give you the benefits of an ultra-absorbent pad, with the soothing blend of witch hazel, aloe vera, lavender, and peppermint to help with post-birth tenderness.
Warm & Cool Inserts
One of our favourite postpartum must-haves after a c-section are these Warm & Cool Inserts, which can help provide some much-needed relief from inflammation, irritation, and pain.
They’re specially designed to fit into the front opening of our Postpartum Briefs, where they can sit over the site of your c-section. Leaving you hands-free to take care of your baby as you also take care of yourself.
Pop them in the fridge or freezer to help provide some cooling relief from inflammation at the site of your wound, or warm them up in the microwave if you need some support for cramping as your uterus contracts.
Perineal Wash Bottle & Perineal Foam
You may not have given birth vaginally, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to feel some tenderness down there. Even simple tasks like going to the bathroom after birth can cause some pain, to both your caesarean wound and your vagina.
A Perineal Wash Bottle is perfect for gently cleaning sensitive areas after a toilet break or during a shower, without the pressure of wiping. For those who have had a c-section, you also have the added benefit of using the extended nozzle to help keep yourself clean, rather than straining your cut or stitches by trying to lean back and wipe. Fill it with your preference of cool or warm water to help provide additional relief, and air or pat dry as needed.
For extra relief, Perineal Foam can also help soothe irritation and bring some comfort and relief to vaginal swelling or haemorroids. It’s also designed to absorb into your skin, not soak into fabric or pads, so can be applied to postpartum pads for a cloud of comfort whenever you need it.
Skin & Scar Oil
Once your c-section cut has recovered fully you may find that you get the itchiness and discomfort that comes with a fresh scar. This Skin & Scar Oil is made with no harmful chemicals or fragrances to help nourish your skin, and can even help diminish the appearance of scars and stretch marks over time. Plus, it’s deeply nourishing, fast absorbing, and non-greasy to add to your daily self-care routine post-birth.
Feeding & Support Pillow
If you’re breastfeeding after a c-section you might find that you need a bit more support to help your wound recover. The act of holding your baby to feed can add extra pressure to your recovering abdominal muscles, not to mention a squirming feeding baby across your body while your cut is still recovering can make breastfeeding an uncomfortable experience.
We recommend investing in a Feeding & Support Pillow to prop baby up away from your wound and relieve some of the pressure on your muscles, making breastfeeding a more positive experience for both of you. Available in a range of colours including Birch, Gumdrop, Natural, Slate, and Sparrow, this pillow can also help with your posture for those tired late-night feeds.
The Complete Recovery Care Kit
If you’re looking for the works for a c-section recovery kit, or the perfect c-section recovery care package to gift to a friend or family member, this Complete Recovery Care Kit is designed to make postpartum recovery as comfortable as possible.
It includes all our favourites; Postpartum Briefs, Herbal Infused Postpartum Pads, Warm & Cool Inserts, Perineal Wash Bottle, Perineal Foam, Skin & Scar Oil, and an extra goodie in some Sitz Bath Salts.
Remember mama, your body has just done something amazing, so make sure you take care of it as much as possible after birth. And for dads and partners, making sure mama has everything she needs for her c-section recovery is just as important. So rest up, soak it all in, and enjoy your little one!