April is Cesarean Awareness Month. In 2017 the national Cesarean rate was around 30% of all births, so they are more common than many people realize. While some individuals plan to have a scheduled Cesarean it may come as an unplanned outcome for others. In any case, the recovery from a Cesarean birth is a bit different than a vaginal one. Here are some of our tips.
1. Take the pain medication.
You may typically prefer more natural remedies to help alleviate pain and that is wonderful most of the time. THIS IS NOT THAT TIME. Remember, you have just undergone major abdominal surgery. It is OK to take the pain medication and it is strongly encouraged. Remember you will be learning to care for and feed a new baby so you do not want overwhelming pain to be your focus. Ask for the pain medication whenever you know it is time for it. If you don't want to keep up with it, ask your partner to put an alarm on their phone. Verify that the pain medication is compatible with breastfeeding (it usually is) if you are planning on nursing your baby.
2. Get moving.
We don't mean its time to run a 5k, but, if you are feeling up to it just getting out of bed and limited walking around the room can help you feel better and may decrease your recovery time in the hospital. Make sure you let your nurse know you'd like to get out of bed so he or she can be there to assist you.
3. Use all the pillows.
Pillows are your best friends post Cesarean. You can use them to prop you up when feeding your baby. Protip: place a pillow over your tummy to protect the incision site from an accidental kick from baby.
4. Pad yourself.
Take a maxi pad and place it with the absorbant side against your incision. Adhere it to your underwear. This will keep your clothes from creating uncomfortable friction against the incision.
5. Ask for and accept help.
This may be one of the hardest things to do. Remind yourself that you just had a major surgery and had a baby. Ask people to help with any older siblings, help you get sleep, and bring meals to you and your family. This is a great time to consider hiring a postpartum doula.
We hope these tips are helpful as you recover from your Cesarean birth and allow you to recover quickly and be able to enjoy your new baby to the fullest!