This post is sponsored by Bio-Oil but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
If you know you are going to be having a c-section or in the event that you may need one, there are some things you can do ahead of time to prepare. I just had my second c-section a few months ago and this one was definitely smoother since I knew what to expect. Knowing how to prepare for your C-section and recovery can help make it less scary and help ease your recovery.
Here are 8 tips on how to prepare for your C-section and recovery.
1.) Have a discussion ahead of time with your OBGYN.
Have them explain the procedure in detail from start to finish. Being familiar with what is going to happen ahead of time can help alleviate any anxiety or fears you may have.
2.) Make your wishes known.
Even when a csection is necessary, it doesn’t have to take away from your birth experience. If there are special things that you want, talk about it with your provider. Many hospitals now have clear drapes or a drape with a window so that you can see when baby is born if you wish. Ask if someone in the operating room can take photos for you so that you can capture those moments. And if skin to skin is important to you, ask if you can do skin to skin in the OR as long as baby is healthy. You can still make the experience as special and memorable as possible.
3.) Be realistic about pain management
A c-section is major surgery. I will say it again. A c-section is major surgery. The idea that you will be pain free is unrealistic. Depending on the type of anesthesia you receive, usually your pain will be really well controlled for the first 18 or so hours, maybe more. I remember my first day post-op, I had no pain, I felt like a million bucks. I got up, took a shower, walked some laps around the unit. My nurse had offered me some pain medication throughout the day and I declined since I felt great. Later that night, once all of the visitors left and the adrenaline wore off, I was hurting. Don’t wait to take pain medication until your pain is unbearable because then it can be hard to keep up.
It’s normal to feel some burning or a pulling sensation around your incision as well as cramping. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding or pumping. That cramping or “afterpains” as they are called, are due to your uterus shrinking back down to its normal size. If the cramping becomes unmanageable, try a warm pack or some over the counter pain medication.
4.) Bring comfortable clothes to wear postpartum.
I lived in these dresses throughout my recovery and still when I am just around the house . Not only were they loose and looked cute, but they were also great for nursing. You don’t want anything that is going to be binding around your abdomen. Check out my checklist of what to pack in your hospital bag here.
5.) Get moving
It’s important to get up and moving soon after surgery. I remember that first time I get out of bed I felt like all of my organs were going to fall out of me and I was slow, but each time got easier. Light walking and moving around not only helps with healing, but also to get your bowels moving again after surgery and to help prevent blood clots. But with that being said, you just had major surgery. Listen to your body. If you get tired, rest. And use your bleeding as your guide. Sometimes when you get home and you start doing more you may notice that your bleeding picks up. This is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy.
6.) Prepare your home
You may need to make some minor adjustments to your routine when you get back home. First, you will need to limit your use of stairs. I mostly hung out on our first floor in the living room. In there, I created a little changing station with diapers, wipes, and extra clothes for baby in the pack and play.
I also found it difficult to sleep in bed for the first week or so since lying flat really pulled on my incision. Sleeping in a recliner was the only way I could get comfortable. And once I was back in bed, having a co-sleeper that you can pull right up beside you is great that way you can easily tend to baby.
7.) Nourish your body
It’s important to eat a healthy diet. Foods rich in protein, Vitamin A and C are known to help with wound healing and repair. Also increase your dietary intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber. This will help keep your bowels regular. Be sure to drink plenty of water, even more so if you’re nursing.
8.) Accelerate healing
It takes time for your incision to heal. Keeping it clean and dry will help prevent any infection. Once your incision has healed completely, Bio-Oil can also be helpful in reducing the appearance of your scar as well as any stretch marks from the pregnancy. (You can read more about Bio-Oil in a post I previously published here.) I used Bio-Oil throughout my pregnancy to help keep the skin on my growing belly hydrated and to help reduce the appearance of any stretch marks. I have continued to use it twice daily and while it has not taken away my stretch marks, they are definitely less noticeable.