C-Section Recovery Must Haves

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Congratulations on the birth of your child! Here are your C-Section recovery must haves to help you have a smooth recovery while caring for your newborn.

c-section recovery must haves

Preparing to deliver can be fairly stressful. Delivery is just one of the many things on your to-do list, right?

But what if birth doesn’t go as planned? What if you’re like me end up with a C-Section after a long labor? Then what? What if you planned a C-Section due to various reasons for the health and safety of both you and baby?

I’ll be honest. C-Section recovery must haves wasn’t even on my radar when I started preparing for birth.

I’ve had two C-Sections and both recoveries were completely different. My first C-Section happened after a long labor. My second was a repeat scheduled C-Section.

A brief overview of my labor. I was induced at 37 weeks due to preeclampsia. I was in labor for 24 hours, my epidural kept wearing off, and progress stalled at 9cm. My contractions weren’t strong enough to continue laboring and a c-section was needed before infection set in.

I felt prepared for a vaginal birth, but I didn’t have one.

I attended classes and read blogs. Books were purchased to guide me.

I’m an advocate for knowing your body, having discussions with your doctor, and making an informed decision that works best for you.

I was way more prepared for my second C-Section having already had the miserable recovery after my first. My C-Section recovery must haves are a mix items I had to quick buy after I came home from the hospital with my son (thank you Prime) and items I stocked up on before my scheduled C-Section with my daughter.

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C-Section Recovery Must Haves

This post does contain affiliate links and I recommend every product to a mom recovering from a C-Section.

High Waist Support Underwear

Your cute underwear you’ve been waiting to wear has to wait. Anything low cut is going to stay in the drawer until you heal.

Get high waist underwear. I ended up getting some from Fruit Of The Loom in a size bigger.  I also stole a pack of my husband’s new boxer briefs because it was just better to wear around the house while I wasn’t feeling well. While not incredibly sexy, I was feeling more like a truck hit me so the size of the underwear didn’t bother me.

The mesh underwear from the hospital was great, too. Get as much of this as you can! I avoided switching back to my regular underwear for a few months while my scar healed.

Loose Fitting Clothing

I didn’t plan too much into what I was going to wear home from the hospital and opted to wear a maxi skirt and a maternity t-shirt. The outfit was perfect for having a C-Section.

The skirt hit my incision and didn’t hug my lower belly and incision area. The shirt was loose and comfy.

I’d recommend for any woman to bring loose fitting clothing when heading to the hospital regardless of your birth plan. Be comfy, ladies. You just had a baby.

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An Essentials Basket

So, one of my big things when I got home from the hospital was that not only could I not move but I needed to be able to do things one handed.

I packed my Essentials Basket with things I would need – the remote, one-handed snacks, my water bottle, and my phone.

The one-handed snacks was an important one for me. I figured out early on that my son was going to spend most of his days in my arms. With breastfeeding, you know those early weeks can be brutal in building a supply.

I would get my basket ready in the morning and resupply when I had to get up.

Babywearing made the early weeks easier, but I didn’t even start until six weeks postpartum! To be honest, I don’t think I could have started to wear him immediately after my C-Section. I needed time to heal.

Support Pillow

I used my large body support pillow that helped me through pregnancy to get me through the worst of my recovery from the c-section.

I would take my pillow, fold it up, and put it under my knees to relieve the pain and what felt like stretching on my incision area.

Think about your hospital bed and how you can sit up, sit back, and move the bottom portion to get your legs up.

Having my legs up really helped me during those first few weeks.

I also used a lot of pillows to prop myself up in bed. This one is “find what works and feel better.”

Wound Care

One thing you need to do when you have a C-Section is keep your incision dry.  After showers, gently pat your wound dry. Taking a shower after the C-Section was very difficult for me and I often needed help in those early weeks.

After my shower, I would lay in bed. With the help of my husband, we would let the fan dry my wound and he’d help pat dry.

Speak to your doctor if you feel like something is wrong. At four weeks postpartum, I did make the call and they had me come in right away. There was a small opening in the wound.

Follow all directions given to you by your doctors. Seek help if you feel like something is wrong immediately.

To help keep my wound dry, I would use these pads for absorbency. They were a game changer for me and really helped with the healing process. Again, speak to your doctor!

Medicine

If you are prescribed a medicine for pain, take is as prescribed. I had only been given one week supply of medicine and asked my doctor for more.

Trust your body and speak to your doctor.

I am not one to take medicine often and find other ways to help myself if I can. To reach out and ask for more medicine meant I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t function. I truly needed the medicine for another two weeks and then switched to a non-prescription medicine.

Support

Without the support of my husband and family, I have no idea how I would have made it through those first few weeks. Lean on who you can.

We don’t live near family, so once everyone left after meeting our son, my husband helped make sure I had what I need to get through those long nights and days while he was at work.

He’d also make sure I took my medicine properly and that I was eating and drinking.

I couldn’t move for a few weeks without pain. He cooked, he cleaned, and most importantly, helped with the baby in areas that I just could not.

Getting up and down for a lot of diaper changes was very tough on my recovering body. He took on a lot of that while I rested.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Rely on family if they’re around and can help. Yes, we can do it all but we don’t have to. We have to take care of ourselves too.

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Additional Tips

  • c-section recovery must haves, recovering from a c-section, what do i need for a c-section, c-section tips, c-section advice, advice on recovering from c-section
    Be kind to yourself.
    Just because your neighbor was moving all about three weeks removed from her C-Section doesn’t mean you will be. Take your time. Your body just went through a major surgery after you had just carried your child and are now thrown into a world of not sleeping and confusion. Having a baby is hard, man.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. Everyone says this, but it’s so true when recovering from a C-Section. I know I did not get enough sleep and it’s the number one thing I recommend to all new parents however their child got here.
  • Talk it out. I had terrible feelings that I wasn’t “woman enough” after my labor stalled and I ended up with a C-Section. Comments about how your child is born started to sting. Anyone who’s gone through C-Section recovery knows they are woman enough to take on anything and did whatever they could to get their child here safely.


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Did you have a C-Section? What were your C-Section recovery must haves?

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c-section recovery must haves, recovering from a c-section, what do i need for a c-section, c-section tips, c-section advice, advice on recovering from c-section

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56 thoughts on “C-Section Recovery Must Haves”

  1. I second the motion that every c-section mother needs to snag as many of those gauze post-op panties she can get her hands on. They were the only thing I wore for weeks after having Zachary, and I actually wasn’t in too much pain. I was fortunate in that I healed really well, really quickly, and was able to get around (despite having a fractured rib from the process). But they are still the number 1 thing I would suggest. I kept stuffing them into my bag and telling every new nurse I needed more.
    Another thing that you don’t think about is having somewhere lower to the ground to sleep when you get home. Because of my rib problem, I may have had a harder time with this than others, but you just don’t realize how much you use those abdominal muscles! We have a higher than average platform bed and I could barely get in and out of it. Had I known beforehand, I would have made sure we had some sort of backup place for me to easily be able to sleep for a few weeks!
    My final recommendation would be to get one of those belly bands that velcros around your waist. It’s supposed to help the belly shrink faster and provide support for those healing muscles at the same time. I really did feel like it provided me with a lot of additional support when doing things like bending or lifting Zach. It kind of made it more difficult for me to accidentally overdo it.

    1. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups

      I love that you told every new nurse you needed more of the mesh undies! What happened with your rib? Was that from pregnancy? I did not use a belly band so I didn’t want to recommend something I didn’t use! It’ll be on my list if I decide to have a repeat c-section with future children.

      Ashley

      1. Oh the belly band was amazing. I saved it in case I need it in the future!
        Ugh, the rib was cracked by the assisting physician during the surgery. He was just really big so she had to push downward and I heard this awful, and painful, crack. And then again! Turned out to be a fracture. My Dr felt so bad.

  2. So many good suggestions! I had an emergency C-section with kiddo #2 and the recovery was not what I expected at all. Thankfully there are some wonderful products on the line (and I have an awesome husband!).

    1. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups

      I kept reading to stop taking the medicine early…but I could NOT function without it! Kudos to those mamas who could handle the pain, but man alive I couldn’t. I hope your next c-section recovery goes quickly!

  3. I’ve never had a C-section but I’m currently pregnant and always trying to learn all of the different aspects of pregnancy. Just in case I do have to get a cesarean, these tips seem awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great suggestions! I’m a labor and delivery nurse and have had one vaginal birth and two c-sections myself. The mesh undies are a lifesaver – ask your nurse for as many as you can get (we never mind giving them out by the handfuls!). One of the doctors I work with gives his patients abdominal binders after their c-sections. A lot of moms say this is very helpful and it helps avoid that “everything is going to fall out” feeling when you move around those first few days. And definitely don’t be afraid to speak up if your pain meds aren’t working. I took Percocet for two weeks after each of my sections. I know there are moms who do it with ibuprofen only, but that wasn’t me. Everyone is different. And everyone having a c-section should be prepared to ask for help in the weeks after, especially when you’re first home from the hospital. I had my mom come stay with me for the first two weeks both times and it was huge lifesaver as my hubby had to work. The first two weeks are rough… after that it gets easier every day. And if there’s one piece of advice I could give someone preparing for a c-section: get up and move as soon as possible after surgery, and walk, walk, walk … nothing will make you feel better faster. I know it’s the last thing you want to do, but trust me, it makes ALL the difference.

  5. I’ve had three sections- 1 urgent, 1 emergent, and 1 planned- and the recovery with each was very different. I completely agree with your suggestion to be kind to yourself. It’s major surgery coupled with exhaustion- take things slow and easy.

    1. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups

      So true. Recovery from surgery is difficult and it’s even more difficult when you have a newborn.

  6. I’ve had 5 c-sections and you have a great list here! The only thing I would add is to have a well stocked pantry and frozen meals that just need to be popped in the oven. The last thing you want (or should be doing) is grocery shopping or spending a hour on your feet cooking dinner.

    1. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups

      Great tip! We actually used Blue Apron for the first few months to help alleviate some of that need for the grocery store. My husband did a lot of the cooking too!

  7. Great tips! I had a c-section and even though I had it scheduled ahead of time, I STILL didn’t feel prepared! I’ll pin this for other momma’s to read!

  8. As I read through your post, I found myself saying “Yes” to each suggestion you made. Thanks for compiling this list. I’m sharing it with my friends who have questions about what to expect should they require a c-section!

  9. Oh I love this! I had an emergency C-section and honestly not something I wanted to do or ever have. Now after one I understand. My biggest recommendation is count on your people. I couldn’t get up the first day and like you said taking a bath was so so hard so count on people to help you.

  10. These are great tips! My hospital also gave me a girdle type thing to wrap around my midsection/over my incision to apply pressure to it. It made a world of difference when I had it on. I think I wore it at least for the first four weeks as I was healing.

  11. Pingback: How to Recover From a Cesarean Section Faster - A Mama Tale

  12. These are some great tips! I will be giving birth in June and of course need to prepare for anything, so this list will definitely help me (as last time it was a natural birth) – so I have no idea what to expect with a c-section. Thanks for sharing! I also steal my husbands boxer briefs now as even while I am pregnant they are the most comfy hahaha

  13. I’ve had two C-sections and on natural birth. I agree, you have a great list. I felt the recovery period was 100 times easier with my planned C-section than the one that went from natural birth but ended in C-section. So even moms who plan a natural birth should have in the back of their minds what they may need in case they end up in a C-section. The food is absolute must to bring in case you end up hungry in the middle of the night. That happened to me in my first birth and I had nothing to eat but Cheezits from my sister’s car. Prepare and bring snacks, especially one handed snacks, a great tip!!!

  14. I had two c-sections and for some reason with my second one I felt fine just days afterwards. It was so crazy! My first one was a long recovery though..

  15. Great tips here. My bestie just had a C-section and being that I had both my kids naturally, i found myself a little dumbstruck on what she needed from me. This is a great go to.

  16. I had a c with my first and I would not have been able to get by without my mom being there with me the first week home from the hospital. Support is key!

  17. I’m curious if your recovery was harder/longer due to being in labor first, or if we are all really that different. Ive had four c-sections. With each one I was up the next day, showering unassisted. I took percocet while in the hospital but only ibuprofen once I was home & never for longer than a week or 10 days. I also did all my usual housework and cared for my toddlers unassisted. I’m expecting my fifth, due in Aug & it will be my final c-section. I will ask my nurse for extra mesh undies, cuz that is one thing I loved! But never thot to bring home with me. Blessings to all mothers.. Its a wonderful job to be a mommy!

    1. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups

      I too wonderedif my recovery was so hard due to the 24 hour labor. Only time will tell if I choose to have a repeat c-section with my next child. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful recovery! Were all of your c-sections planned?

  18. Great list! I am ordering the absorbent pads now, my past two C-Sections they told me to put pantyliner’s on the incision, which just isn’t the most pleasant thing to do.

  19. Love your list & agree with everything you’ve said.
    Well done mamma, looks like you did a great job!

    We too live far from our family (8 hour flight to another continent) & he time between my husband going back to work & my mum flying in was HARD!

    I was induced at 41 weeks, in labour for 16 hours on pitocin (worst drug ever!) & only progressed to 4cm only with the assistance of a balloon catheter to mechanically open my cervix .
    Ended with a C-section & it was discovered that our boy had the cord wrapped around his neck… twice! This fully explained why I couldn’t dilate.

    If we have another baby, I plan for a scheduled c-section & plan for everything you’ve said above & I truly believe that the recovery is tougher if you’ve been in labour for a long time before as your body is exhausted so it will take longer to heal… we’re human after all, not machines!

    The only addition I would make to is to stock up on stool softeners to counteract the side effects of pain killers like Percocet (that’s what I took). Just buy the darn Colace & start taking them! Hahaha.

  20. Although my baby is now thirty-the important must have was a positive attitude. At first my unplanned c-section made me feel like a failure but with love and support of my doctor and family I stayed positive and remembered to take care of myself while my body healed and not try to “do it all”.
    I went on to have two natural drug free vaginal births after that. Either way my childbirth experiences were the most amazing days of my life. I just felt better after natural births.

  21. What type of absorbent pads do you suggest? My best friend is having a c-section and I’m trying to pack her an essentials basket. Thanks for the list!

  22. A girlfriend of mine just had a C-Section four days ago. She had to. I am due in about 2 weeks and the baby is head down so I am thinking I am okay, but you never know!!! Great tips! Also I love the one about being KIND TO YOURSELF — that I think is the MOST important!

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