C-Section Recovery Must Haves and Timeline

Now that I am a few months postpartum (which means a few months since my C-Section) I thought I would share about my recovery and the must-have things that I needed to get through it. 

Side note: You can read about my birth story/C-section here (it was an unplanned C-section) and you can see my Post-Partum Kit post here – which I put together when I was planning on a vaginal birth, but a lot of the items can be used for either a vaginal or C-section delivery. Just a heads up, there will be some overlap between that post and this one, but both posts have unique items as well so I recommend reading both! 

I will say, while my C-Section was unplanned, I did do some initial research when I found out baby was breech and I thought that I may end up with a C-Section if my ECV failed. (It worked – you can read about it here). So, I was somewhat prepared with knowledge on what to expect in terms of recovery and things that I may need. Even if you are planning a vaginal delivery, you never know what could happen in labor and having some knowledge about what to expect with a C-section can be super helpful (and hopefully make the situation less stressful than it already is) so I recommend researching what to expect just in case. 

C-Section Recovery Must Haves:

  • High-waisted underwear: these are a must for helping everything feel “secure” and did not bother my incision. I wore these for about 6 weeks PP.
  • Maternity leggings and yoga pants: you do not want anything remotely tight on your incision or a waistband sitting right on it, so keep those maternity pants handy. It should also be noted that it was hard to get pants on (because bending is hard) so the PJ/Yoga pants were much easier those first few days compared too leggings!
  • Step Stool: I used this to help with getting in and out of bed for about 2-3 weeks. You *really* need it the first week, because even this simple task HURTS
  • Belly Binder: I started wearing mine about 10 days PP and it again helped things stay “secure” and also helped with pain management as I started moving around more
  • Scar Sheets: I started using these scar sheets after all of the steri-strips came off. They are supposed to help with healing
  • Scar Gel: I rotated using this scar gel with the sheets as per the instructions on both products. I do think they are helping!
  • Stool softeners: even if you have a C-section, you still need these!
  • Pain Meds: The hospital sent me home with Tylenol, Motrin and Oxycodone, I took them on rotation around the clock but gradually eased back on them after the first week so I wasn’t stopping cold turkey when I ran out.  

C-Section Recovery Timeline:

  • In the Hospital/First 3 nights:
    • I barely got out of bed while in the hospital. I wasn’t allowed to walk until about 16 hours post-surgery (I had a catheter) and after that, I only walked to the bathroom. I tried to stand/move around a little in the room because it does help with recovery but I never went too far. Pain was very minimal though because I wasn’t moving and I was also on a LOT of pain meds. (Between my oral pain meds, epidural before surgery and the morphine post-surgery). Don’t get me wrong – I walked very slow and had to use the handrail to use the bathroom (LOL) and the 30-minute car ride home was not super pleasant though. 
  • Rest of the first week at home:
    • This was when things got hard- I had to move around more and we have a two-story house. I had help from Miguel so I could rest, but I still had to move around some to take care of myself and the baby. I was also in charge of my own pain medication and had to figure out what I needed and when. Walking was tough and I was SO slow! Getting up and down from any sitting position hurt (especially the toilet and into and out of bed) and standing for long periods of time did not happen. 
  • Second week:
    • You will move a *little* easier but will still be sore! On Day 10 I took care of the baby all by myself, but all of the bending really hurt. It does start getting better this week though! This was when I was finally able to start looking at my incision. Previously, it grossed me out to look at (which is weird because it is my body), but I really didn’t even like looking at it in the mirror (it almost made me sick!)
  • Third-Forth Week:
    • You really start feeling like yourself and don’t need all the medicine anymore! There was still some soreness but I was definitely able to do more things and I think showering got easier in this time period too. After three weeks I definitely felt more like myself.  I also took the rest of my steri-strips off at week 3 and started having more “normal” showers. 
  • Fifth-Six Week:
    • Aside from occasional soreness when it got bumped or if I over did it with walking/moving, I was pretty much back to normal! Still wearing my belly band until about 6 weeks PP. I also put up my maternity clothes in this time period! Obviously, the incision is still noticeable but is covered by my underwear and is definitely looking better every week!
  • After week 6, I started doing very gentle ab exercises to fix any separation and going on walks and am slowly gaining my strength back!

If you are planning on your first C-section, just had an emergency one or just want more knowledge on what you may need and what to expect, I hope this is helpful! It is definitely not easy and it will be hard to move for a while but it does get better. Leave any questions in the comments below!

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