Looking after yourself
Your baby’s health and development depend on your health and wellbeing – and this is never truer than in your baby’s first months of life.
A caesarean makes an incision through several layers of tissue in your lower abdomen. This core part of your body normally takes the brunt of much of your movement, twisting side to side and stretching and contracting in the slightest of movements. Therefore it’s important that you…
Limit some movements…
Lift only things that weigh as much as your baby (including your baby) and no more. Be careful with all the normal things you wouldn’t usually think twice about: getting out of bed, showering, reaching for things in the kitchen, preparing food and even laughing. Breastfeeding, too, can be impacted by caesarean recovery.
…but take up others
It’s also important to resume some amount of activity. With the advice of your pregnancy team or your doctor, you can start light activity such as pelvic floor exercises or daily walks. As long as these activities don’t risk any damage to your wound, they will help your lower abdominal and pelvic floor muscles recover from the pregnancy.
Driving and sex, however, are two things that must wait until your wound is completely healed. Your doctor will advise you on when it’s safe to do either, but only take them back up when you feel ready.
Be kind to yourself
Get as much rest as you absolutely can. Any downtime or sleep helps your recovery. Although baby-on-mum time is critical, seek the support of your family and friends for other around-the-house jobs or with food shopping and preparation. Because you can’t drive until your wound is healed, don’t hesitate calling on your support network.
Watch what you eat…
Drink plenty of fluids and opt for a high fibre diet of healthy and nutritious wholefoods. This will reduce any need for exertive pushing when you go to the toilet.
…and what you wear
Wear only comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that provides you easy access to your stitches. The ventilation will assist your wound to heal while also allowing you to monitor it, clean it and change any dressings as necessary.
Looking after the wound
Keep the wound dry and clean and change any dressings regularly. Hot water bottles or wheat bags can help relieve some of the pain, but talk with your doctor about taking any painkillers, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
And if you see any signs such as increasing abdominal or back pain; prolonged complications with urination and bowel movements; increasing vaginal blood loss or discharge; sudden swelling in your lower legs; or infection in the wound itself, you should speak to a doctor immediately.