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C-section Postpartum Essentials: The 7 Things You Need to Heal

C-section postpartum essentials for moms who are preparing for a c-section. Grab these 7 things to prepare for postpartum after a c-section.

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Having a c-section can be lonely. I had one cousin and a friend who’d had a c-section before me. And ended up filtering a lot of my postpartum questions through those two because postpartum is a little different when you’ve had a c-section.

Turns out I didn’t need to know anything about pads soaked in witch hazel or how to sit comfortably, but I did need to know what was normal and what could help after my c-section.

A Few Things to Expect

There were a couple of things that surprised me after my first c-section. Here are the things no one tells you.

Maternity pants are not AMAZING. How many moms have you known who raved about maternity pants and wore them for months or years after having their baby? I definitely know quite a few.

Well, that lovely seam that you never noticed before between the belly panel and the pant material, sits right across your c-section incision. (Ouch!)

So what are you supposed to wear? I put together a whole list of suggestions for every occasion in my post on what to wear after a c-section.

You won’t bleed a ton. I watched so many videos and read so many posts about what to stock up on for postpartum and one of the things always mentioned is pads. Lots of pads.

I have so many pads left over from both of my pregnancies that I will likely never get through because of this. Much of the blood is suctioned out during your surgery so you will bleed, just not as much.

Your abdominal area will be tender for a long time. I may have expected this, but I didn’t expect it to hurt to raise and lower myself out of bed. Or to cough or sneeze.

I remember having to cough a lot right after my first c-section and deciding I’d rather deal with the tickle in my throat than the pain that came with coughing.

Lower back pain. Your whole core is going to be weak after having a baby. Those muscles have been stretched and opened up. If you’ve had a c-section, they’ve also been cut through. A strong core keeps your spine aligned, so this can cause a lot of back pain.

Before I had my babies, I was a stomach sleeper. After my c-sections, my spine felt like it was collapsing any time I tried to sleep on my stomach. Alongside this, I had chronic back pain that took a lot of intention to recover from (with stretching, exercise, physical therapy, and chiropractic care).

What’s the Best Way to Sleep After a C-Section?

Whatever is the most comfortable for you. For me the least painful way was the same as pregnancy–left side. You can add a pillow between your legs to help take pressure off your hips, which can sometimes contribute to pain in your pelvis.

C-Section Postpartum Essentials

Now that you know what to expect, here are some c-section postpartum essentials to have on hand to speed up the healing process.

1. High-waisted Underwear

You’re going to want to wear high-waisted everything for a while. Having a pair of underwear or pants that end right at your incision isn’t going to be fun.

You also want to buy these beforehand because stores don’t tend to stock a lot of these granny panty styles. I sent my husband out to buy them from Walmart when we got home from the hospital and they were not to be found. I had to wait for what seemed like forever for them to come in the mail.

For the first few days or so, when you’re bleeding more, these Always Discreet Boutique panties are the best thing to wear. They’re high-waisted, disposable, a lot more comfortable than a huge pad, and they also collect anything that comes out of your incision.

After you switch to pads, go for a high-waisted panty with a loose waist. These from Kindred Bravely were the best out of all of the options that I tried.

2. Regular pads

Get one or two small packages of pads. You might want some overnight and some regular ones. Unless you plan on skipping the disposable underwear, you don’t need any huge pads, from my experience. (Postpartum bleeding is not exactly the same for every woman, just like periods are not the same for every woman.)

Note: You cannot wear tampons for postpartum bleeding.

3. Gas-X

After you have abdominal surgery, a lot of air gets inside your body from it being opened up. This can cause intense pain in your shoulders (of all places).

Normally the hospital will give you a gas pill while you’re under their care, but it’s a good idea to have them at home too.

Gas and bloating are going to be painful for a long time since your intestines are pressing on the areas that were cut and are healing.

4. Scar treatment

If you think about any kind of cut you’ve ever had, as they heal they can get really itchy and uncomfortable. I found the Earth Mama Scar Balm to help with the itching and with healing my scar.

You can also use silicone scar strips and there are even specific panties for c-sections that have a silicone strip built-in. These are supposed to provide a cooling effect and help with making the scar less visible.

5. Loose and high-waisted pants/shorts

Stay away from anything that’s going to end at your incision or press on your lower belly. Again see my post on what to wear after a c-section for specific suggestions.

6. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen

You’re going to have some residual pain for at least a few weeks. You can alternate taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen once you go off the prescription medication.

7. An abdominal binder

An abdominal binder helps stabilize your core while you’re walking around. This also helps to support your back and correct your posture from pregnancy.

These are the 7 c-section postpartum essentials to help you heal. If you are still preparing for your c-section, see my post on c-section essentials to help you feel prepared and if you’re past the first few months postpartum and ready to move on, check out c-section recovery essentials to get you back to feeling like yourself again.

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