According to WHO (World Health Organization, approximately 18.5 million cesarean sections are performed yearly worldwide. About 50% of all countries have CS rates >15%. In the US, about a third of all babies are born via Cesarean section.
A cesarean section birth may not be the first choice of many would-be moms, but it has become more of standard practice in our world today. Although for a few women, having a C-section is necessary for medical reasons, some women may choose to go through a C-section because of personal preferences.
Regardless of the reason, if one needs to undergo a c-section delivery, solid preparation will go a long way. Because a c-section hospital stay is a little longer than a vaginal delivery, the patient would need to plan for a few more items that will help with your recovery in the hospital.
Therefore, packing for a c-section delivery and hospital stay is also slightly different from packing for a vaginal birth.
Dietary needs after a Cesarean Section Delivery
In most of the developed world, once a woman had a c-section, she is given a meal, mostly of fluids, a few hours later or the next morning, depending on the birth time.
At first, the doctor’s objective is to keep the mom hydrated and make sure that her body takes down the liquid diet before they try anything solid. Generally, a postpartum C-Section Diet includes water, fruit juice, specific soups, and high-fiber foods.
Doctors may also suggest the patient avoid items like fried and fatty foods or carbonated beverages. Here, the fundamental principle is to avoid anything that may cause gastric trouble because, after a c-section, the patient’s stomach is not ready to bear that.
Belly Wrap or Abdominal Binder
A C-section is major abdominal surgery. It is essentially a procedure of making a cut in the abdomen, opening it, bringing out the baby, and sewing it back. Therefore, the patient would need more support to heal.
An abdominal binder can help support the patient’s stomach and incision site. It also helps reduce the pain and discomfort of the post-C-section procedure. Wearing an abdominal binder will not only provide the support and stability a new mom needs, but it will also make her feel more comfortable.
The stability a belly wrap provides can make the mom feel more comfortable as she can move around without feeling the vibration in the abdomen’s recently operated area.
An abdominal binder is the most critical C-section recovery must-have. The hospital may give you a belt which you can take home. However, if you don’t get one from your hospital or get one that isn’t the right size or doesn’t feel right, here are some other postpartum belly binders that I love and recommend.
Postpartum absorbent pads
Like vaginal delivery, a C-section may also bring with it excessive postpartum bleeding. It may feel like a very heavy period for the first few weeks following childbirth that will gradually get lighter over the next two weeks. And therefore, the new mom will need special-purpose postpartum absorbent pads.
These pads can be made up of disposable material or cloth. Many experts recommend a large-size postpartum disposable pad that is free of chemicals so that the new mom doesn’t need to worry about any difficult process of disposing of them.
Your regular low-waist underwear may have an elastic band sitting right on your incision site and rub against your c-section incision. So, it is a good idea to buy a few high-waisted underwear. High-waisted underwear supports and helps speed recovery. These will make your life after a c-section much more comfortable.
Many new moms like the mesh underwear that the hospital provides. We recommend that they should take the unused ones home. These mesh underwears are soft and stretchy. They are also made for the post-c-section purpose because the waistband lies well above the incision.
Once these mesh underwears have also outlived their lives, it is a good idea to buy a few high-waisted cotton underwear. They are comfortable and high-waisted.
Getting a multi-layer cut in your body is not for the faint-hearted because the pain doesn’t end with the procedure. An ability to manage the pain post-c-section surgery is exceptionally crucial. It will help you focus on taking care of your baby and yourself.
For example, your ability to move around and taking deep breaths plays a crucial role in your faster recovery. Both activities help the new mom avoid getting blood clots or lung infections like pneumonia. However, if you are in constant pain without relief, you may not be able to get up and walk and take deep breaths.
Therefore, to stay on top of your pain is essential, and it can only be done if you take the medication that your doctor prescribes you on schedule.
For the first week or two, your doctor may prescribe an opioid painkiller to take care of severe pain. These will come with specific instructions of usage, so you must follow those instructions religiously.
After a few weeks, they may recommend taking acetaminophen like Tylenol or ibuprofen like Advil. You must ensure that your doctor is aware of your allergies and other habits for any medication you take.
There is a reason only women can give birth, and the reason is that women are mentally tougher than males. However, giving birth is the ultimate test of mental and physical abilities. One of the side effects of the whole C-section procedure is having an irregular bowel movement.
To make things a little easier, your doctor may prescribe you a stool softener. It is a good idea to take these without skipping. Stool softeners help in preventing the strain on your body, which could irritate your incision. They have a significant impact on your bowel movement in the first few months post-c-section.
Moreover, if the doctor has prescribed you an aforementioned opioid painkiller, it is crucial to take the recommended stool softener because opioid painkillers may cause or aggravate constipation. Having said all, do not forget to consult with your doctor before administering any stool softeners on yourself.
Comfortable and loose clothing
Most of the new moms also breastfeed their babies. So, if you are planning to breastfeed your baby, you must wear comfortable and loose clothing. It will ensure that not only but also your baby is comfortable while feeding. Many experts and experienced moms recommend having multiple nursing nightgowns. A nursing gown is much more comfortable than anything that could rub on your scar.
Nursing Pillow and Nursing Pads for breastfeeding
Having a nursing pillow protects your incision and provides a comfortable setting for your baby. It helps a new mom get her baby up to her breast without bending. It ensures that the breastfeeding activity doesn’t upset her c-section scar.
Even if you are not breastfeeding your baby, nursing pillows can be helpful. It is a soft pillow that will protect your c-section incision while feeding your baby with a bottle.
In addition to the nursing pillow, having nursing pads may also be useful for a new mom breastfeeding her baby. During your early weeks of breastfeeding, your breasts may leak occasionally. Nursing pads make you comfortable with this recent change in your body. Many moms wear nursing pads as soon as they started feeding their babies.
Comfortable Seating arrangement
After a C-section, it may not be easy for many women to get in and out of bed without much discomfort. To take care of this uneasiness, many women recommend having a comfortable recliner. You may also arrange a seating area where you can sit while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby for the first few weeks during your recovery post-surgery.
It is something that you may have to think about and plan ahead so that you have a nice seating area ready when you are home.
Maternity leggings, tanks, and nursing bras
Although you have delivered your baby, you may still not be ready for your pre-pregnancy size clothes. Your maternity clothes can help here.
If you plan to buy new ones, it is a good idea to get some high-waist comfortable maternity leggings that don’t rub against your c-section incision. Also, pairing these leggings with a few maternity tanks will help when you are nursing your baby.
Besides leggings and tanks, if you are breastfeeding the baby, having nursing bras can be a lifesaver. Equipped with an adjustable strap and clip down nursing feature, these are very comfortable and easy to use for the breastfeeding mother. They provide comfort and support all day long.
It is not news to anyone that motherhood is not easy. On top of that feeding, your baby will be a more frequent activity than you may expect now. Your baby would need you to nurse them very frequently in the beginning – day or night.
It may be challenging to get up multiple times at night and go to your baby. A co-sleeper next to or in your bed solves that problem. It is always easy to have your baby close by for easy feedings.
Baby Sound Machine
Although not many moms use it, few of the experienced moms benefitted from having a baby sound machine. It is a real sleep-saver and helps a lot if you start using it very early post-delivery. It not only helps your baby to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, but it may also help the mom sleep better with a bit of white noise in the background.
Vitamins and supplements
You may have been taking a few high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements before your delivery. These are good even after the delivery. They will help in faster recovery post-surgery and also ensure that you have all the vital vitamins and minerals you need to produce enough milk if you are breastfeeding.
C-Section Scar Prevention Treatment
While the proportion of c-sections in all deliveries has increased in recent years, the technology around it has also got better and more precise. Most C-sections done today are low-transverse incisions. It means the new mom can easily hide her scar behind her undergarments.
However, if you want to prevent a noticeable scar, you may purchase scar sheets and creams to help lessen their appearance and improve healing.
With all these preparatory steps, your cesarean section procedure would be much less uncomfortable. I wish you happy motherhood!!!