Did you know that Australia has one of the highest birth rates via C-section? Twenty years ago, the C section rate was around 20%; today it hovers somewhere around 33-36% of pregnant women giving birth via this method.
C-sections may be planned and necessary due to medical reasons, or it might be unplanned when complications occur during vaginal birth.
So what can you do to help recover after the birth of your wee little one? See our tips below for straightforward advice on how to speed your recovery.
Prep before your surgery
If you are scheduled for a C-section make the most of those nesting feels, and get organised before baby is due.
- Do a bulk cook of some simple healthy, easy-to-heat meals that can be stored in the freezer until needed.
- If you don't already have one, set up an online grocery shopping account so that you can jump online quickly to place an order after your baby arrives.
- Some C-section mums find it difficult to use stairs after their operation. If your bedroom is located on a different level to your home's main living area, you may want to consider relocating your bed temporarily while you recover.
- If the household budget can stretch to cover a cleaner for the first month, book it in!!
Take it Easy
Huh, what on Earth are you talking about? I just gave birth to another tiny human. I am its primary caregiver. How on Earth do you expect me to take it easy?? Yep, it's a crazy thing to say, but yes, you must try to take it easy. If your hospital allows 7 days for postpartum recovery, stay there for 7 days! Yes, staying in the hospital for that long is boring as bat poo, but the hospital staff can help a lot while you are there. They will provide your meals, clean your room, and even look after your baby if you need to sleep. Use that time to rest, recuperate and spend 1:1 time with your new baby. Drink up those new baby smells and sounds without worrying about making the next meal or tidying up. That will come soon enough.
Taking it easy can also include regular walks around your home, garden or neighbourhood. Gentle walking is excellent for the mind and body. Fresh air and sunshine can help with constipation after the anaesthetic, and walking increases your blood flow, which assists with wound healing. Of course, the mental health benefits of being outside in nature are second to none!
Drink plenty of water!
Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent constipation and keep things moving. In addition, some hospitals won't remove the catheter after your op until you pass enough urine. This is a check to ensure that your urinary tract was not damaged during the operation. Making sure you take in plenty of fresh water before and after will also help your body flush the anaesthetic and other drugs out of your system.
Consider Belly Binding
Have you heard of Bengkung belly binding? It's a traditional Malay style of belly binding used for centuries and is totally amazing. Check out the fantastic wrap style online.
You can, of course, go the traditional Malay route, or you could borrow/purchase a postpartum girdle that has adjustable straps.
Belly binding provides gentle support to your core muscles and pelvic floor as they heal. While belly binding is not necessary for you to heal correctly, some women feel more comfortable with the extra support.
Be realistic about your needs while recovering and speak up when you could use an extra hand.
If a friend or family member offers to stay the night or look after baby for the day, do it! Always accept the help that is offered. Consider hiring a postpartum doula or a night sitter to take the pressure off. Your body is healing after a major operation, and you're learning how to be a mum to boot!
Lastly, Talk about your Feelings.
After birth, your hormones will be on a rollercoaster ride, and sometimes it will feel as if you're only just hanging on. Being a new mum can make you feel super overwhelmed and lonely at times. Always open up to friends, family, health nurses and your medical support team about everything, the highs and the lows – you will be experiencing everything!! If this is your first bub, you will be on the most significant learning curve of your life, and as always, a problem shared is a problem halved.
I hope you enjoyed reading our recovery tips for a c-section, and they helped you. Good luck with your pending birth; we would love to hear how it all went!! Take care and enjoy your new little one.