Having a c section is a scary thing even after having one many years ago the second one was a lot worse than the first one as far as c section recovery time. If you have had a c section or even two or three you know what I am talking about! This is what I learned from my second c section and I want to share it with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes if you are having or had one too.
If you haven’t given birth yet and are preparing yourself you might like this article on Postpartum Essentials Every New Mama Needs
Recovery time varies from person to person and also has a lot to do with getting the rest you need and not overdoing it, eating as healthy as you can so that your body can heal properly. Well, nothing goes exactly the way you want it to right!! This is what happened to me the second time around ten years later in my 30’s instead of 20’s and it was a very different experience, to say the least.
Our bodies change every pregnancy and the second pregnancy was a lot easier as far as morning sickness goes and being super tired all the time, I wasn’t sick that often so that helped a lot. I did, however, have arthritis and swelling in my feet the last trimester and that was awful, but the c section recovery time was a lot longer than the first one which really took me by surprise.
Maybe because I don’t like to take it easy and the first time I didn’t have as much to do so I didn’t feel like doing a ton of things, not sure exactly but this is what I learned from having a second c section.
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C Section Recovery Time
After you have a c section it is very important to wear a belly band and have c panties to help speed up recovery and you must wear the belly binder for at least 6 to 8 weeks even if you don’t feel you need it anymore!
This was my problem I felt fine after a few weeks and it made me bleed more and cramp a lot so I stopped wearing it all the time and that was a big mistake let me tell you. Without the support of the belly binder, your abdominal muscles have a harder time coming back together and staying that way, so if you decide you don’t need it anymore they will slowly move back out and cause lots of recovery problems such as Diastasis Recti (you can read about it here).
This being said you must take it easy and ask for help even if you think you are some kind of supermom your body and self-esteem with thank you later for doing so. The problem with a c section is that it cuts through your core muscles so that all of your support in the front is not connected any more this makes it so difficult to stand for long periods of time, sit up, bend, reach and even walk.
You may find this article on Postpartum belly bands helpful when deciding if you should wear one.
If you choose to not slow down you are just hurting those muscles and causing yourself pain that you don’t need to cause it can result in pulling the muscles that started to heal or ripping them and making your recovery even longer or even long term problems which I am discovering now!!
I am saying this from experience because I didn’t rest much and decided to stretch to reach for things in my kitchen and pulled all kinds of muscles even down to my hips! Yikes not a good scenario to go through and very painful.
Also, I stood for longer then I should have and went up and downstairs which is hard on those muscles when they aren’t strong enough yet, so I can’t stress enough how you need to use a belly band or wrap and take it easy!
Here is a list of what not to do:
- Avoid stairs for at least 6 weeks
- Don’t carry anything heavier than your baby
- Don’t stand for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time without resting for a few minutes
- Avoid reaching up or down for anything
- Hold your belly if you sneeze or laugh because this can cause terrible pain and pulling of muscles
- If you stretch don’t stretch too much or you will pull your abs and cause more issues later (I had a hard time not doing this because my back hurt and I felt I needed to stretch)
- Don’t take showers for a few weeks because you have to stand and bend a lot it is better to take a bath or use a chair and give those unsupported muscles a break
- Don’t sit up normally try and roll yourself to a sitting position
How To Make C Section Recovery Easier
Make A Schedule
Create a schedule for yourself beforehand so that you have someone to come in and help with housework and grocery shopping so your husband doesn’t have to do it all (he will be just as tired as you with a new baby). Have meals in the freezer ready to be cooked so that you don’t have to figure out what’s for dinner or eat take out.
- Feeding at 3 am
- Diaper change 3:30 am
- Feeding 7 am
- Diaper change 7:30
- Eat breakfast or have a smoothie
- Play with baby
- Sleep at 8:30 am – in here you could have your mom or a relative or friend come over and help with cleaning or watching the baby so you can sleep
- Feeding 10 am
- Diaper 10:30
- Play – this time works well for someone to come and help out as well
- Lunch for mom at 11 am
- Nap at 11:30 – if you aren’t super tired you could have help at this time and relax while baby sleeps
- Feeding at 1 pm
- Diaper change 1:30
This gives you an example of when you have time for other things (reminds me of how little sleep you get and how often new babies eat lol, our son is 2.5 now so this was a long time ago but I still remember feeding him every 3 hours like clockwork) you can use this to get an idea of a schedule that may work for you and get the help you really need. Having support is a big thing during postpartum recovery!
We had a family crisis happen and almost lost a family member 4 weeks after our son was born so that made it hard to get the help I needed though my mom did help us out a lot! It was not a good time in our lives.
It should have been happy and wonderful and it was stressful and agonizing waiting for phone calls and sitting in the hospital or me at home alone with our son. I think it caused a bit of postpartum depression as well that really didn’t help with recovery makes me tear up thinking about it (everything turned out but is a bit different now).
2. Have Someone Come And Help
Hire a housekeeper or have friends and family scheduled different days to come in and help don’t sit alone at home with your baby and feel overwhelmed or cut off from the world! If you have a church you go to you can sign up for meal delivery (that helps a ton in the first few weeks). If you don’t have someone to get groceries to use the grocery delivery services like Shipt and a few others, some stores have their own delivery service. It will save you on having to get more diapers or formula, etc.
3. Sleep When You Can
Sleep when your baby is sleeping, I know this is a hard one especially when you just want time to yourself but in the beginning few weeks, your body needs the rest so give it a try for a few. If you don’t want to do this at least laydown and watch a movie or read a book something to relax and unwind. I did this for a few mornings but in the afternoon I felt anxious and wanted to get things done around the house, It seems like I have a hard time sitting still (unless I am writing lol).
That’s why I say have someone come in to help you so you don’t end up doing what I did.
4. Nutrition Is Key
Eat nutritious meals and have snacks in between this will help you heal faster and increase your breast milk! I recommend doing smoothies if you don’t feel like eating a lot. Sometimes the medication they put you on makes you not feel very well and it helps to have something in your stomach so that you can keep the same routine of taking them to avoid having intense pain in between.
Keep the same schedule as the hospital set in place it helps to maintain that for a few weeks until the pain subsides.
C Section Recovery Time TMI
Here is something that no one talks about because it is just icky but I am going to bring it up here, it is a big TMI for some. Postpartum bleeding and how long it lasts is a big thing that can even cause depression from lasting so long. You are already having a hard time and then in pain and uncomfortable from bleeding for months (Yes I said months ugh).
For more on how long the postpartum recovery timeline is and other helpful tips you may find this article helpful Postpartum Recovery Timeline
This last time I bled for 3 months straight like I was going to pass out from it just running out of me. It is disconcerting, to say the least, and made me cry because I just wanted it to stop already, plus you can’t use tampons and I can’t stand pads so it was extremely uncomfortable and disgusting to me.
If you find yourself in the same boat it is ruff but will go away I promise!! It lasts for a while and is most annoying so don’t be surprised at all if you do bleed for 3 months straight! Just be forewarned this can happen and prepare yourself to deal with it.
Try to focus on other things and not worry about how you feel about it, it is normal and will go away!! I don’t recall this happening the first time, I bled for a month maybe but it died out and I didn’t deal with it after that.
Like I said every pregnancy is different so don’t be surprised if the recovery is way different then the last time. This is something I wish the doctors would inform us about more beforehand so we aren’t taken by surprise when it happens and think, “I may be bleeding to death”.
For more information on postpartum bleeding, you might find this article very helpful Bleeding After Childbirth | What You Should Know
The only time to be super concerned is if it is a pad an hour and you are passing big clots, then it is time to call the doctor and go in because something is wrong!
Final Thoughts on C Section Recovery Time
Make sure to prepare as much as you can beforehand so that you don’t have a lot of things to worry about or deal with when you get home from the hospital. It is going to be hard for a month or so until you figure it all out.
Whatever you do take it easy on yourself and rest a lot, walking will help aid in the healing process but take it slow in the beginning and stop when you start to hurt. The last thing I am going to say is to take your pain meds on schedule so that the pain isn’t horrific!!!
Hopefully, you won’t make the same stupid mistakes I did and end up dealing with them 2.5 years later because it is so not worth it!! If you don’t take advice often, please take mine because what can happen is not worth your stubbornness to do what you want.
The consequences of your choices will lead to something you won’t like in the end so take it easy momma and don’t worry about being superwomen!! The time will come for you to go back to what you used to do but until then enjoy your baby and the rest you need more then you know!!
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Related Recovery Articles
What Is Diastasis Recti Postpartum and How to Heal It