"Take advantage of the nurses for the time you are in the hospital. They are there to help you and the baby. Make sure you have somebody at home with you at least for one week after you get out of the hospital. Don't push yourself, you could make things worse and prolong recovery. Accepting help is the key to a quicker recovery. Enjoy the help. Before you know it you will be back up and about and doing everything by yourself!" Andrea
"I didn't have a bowel movement for three days post surgery. I guess I was scared to push. Big mistake!! I was backed up for weeks. I'm not back to normal not even now. So be sure to walk and try to go to the bathroom as soon as possible!"
"Don't believe the myth that if you have a C-section you will never get your figure back. Until I got pregnant with my fourth baby, I was a size 5 even after having had three previous C-sections. You just have to watch what you eat and exercise, even if it is only walking. One tip: don't drink anything carbonated for the first few days. The carbonation will make your stomach bubble and cause pain. Take a stool softener starting about two weeks before you are scheduled to deliver, whether you are planning a vaginal birth or a C-section. This will help!"
"The hardest thing about having a C-section was doing housework. If you know you are going to have to have a C-section, get together with your friends and family to see if they will pay for housecleaning services as a gift to you and the new baby for a few months. My husband did that for me and it made things so much easier."
"My best advice is to read and listen to others but go in with the expectation that your body is different and you will have to feel it out for yourself. This goes for labor or a C-section. I'm heading for my third C-section in June and I know from having two previous ones that I feel really good really quickly but if I don't take it easy, I will get sick. Also, talk to your doctor and see if you can visit labor and delivery and talk to them. Know the policies and procedures of your hospital even if you plan to deliver vaginally. Every hospital is different."
"For those who have a two-story home, try to only use the stairs once a day, just to go to bed. And do everything possible to lay low for six weeks. It worked for me. I had absolutely no problems recovering. I have heard many stories where moms feel good and start doing more and then end up regretting it later. Take this time to be pampered as much as you can."
"My biggest tip is to get help. A C-section is not a vaginal birth, and it's a mistake to treat it like one. Don't try more than you are ready for, and don't worry about those things that you just can't do yet. Don't try to be a hero. Also, don't let anyone, not even the doctors and nurses push you around. In my case, the doctors discharged me after 48 hours, and I was absolutely not ready to go home. I was back in the hospital with severe complications a day later. If you're not ready to go home, make sure you say that. And take the pain medication that you're given, without letting the previous dose wear off first."
"If you are expecting, educate yourself on C-section procedures. Whenever I saw an article about a C-section, I would just skim over it because I assumed that I would have a vaginal birth. But when my baby's heart rate dropped, I had to have a C-section, and I realized I didn't know much about them. My nurse was wonderful though. She answered all my questions before surgery, so I wasn't afraid … Go slow on stairs, even if you think you feel terrific, and if you have a high bed like I do, use a stool to get into it because if you don't, the pain is just too much! Use the side-lying position to breastfeed or purchase a Boppy for breast or bottle feeding to keep baby off of your incision."
"Make sure you put your hospital bed down flat when you sleep at night. Your bed at home is flat and if you get used to sleeping upright at the hospital you won't be able to sleep in your bed at home. I had many friends that had to sleep in their reclining chairs at home because of this, but thanks to a wonderful nurse I was able to sleep in my own bed."
"Make sure you keep your incision clean and dry, and if you think you have problems go to the doctor and ask about it! My incision got infected, and took 12 weeks to finally heal. (We eventually discovered that I am allergic to the dissolveable stitches.) Don't be afraid to call your doctor with any post-op questions. They'll be happy to answer them, and if they aren't, then you need a new doctor." Ashley W.
"In addition to normal baby blues, I felt like a complete failure as a woman because I could not deliver naturally. A lot of family support and love helped me through it and I realized that you do heal and return to normal. My daughter is healthy and beautiful and worth every minute of pain or inconvenience. I think if I had been prepared I could have handled it better. My advice: read about all birth scenarios and talk to your doctor and people who have experienced them; you never know what will happen once you get to delivery."
"Educate yourself prior to having a C-section. I knew a C-section would be possible for me yet I did not research it much. When the time came and I had a C-section I did not realize how much I didn't know. I also found out nurses have different opinions and your nurse will make the difference. If my nurse I had on the third day was my nurse on the first day my life would have been much easier. She recommended the abdominal wrap to support my abdomen, suppositories to relieve my gas buildup, and pads to put over my incision. She also told me the Tylenol® with Codeine I had been taking contributes to gas buildup. The next day I felt 100 percent better."
"A nurse told me to rock in a rocking chair or lay on your stomach to help with the gas pains. Wear a girdle that really supports your incision and your stomach. This one really helped me when my incision was healing. Place a sanitary napkin over your incision this really helps to keep it dry and not get infected."
"I had an emergency C-section after a night of premature labor and a placenta abruption in the doctor's office. My best advice is to take the pain medication! Never having surgery before, I woke up in terrible pain (I had no time for an epidural or spinal block), and would stupidly let the pain medication wear off before asking for more. Take it as directed and don't be afraid to ask the nurses for it."
For Scheduled C-sections, Use the Time Beforehand 15 of 25
"I had my C-section two years ago. It was planned as the baby was breech. It was the most wonderful thing in the world. I wouldn't want it any other way. Since it was planned, I had time to clean my house, go to the grocery store, and not feel rushed to get to the hospital. It was also a lot less stressful on my husband. As far as recovery—definitely the first time you get up is the worst, but after that shock it gets better every day. My husband was able to go back to work two days after we came home from the hospital, and the baby and I did great! We were at Wal-Mart when he was a week old!"
"Prepare a number of dishes and freeze ahead of time, at least for a week. Recovery is not only strenuous on your body but also on your emotions, possibly even on your relationship if you're not careful. Rest as much as possible and make sure to do your Kegel exercises daily. If you're able to breastfeed that will help you emotionally and physically."
"The best advice I can give is after you get the OK to get out of bed, do it! I found that the more I moved around the better I felt. The only time it really hurt was when my family was visiting me and making jokes in the room. Who would have guessed that laughter could be so painful! Also, keep up with your pain medication—don't stretch it out too far, or it takes forever for it to take effect again."
"I had to have three C-sections and believe it or not, each one got easier to recover from! It sounds crazy but I guess I learned how to help myself get around more. The best advice I can give is to accept help from anyone who is willing to give it. Remember, they wouldn't offer it if they didn't really want to!"
"I just had my second C-section two months ago. They were both so different. My first one was an emergency C-section. They gave me an epidural and 17 staples. I had a really hard time moving and getting around after that, and it also got infected and had to be re-opened. My second surgery was so much better. They gave me a spinal tap. Instead of staples they just did the absorbable stitches and glue. I was up walking and eating the same day I had my son. I will never have staples again and would recommend to other women not to have staples if the doctor will agree to it, because that is what keeps a woman down longer than necessary."
"First off all, don't feel like a failure. The most important result is a healthy baby and any manner in which that child comes into the world is great. Don't let the doctors push you around. I had an anethesiologist comment, 'Low pain tolerance' when I told them my epidural was wearing off. This was after 36 hours of horrendous back labor and an eventual last-minute C-section. Speak up for yourself. Next, accept that you are going to be uncomfortable. Don't be a hero about it, but let's face it, things are going to be sore. Lastly, get a bassinet on wheels. A lifesaver."
"I have had three sections and I have four children. All were different but the pain was not. Some simple tips: always have a support person around; someone you know will help you out. Don't overdo it (I found that one out the hard way!), and take time out to rest. Take your pain medicine, that is what it's for. I always waited till someone came home and took it so I could rest, and then again at night. Finally, use a pillow! It works, especially if you have to sneeze, get up, or use a loud voice. And lastly, enjoy that baby!"
"We used our guest room for me to sleep alone. My husband set up the bassinet and the baby monitor there, so he could hear me if I needed help. I was able to rest better, propping myself with pillows, stretching out anyway that was comfortable, and never getting bumped by accident."
"I just had my third C-section. Thinking positively is very important. Accept all the help you can get. I found that you have to listen to your body as it strengthens and heals. Don't compare one recovery to another, they are all different. You will be back to normal in no time. Keep thinking those happy thoughts."
"I was past due and just starting back labor. Because the ultrasound showed that the baby may be over 10 pounds, we were told it was in our best interest to have a C-Section. I walked a lap around the hospital the very next day, then two the following day. I think the key is to walk—plus I drank warm prune juice at bedtime to help keep my system moving!"
"I guess the best advice is to not let it get you down. It is painful, but you will start to feel better in a few weeks. Do what the doctor suggests and don't be afraid to ask for help from family. I couldn't have survived without my mother and husband. Also, go out everyday even if it is to just walk around the block; it helps speed up the recovery. Most importantly, enjoy every minute with your new beautiful baby. They get big so fast."