The Down and Dirty of C Section Recovery.

by | September 14, 2018

I had a C-section for the birth of my third child. My two previous births had been vaginal, so I had no idea what to expect. I’d heard stories from friends about how the recovery was tough but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come for a c section recovery after surgery.

Be Prepared For Your C Section Recovery 

1. Getting out of bed will hurt like hell.

c section recovery

“Can I get a little help here”

All new Mom’s want to leap into action as soon as they hear their new sweet pea crying. But just try and jump up out of the bed(no, don’t do that) It’s going to hurt. Even if by some medical miracle you’re able to sit up unaided, you’re going to be unsteady on your feet. While you’re in the hospital you’ll have the help of the medical staff and at the push of a button your bed will magically prop you up. But reality hits when you get home and all of a sudden you’re stranded on your own bed like a turtle and you need pee desperately. (Takes out cell and texts Baby Daddy…. “I need help”). “Your doctor will prescribe you pain meds, which you should take,” says Alyssa Quimby, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California to Self magazine. “That’s what they’re there for.” Once you’re home, experiment with rolling onto one side, using pillows or ask your partner to lend a hand when you want to get out of bed.

2. Going potty is petrifying and painful.

c section recovery

“Oh please no, don’t make me pee”

It’s a good job you’ve had nine months to practice your breathing, now is when you’ll actually put it to use. Going to the bathroom after my C-section was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. First, there’s the catheter removal, which is actually not that bad, but it is a little scary. Then there’s the hunched over shuffle to the toilet, then you slowly maneuver yourself onto the pot. You’ll probably feel like you really need to pee badly, but nothing will come out. You’re going to sit there for ages as the nurse hovers outside the door asking how you’re getting on. When finally, after what seems like an eternity, things start to trickle and holy-moly it stings. Dr. Quimby says “It’s totally normal to be irritated and should clear up in a few days”.

As for pooping, nothing is just going to come right out nice and easy. You’re going to have to put a little effort into it. Not only can it feel like you’re going to pop a few stitches, you may not even be able to go.There are a few reasons as to why this happens. Angela Jones, M.D., of says “Pregnancy hormones tend to slow everything down digestive-wise and things don’t just miraculously return to normal immediately after delivery, so if you were having issues with constipation during pregnancy, they are not likely to resolve spontaneously once your baby is delivered.” Also, the pain meds you’ve taken will slow everything down. Taking a little walk will help to get things moving again. Colace is your new best friend.

3. Nursing is awkward AF

c section recovery

“Ummm where am I supposed to put put this baby? I’ve been sliced open exactly where she wants lay.”

“It can be difficult to situate your newborn in a position that you can maintain for upwards of 20 minutes comfortably when you have an incision on your lower abdomen,” Quimby says. “I encourage my patients to play around with different positions. Many find the football hold, where you literally tuck your baby in along your forearm up to your breast like, yup, a football, to be the most comfortable post C-section,” she says. Don’t be afraid to ask your hospital’s lactation consultant for help, that’s what they’re there for. A breastfeeding pillow is great for positioning baby.

4. You’ll have an itch that you can’t scratch

c section recovery

“Somebody please tie my hands down”

Your incision site is going to be itchy. Even after you start to heal you’ll be fighting the urge to have a good scratch. There’ll also be numbness, it’s the weirdest sensation ever and it’s going to last a while. Five years on and I’m still a little numb in spots along my scar. This is because of the surgery. “When your obstetrician cuts through those layers, she may cut some nerves, which can result in the loss of feeling,” says Quimby. It’s not unusual for the numbness to last for several years.

5. Coughing and sneezing will hurt like the dickens.

c section recovery

“Uh oh, I need to sneeze”

Nothing can be quite as terrifying as needing to sneeze after major abdominal surgery. It can feel like you’ve ripped all of those stitches wide open. A little trick that I found worked for me, was to hold a pillow tightly to my tummy as I sneezed. Don’t try to be all cute and do one of those controlled quiet little sneezes, that’s going to hurt more than if you just let it out. Help your c section recovery by letting go of the good manners. 

Your throat is probably going to be a little dry afterward and you’re going to cough. The same advice goes here. Hold that pillow tightly and keep a glass of water handy.

A belly band comes in great here too, it holds everything in nice and tight.

6. There will be gas

c section recovery

“Something is stabbing me!”

Because air gets trapped in the abdomen during surgery you’re going to experience shooting gas pains. It pretty much feels like you’re being stabbed by knitting needles. The best way to get rid of this is to walk (I mean shuffle) around your hospital room. Your Dr will probably recommend taking Gas-X, this will help alleviate gas and bloating. Moving your legs around while in bed helps too.

Well, now that I’ve probably terrified you about hour c section recovery,  but try not to worry too much, as with most birthing experiences, you’ll probably get over it soon enough!


c section recovery
Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]



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