April is C-Section Awareness Month. The most recent data from the CDC states that 32% of all deliveries in North American are via cesarean section.
Most women leave the hospital with very little information on how to recover after their major abdominal surgery. Most are told to not drive, use stairs, or pick up their baby, or anything heavy, for 2-6 weeks. While this is important advice, there is so much more we can be giving our new mamas to help with healing.
My tips for promoting recovery in the first few weeks following surgery are as follows:
REST as much as you can. Your top priority is healing and caring for your baby. However, if you have a partner or someone helping you at home, they should be doing everything except breastfeeding and snuggling you sweet baby.
LOG ROLL instead of sitting straight up when getting out of bed. This means that you roll over to one side and then push yourself up with your arms. This will protect your incision from unnecessary pull.
SPLINT or hug a pillow over your scar when you need to cough, sneeze, or poop- especially that first bowel movement after your baby is born. Splinting helps manage the forces pushing out on your incision during these activities and can help with pain.
ALLOW MOVEMENT by taking easy walks. This gets the blood flowing which will promote tissue healing at your incision. It also helps keep things moving in your gut (constipation is the last thing you want to deal with) and overall feels good.
HYDRATE throughout the day. Water intake is important for the health of your tissues.
HUG your abdomen with compression from a gentle binder. There are many different compression garments on the market: belly wraps, bloomers, binders and leggings. External support should not be too compressive, rather you are looking for the sensation of a therapeutic hug. Compression gently supports your abdomen and helps approximate the tissue as it heals. Check out Baobei Maternity for some great postnatal products.
SCAR MASSAGE is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT once your scar has healed. Scar massage is recommended daily after being cleared by your physician or pelvic floor physical therapist. See the video below for more information and instructions.
Please remember this is not medical advice. I suggest consulting with your physician or a pelvic floor therapist with any questions or concerns.