Recovering from a C-section? What you need to keep in mind, mama

If you're scheduled for a C-section or might have an unexpected one, it can be nerve-wracking to think about what recovery will actually look like. I even had some feelings of loss after delivering this way and disappointment that this wasn't the birth experience I imagined. But however you bring a baby into this world is incredible.

Something that can get lost in the excitement of a new addition to the family is that a cesarean is a major surgery, and the subsequent 12 weeks are similar to healing from other surgeries.

The skin will heal first, but even though the wound is closed, tissue regeneration is happening below the surface. As moms, we'll be up and about caring for our newborn. But, consider this: If you had knee surgery, you wouldn't expect yourself to be "back to normal" a week or two later, right? But, C-section mamas usually focus on the baby, not the surgery

Unfortunately, this can have consequences for healing, such as wound stress, increased scarring (which can be painful for a longer time), more pain and a longer healing time.

But don't worry! There are a few tips that can help improve your C-section recovery from a mama who went through it.

1. Be gentle on your belly (and what you put into it!)

Post-delivery and for the first week or so, be careful what you eat. Because the surgery is in the digestive area, constipation is a real and uncomfortable problem that can last for weeks. Pain medications can also contribute to constipation.

Drink lots of liquids and eat soft and nutrient-rich foods (I celebrated with pizza on my second delivery and still regret it 11 years later!). Gradually return to a normal diet after your bathroom trips are easier.

Laxatives can cause cramping so be sure to discuss with your doctor or discharge nurse other options, such as Senokot type tablets that are made from trees and more gentle for most people. And, make sure to drink lots of fluids!

2. Prioritize laying down and getting off your feet

For the post C-section swelling, think of the pelvis as a bowl—it allows for the post-operative swelling and fluids to, well, pool. Getting off your feet and laying down for 10-15 minutes every one to two hours for the first two weeks can help this process.

Avoid waiting all morning to lay down, or just sitting down—you really need to lay all the way down, for short time periods, frequently. Snuggle up with your baby or your toddler, and look at it as extra time for love. Do what feels best as far as lying on your side or on your back, but as long as you are down, you are giving that "pool" a rest.

After that first week or two, the pelvis is STILL a pool. You'll be feeling better so you may try to be on your feet all day which may leave you with what looks like a hot dog bun of swelling around your C-section incision.

Limit this swelling by lying down before it happens even a few weeks after surgery. Swelling can be expected for 12 weeks. Make an effort to get off your feet and give your lower pelvic region a break, even if that means asking your village to help.

3. Choose your undies + clothing wisely

C-sections are common and many moms find themselves unprepared with the right items for their recovery after birth. If you've recently given birth and are transitioning from maternity clothes to postpartum clothes, you'll want to consider a few things first:

  • Is the material breathable?
  • Does it offer compression or support?
  • Do I already have this item in my maternity clothes selection?
  • Can I breastfeed easily in this?
  • Does it have buttons or extra latches or devices that I'll have to fiddle with?
  • How easy is it to throw on if I'm breastfeeding and need to open the door for a delivery or visitor?

As your body begins to heal, be sure to give yourself grace and buy quality postpartum clothes to wear after a C-section that will help with your recovery. Prioritize compression and comfort so it doesn't irritate your incision, but provides enough support for your belly.

Giving birth has often been likened to running a marathon. It's a long, difficult process and your body will need the proper items and time for recovery. As you heal from birth, whether it was vaginal or via a cesarean, know that you are amazing! You've grown and birthed a human!

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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My belly has been through some things.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yep, severe debilitating pregnancy-related vomiting), the pregnancies of each of my four kids, the 65 pounds of weight gain I have endured with each pregnancy, stretch marks, Occupational Therapy for pregnancy pelvic pain, unmedicated childbirth, and of course, postpartum recovery.

It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

Here's why I love Belly Bandit:

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