Are you planning a c-section for your baby’s birth?
Having a c-section can be shocking (especially if you’re not prepared for it.)
I was shocked by mine – and partly based on that experience I can suggest some ways to prepare yourself for it.
Of course, this will only apply if you’re having a planned c-section. By definition, if you have an emergency one its an emergency, so you can’t really plan for that!
But, hopefully even if you read this after having an emergency c-section, you’ll be equipped to recover better and faster!
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Plan For Help
This is vital.
You’ll be recovering from major surgery AND looking after a newborn. Please have someone able to come and visit each day or as much as possible, or better yet make peace with your mom and ask her to stay with you (or you with her!).
If you’re part of a church or a community of some kind and there are people who offer to help before the baby is born, take them up on it! See if you can have an informal roster so you know you have someone around each day while you are recovering.
Say yes to every offer of help you get.
You don’t necessarily know how you’ll feel after the drugs wear off and you’re left at home trying to move around the house while carrying a very precious little bundle of baby.
I know it’s really hard to say yes to any offers of help before you are in the position of needing it because we all like to be independent. Sometimes it is hard to say yes even when you desperately need it right then and there! But if you can have help planned you will recover so much better and so much quicker.
This is actually good advice for anyone having a baby – even if you aren’t have a c-section! If you have someone around with you for the first while then it helps you as you work out how to do life with this new tiny person. And the ideal would be to have someone as well as your partner since he will be learning how to cope with this new tiny person too!
Driving is a nono after a c-section – I never knew how much we use our tummy muscles to do simple things like driving until I had a c-section!
Try to find ways to get what you need done without you being the driver, for example:
- have a helper drive you (in your car with your newborn seat) to and from your appointments
- order your groceries online and either have your partner or a friend click and collect or have them delivered
It will pay off, believe me.
The standard advice is 6 weeks without driving. Here in New Zealand it is given as EXTREMELY STRONG medical advice.
Set Up Your Bed
Again – you probably won’t realise how much you use your tummy muscles for ordinary everyday activities until you have a c-section…
Getting in and out of bed is one of those things.
You need to make it easy to get in and out of bed without having to strain. You want to be as gentle on those muscles in your tummy as you can.
This could mean making your bed higher so that you can sit on it easily to then roll to lie down. It may need to be lower. But however you need to set it up, you will want to be able to sit and roll into a lying position without straining those tummy muscles at all, trust me.
If you can’t adjust your master bed, you might want to try any other beds in your home – it’s totally ok to do your recovery in a different bed than usual.
Find Good Chairs
Likewise, chairs that you do not have to work hard to get in and out of will help so much.
For example, my sofa is incredibly low. It is SO bad for anyone recovering from surgery. However, my home office chair is super comfy and can be raised or lowered (just make sure you mind the fact that its got wheels).
You may already have this sorted depending on how your pregnancy has gone. But instead of lugging that big tummy and baby around, you will be wanting to shield your tummy from any pressure whatsoever.
Oh and go heavy on the cushions or pillows to have behind your back for support. You’ll not regret it.
Set Up Essential Baby Care and Self Care Stations Around the House
Have a station at each place that you will want to base yourself. At the station have the things you will need or want most. The idea is to reduce the number of times you need to get up and down!
What you want at your station will depend on your preferences, but I liked having a drink, something to read, my phone (which moved with me of course!), a snack, and what I needed for feeding baby.
I have covered this more in the past when I talked about tips for night feeds and Cath has more on a breastfeeding station as well.
- keep your postpartum care kit over the toilet where you’ll need it.
- keep supplies like nursing pads close by for after your shower (and at your breastfeeding station)
- if you’re formula feeding, set up a station in your kitchen
- make sure your diaper change station is well stocked with supplies, you might even like to have a diaper change basket that can be carried from room to room as you need it (just make sure you return it to home base after you use it so you can find it again!)
Extra Meal Prep
There may be days when it really hurts to do some of the basic things for prepping a meal, even if you are not too exhausted to do it because you still have that tiny baby who needs lots of attention in the night, right?!?
Most people think to get meals ready for the first days after having their baby. But it’s even more vital if you are having a c-section. You want to get as many extra meals ready as you can fit in your freezer.
Make sure you prep as many freezer meals as you can before your baby’s birth. You could even ask friends or family to join you and make a fun afternoon of it!
If there is someone who could come and stay and cook for you – that would be an added bonus! My friend had a younger sister who came and stayed for 3 weeks after she had her baby and did all the cooking and cleaning for her. Now that would be amazing!
If you have lots of friends who want to bless you with a meal, you could ask if they’d set up a meal train!
Postpartum is also a great time to consider buying into a delivery meal box like HelloFresh. While you still have to cook it, you can choose the quickest, easiest meals and not have to worry about shopping for ingredients.
Add Clothes with Tummy Support to Your Hospital Bag
I thought I’d want loose clothes and NOTHING tight on my tummy at all. Turns out that having something bracing and holding me firm was actually much better.
Now it may not be for you. And I have to clarify: this is not medical advice!
But I had a cough and when I needed to cough it was agony! So having something bracing my gut and holding me in helped. I also put an extra towel against my tummy if I needed to laugh or cough or brace myself to move. A nurse in the hospital showed me this and I then started having a towel with me as I moved around! It just made me feel safe I think…!
So the second time around I had some of my well-fitting pregnancy clothes in my hospital bag to help brace my stomach and help me feel supported. It could be as simple as some over the bump pregnancy leggings.
What Else Would You Add?
If you had a c-section what else would you suggest to prepare for it? Let us know in the comments!