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motherhood, Pregnancy

cesarean birth recovery tips and tricks.

In this article below I’m sharing some tips on Cesarean birth recovery from my personal experience and perspectives. Hope they help you if you are about to or have just had your baby via c-section!

Having a c-section birth is no small feat, it’s a full blown major surgery with 6 week cesarean birth recovery time. In saying this it doesn’t have to be scary and there are lots of things you can do to support your recovery.

If you are heading into a scheduled cesearean or are planning for all outcomes and want to prepare for the best experience for your big day please read my PREPARING FOR A POSITIVE CESAREAN BIRTH BLOG HERE.


Please remember this is just tips from my own experience. Please do not take as medical advice.

  • Getting up after your csection will bloody hurt the first time – there’s no sugar coating that part. Make sure they give you some pain meds about half an hour before you get up. You will feel like it’s impossible to stand straight or take any steps BUT you must get up and move as soon as you are able to help with your recovery. Each time it will get easier and you will be moving normally again.

  • It’s going to hurt to laugh, cough or sneeze for around 4 weeks during your cesarean birth recovery. If you need to lean forward and hold a pillow over your incision to do so.

  • Get your bowels moving. The cocktail of pain meds and hormone changes will cause constipation so you really want to get things moving ASAP to avoid too much pain. Take a bag of prunes in your hospital bag and if they don’t offer them as part of your post op meds request they give you some laxatives. You’ll feel so much better after that first toilet trip even though it hurts a lot!

  • Day 3 after the surgery has to be the worst I think personally. You’re tired, hormonal, your milk is starting to come in and the pain is really amped up from you starting to move around BUT  each day from there will get easier, it hurts but its not unbearable. You’re a warrior and you will be okay!

  • Accept the pain meds when you need them. There is no point in allowing yourself to feel extra pain than you need to. They will also help you to be able to be more mobile which aids with recovery.

  • If I could recommend one thing to you it would be to stay in hospital for as long as you can for your own recovery. I know the thought of your own home and bed is nice but this short period of time is so crucial to your recovery. Not only will you be able to relax and recover you will have the help and assistance of midwives, doctors and physios to gain knowledge on your recovery, help establish breastfeeding and help with your new baby. You will never get this time again with your baby alone with out the responsibilities of life so try to take it in as much as possible. This is even more important if you have other kids at home who will require your attention and probably want to climb and jump all over you.

  • Don’t do anything that strains the ab muscles.Don’t try to use your abs to sit up from laying down on your back. Roll to your side and use your arms to push yourself up.

  • Belly bands, abdominal binders and support garments will be your best friend. Try to use something as quickly as you can to support your core and back during your cesarean birth recovery. It will also aid in the recovery of abdominal separation and can support your wound. I used the Tubigrip supplied by the hospital physio for the week. From there move on to SRC RECOVERY SHORTS and/or these more affordable version from BUBBA BUMP – these are so amazing especially if you have abdominal separation.

  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet. Your body is recovering from major surgery as well as recovering from birth/pregnancy PLUS will be producing breast milk to nourish your baby. The most beneficial thing you can do is too eat a healthy diet full of nutrients and DO NOT starve yourself.

A diet high of warm, easily digested foods is best to aid recovery post birth. Foods like soups, broths, stews, curries, Dahl are high in nutrients and are easily digested by your body. Think soft and warm.

A diet high in protein, essential fatty acids and anti-inflammatory foods will aid your recovery and help nourish your beautiful body.

Some important vitamins/nutrients include during your cesarean birth recovery:

Collagen (broths, gelatin gummies, meat with bones or collagen powder supplements)

Protein (meat, fish, seeds & legumes)

Essential Fatty Acids (nuts, fish, chia seeds)

Vitamin A (spinach, sweet potato, liver, pate)

Vitamin C (broccoli, oranges, strawberries, papaya)

B vitamins (eggs, yogurt, avocado, nuts)

Vitamin B12 (salmon, beef liver, nutritional yeast)

Iron (dark green leafy veg, spinach, red meats)

Magnesium ( high strength supplements are best )

This all might sound overwhelming but there are a lot of free recipes out there online. You can purchase any of the below books which have all been specificlaly written with postpartum recipes. Carve out some time or ask your family and friends to help cook up before you have the baby so you have some ready to go when you get home from hospital.






  • Drink plenty of water. Its so important to keep up your water intake for recovery as well as milk production. Try to aim for 3 liters per day. The HYDRAMAMA hydration sachets are perfect for pregnancy , postpartum and breastfeeding. They contain electrolytes for hydration as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. I like the passionfruit & orange or blackcurrant flavours best. Use code “BRITT” for 20% off SHOP HERE.

  • REST – GET HORIZONTAL. This sounds so obvious but its true. REST, REST, REST!! Lay down flat and take the pressure off your pelvic floor, abdominal wall, wound and whole body and stay there! Most of your recovery will happen naturally and easily if you just lay down. The more time you spend resting, the better. Get that beautiful baby and lay together skin to skin as much as possible. Soak it all in. Let others do everything around you. The world can wait, you deserve it, you must rest. Get it? Good.
  • Don’t do anything to strain the abdominal muscles. Practice rolling on to your side and using your arms to lift yourself from laying. Do NOT perform any type of abdominal exercises like crunches or sit-ups.

  • Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks. This can and will be hard if you have small children but you must remember the longer you allow yourself to heal at the start the quicker your recovery will be. Have special cuddle time on the lounge with other young children. I also find actually showing them your wound helps them to understand why Mummy can’t pick them up.

  • Ice your wound to reduce inflammation .

  • Keep moving. Try to move around and do short walks around the house but don’t over do it. Each week try to walk a little further each day . Start with to the front fence, out the gate, one block down the road and eventually around the block over the weeks. Do not try to walk with the pram to the cafe or to get coffee too soon. It’s not worth it.

  • Avoid exercise until at least your 6 week check up. Do not listen to or feel pressured by what you see others doing especially on social media. Exercising after a major abdominal surgery too soon can have long term damage on your wound, back, core and pelvic floor. Slow and steady always wins the race here. Make sure before you return to exercise you see a women’s health physio to have your abs, pelvic floor checked and to discuss your recovery from your c-section.

  • Watch for signs of infection and report immediately to your doctor if you’re worried. Some signs of infection can include fevers, redness around the wound, abdominal pain , painful wound and oozing from the wound. Contact your medical providers asap if you notice any of the above or have concerns.

  • Accept help from everyone around you especially if you have other young children. You need your rest. Rest is the best way of recovering as your body needs time to heal. If some on offers to bring you over dinner, accept that offer or if someone offers to take your other child/children for the day or a few hours take up that opportunity to rest.

  • Supplements – Speak to your naturopath or find a health food store with naturopath dispensary to find out what you need. Continue to take your prenatal post-birth.

  • High Waisted underwear – that doesn’t rub or sit any where near you wound will save you so much grief! Buy big black ones from Kmart or Big W- cheap and you won’t care if they get wrecked! They also fit maternity pads in them much easier than normal undies. A lot of women also swear by disposable underwear. Find some HERE FROM BUBBA BUMP. Avoid wearing black period underwear as it is important to track blood loss.

  • Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding is very possible after a cesarean birth even though we told often its not. Make sure you get your baby to your chest as soon as possible post birth and spend as much time skin to skin as you physically can in the first days & weeks.

Let your baby suckle and don’t be concerned that there is no milk (just colostrum – yellow sticky milk) in the first days – THIS IS NORMAL. Your baby is calling in your milk by being close and with suckling. Remember your newborn’s tummy is the size of pea in the first days they don’t need much. Most women don’t need to supplement with formula before their breastmilk arrives.

Breastfeeding is hard work especially at the start when you’re trying to establish feeding. It can take an emotional toll especially I found when trying to recover from a major surgery & getting broken sleep. If breastfeeding is hurting your wound try some alternate positions like the football hold or side laying.

Be gentle and kind to yourself and stay hydrated. Have the ice packs, a HAAKA pump and a lactation consultants number ready to go for and be prepared that it does take work and patience to establish.

  • Night sweats – this is something I had forgotten happened last time too but I don’t think it’s just for us c-section mamas , my doctor said they have to do with your estrogen hormone balancing back out. They are so awful and make you feel even more dehydrated. I have no Tips on how to stop them but what I would recommend is marking sure you have a drink bottle & spare pair of pjs close by the bed each night and also that you sleep on a towel so that you don’t have to constantly change sheets.

  • Get a wax down there! This is a weird one but seriously make sure you get a wax down there instead of shaving. I made the worst mistake and decided I couldn’t be bothered with my wax and I shaved instead and I tell you what the irritation of the hair growing back under the dressing is probably more annoying than any thing else about this recovery! Take it from me – get a wax!

  • Toys and Entertainment for your toddler. One of the harder parts of this recovery is definitely trying to keep up with the demands of both a newborn and a toddler. Create a breastfeeding activity box that comes out when mum is feeding bub. Keep it down low to avoid having to lift it.

  • Change Caddy or stations. Make some change stations or a caddy with the essentials around the house – near your bed, in living areas, one up stairs and one downstairs etc so that you don’t have to walk far each time you need to change your Bub. The caddy is also handy for night feeds. See my postpartum checklist for what to pack in it.

  • Scar massage. Once you have had your 6 week check up and clearance you should start to massage your scar. Massage can help to reduce scar tissue and increase scar tissue mobility, reduce muscle restriction and adhesion, reduce tingling, numbness and improve sensation around the scar, improve healing process and its appearance, reduce the pain, itching and sensitivity around the scar area, prevent the size of the scar from increasing.

Find some massage techniques in this video or speak to your physio.

  • Silicon scar strips. Once your wound is healed you can use these to reduce the appearance and thickness of your scar. Find them HERE.

For a FREE downloadable C-Section hospital bag checklist TAP HERE


Tap here for C-section recovery pack from Bubba Bump with all the products you need for a csection birth.

I  hope these tips can truly help you during your cesarean birth recovery!

Let me know if you have any of your own by commenting below.

With love,

Brittany xx

Oct 22, 2018




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