Nyssa collaborated with our friends at Ruth Health– a telehealth hub that provides evidence-based support during pregnancy and postpartum– for this article about how best to prepare for a positive c-section recovery experience.
We’re big fans of Ruth Health’s c section recovery sessions, which are designed to support your emotional and physical healing during postpartum. The unique program includes breathwork and meditation, gentle movement, and stabilizing physical therapy. You can start safely as early as 24 hours postpartum.
Use code NYSSA20 to receive 20% off all Ruth Health packages.
5. Pain Relief
Ruth Health’s c-section recovery sessions support your emotional and physical healing with breathwork, gentle movement, and physical therapy.
The postpartum period is a time of many physical and emotional changes. Those who deliver by c-section have the additional challenge of healing from a major surgery.
C-section recovery is a gradual process. After 6-8 weeks, your scars should have healed enough to safely resume daily activities, but full recovery often takes 6-12 months or more. It’s important to take it easy and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
To prepare for a smooth recovery, stock up on care essentials ahead of time. Here are some items that the Nyssa and Ruth Health teams recommend including in your c-section recovery kit.
Believe it or not, your choice of underwear can significantly affect your experience of c-section recovery. Incision care is a critical component of your physical healing, and there are certain types of postpartum underwear specifically designed to prevent chafing and irritation.
Instead of low-rise underwear with a waist that rubs against your incision site, opt for comfortable high waisted c-section recovery underwear. There are a variety of disposable and reusable options: you can read all about them here.
Our Postpartum Recovery Underwear features an ultra-high waist with a unique 360° pocket design that can hold ice or heat therapy at the site of c-section incision, between the legs, and around the back.
All birthing people experience postpartum bleeding, or lochia, after giving birth, as the uterus sheds the blood and tissue required to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Lochia is similar to a menstrual period but heavier and longer-lasting.
While c-section delivery often involves less lochia than a vaginal birth, you will likely still experience several weeks of bleeding, so include plenty of postpartum pads in your recovery kit.
Our birthing experts recommend organic cotton pads that reduce discomfort and stave off bacteria post-pregnancy. Be sure to verify that your pads are 100% certified organic cotton to avoid bleach, dyes, fragrances, or toxins.
The traditional Chinese medicine practice of cupping offers numerous benefits during c-section recovery, including pain relief, better blood circulation, and scar healing.
Note that silicone cups should be used for advanced scar massage after consistent scar massage with fingers has already broken up tissue and desensitized the derma. (Avoid lotion during these initial massages to give your fingers a good, strong grip— you’re going for deeper tissue rather than the surface.)
It may not be the most exciting care product, but trust us when we say it’s an essential. Postpartum constipation is common, and c-section delivery can further slow digestion. Not only can stool softeners make those first days after giving birth more comfortable, they can also support incision care by preventing straining.
Your provider will likely offer you stool softeners while you recover in the hospital. Have some on hand at home too so that you can take them as needed.
Many birthing people experience cramping as the uterus contracts to its pre-pregnancy size after childbirth, regardless of how they deliver. C-section recovery also involves pain at the incision site and gas pains.
To alleviate discomfort, stock your medicine cabinet with various over-the-counter pain relief options as you approach your due date. In addition, be sure to take any medication that your provider has prescribed on schedule.
Postpartum belly wraps can help with pain and discomfort after a c section and support healthy pelvic floor function. However, if you choose to wear one, make sure it’s a good fit! An overly tight belly wrap can add pain or pressure or cause itchiness.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid the following:
Hooks, clasps, boning, or binders
When breastfeeding after a c-section, there are additional considerations to be mindful of. Certain positions work better than others during recovery, such as the side-lying position or football hold.
A nursing pillow can be a big help during this time. It allows you and your baby to get into the optimal position and removes pressure from your stomach as it heals.
we worked with our resident OB-GYN, Dr. Laura Laursen to create the postpartum recovery guide we wish we’d had all those years ago. At 26-pages, it covers everything from physical recovery and feeding your baby to identity shifts and navigating relationship changes in early parenthood.