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Tips for Healing After a C-Section

C-sections are surgical procedures that deliver a baby by making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to remove the baby. In today’s world, the rate of C-sections is over 30% and continuing to rise with little education to the mothers on support and education post procedure.

This blog post will help give some tips on what to do and what not to do after your c-section and help your healing process go as smoothly as possible postpartum.

Recovery Time

Congrats Momma on your new baby! This is such an exciting and overwhelming time so here is some information on what is to expect after having a c-section.

In general the average hospital stay is about 2-4 days, but varies for each momma. Additionally, it is common for the c-section scar to take about 6 weeks to 3 months to fully heal, but again this is different for each momma.

On a positive note, by week 2 you momma should be seeing progress with your scar healing and if not be sure to check with your doctor.

Self Care for Wound

Now I know we all tend to take self care very seriously, as we should, but self care for your c-section wound is just as important and can make a huge difference in the healing process. Tops things to make sure you are doing include:

  • Make sure incision is clean and dry
    • Avoid vigorous scrubbing 
    • Pat dry with clean towel
  • Using ointment 
    • Topical antibiotic/ petroleum jelly 
    • Coverage with bandage 
  • Airing the wound out 
    • Promotes skin injuries and healing
    • Loose clothing 
  • Gentle massaging 
    • Managing tissues with 2 fingers and moderate pressure 
    • Massaging right to left about an inch above the scar (as early as 3 weeks post c-section)
  • Desensitizing the scar:
    • Reintroduction different materials to the skin
    • Start with soft material and progress rougher material 
    • Done around 6 weeks/ need clearance from doctor
    • Apply gentle moisturization
    • Organic Vitamin E oil at 6 weeks 
  • Managing pain
  • Use of Acetaminophen or ibuprofen 
  • Abdominal Binder: wide compression that wraps wound stomach for support

Considerations with Physical Activity and Diet

Another question that is commonly asked by mommas is what considerations do I have to make in regards to physical activity and diet ? The general rule of thumb is no momma should be doing any  heavy lifting, twisting or any movement that can put pressure on the incision. In addition it is also recommended that if you are a momma that loves a nice bath, you should hold off on this until you are at least 4 weeks postpartum.

When it comes to exercise, if there are no complications, a mom can usually be ready by 4 weeks and heavy lifting over 10 pounds by 6 weeks. All in all these are estimations and every momma has a different situation so it is important to consult your doctor and let them guide you on when you are ready for exercise.

Diet is another component that is asked about and the usual recommendations include making sure you as a momma are consuming an adequate amount of protein, iron, calcium, vitamins, fiber and fluids to help your self recover from this major procedure and be able to provide the best nutrients to your baby through breastmilk.

As stated before, your doctor is going to be your best resource when it comes to any concerns you may have. Some different situations in which you definitely consult your doctor after having a c-section include:

  • Multiple blood clots
  • Lower belly tenderness
  • Blurry or spotty vision 
  • Excessive pain 
  • Infection to incision site
  • Abnormal discharge (yellow/green) from incision
  • Heavy bleeding that fills pad within 1-2 hours
  • Chest pain 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Pain/Swelling in legs

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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