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mom holding her baby c-section recovery

C-Section Recovery – Your Burning Questions Answered.

If you just had a c-section you may feel like you are suddenly thrown into a world and recovery you weren’t planning on. Or maybe you knew you were going to have a c-section but it feels like the recovery is not what you expected. Maybe you have a c-section scheduled and you want to be prepared for your rest and recover.

This article is the ultimate guide to c-section recovery. It has answers to the most burning questions about c-section recovery YOU probably have. Scroll to the end to find real tips from real moms about how to simplify your life and breeze through recovery.


-Monet Nicole Moutrie

Do You Have These Questions About C-Section Recovery Too?

What Is C-Section Recovery Like The First Days?

Be prepared, c-section recovery is a bit harder than recovery from a vaginal birth. It can be even harder if you spent a long time in labor and had a c-section after your body and heart were drained. It will probably be closer to 6 to 8 weeks before you get back to your regular routine, but, who doesn’t throw out their prebaby routine after a newborn is here anyway?

The truth is, though you won’t be totally out and about for over a month, you will be able to move around your home much sooner than that.

What Is C-Section Recovery Like The First Weeks?

Typically you will spend about 3 to 4 days in the hospital, where you will be catered to hand and foot and on some pretty decent pain medication. Then you will move home, where you will want to stay in bed as much as possible for another week or two. You will phase off of your pain medication, first onto Tylenol, then onto nothing at all.

During this time, you will be able to walk, shower and gradually increase the amount of time you spend up and about. Postpartum recovery requires rest, no matter how you give birth. However, after a c-section, you will likely need a bit more support than a mom who has a vaginal birth, especially when it comes to baby care and meeting your nutritional needs.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From A C-Section?

Recovery happens a little bit at a time. It’s not like when you have the flu and you are solidly in bed for a week but on day 10 you are up and at ’em back to your regular self. C-Section recovery takes patience, self love, gentle exploration and nourishment. At fifrst, you will be in a lot of pain and your top priority is keeping that under control so you can bond with baby and enjoy the first few days.

As the pain subsides, you may feel comfortable without pain medications, but it may still hurt to walk, carry things or infants, and gowing from you bed to the couch is about all the movement you want to do.

After a week or two, you may feel wonderful moving around your home, but not quite ready to drive or walk up a lot of stairs or exercise.

After about 6 weeks, you will most likely feel good moving about like you regularly do. You may have some tightness or itchiness around your scar, but the pain will have mostly gone way.

It is normal for that to linger a while longer, and you may have to take additional steps to heal your scar and release any scar tissue buildup.

It may also take time to rediscover and reconnect with your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Find out more about how to heal your abdominals after a c-section here.

Is C-Section Recovery Easier the Second Time?

Yes and no. C-Section recovery is easier the second time around because you know what to expect. You have more awareness of your needs and more resources to call on for help. For some women, it is physically easier the second time around.

This is especially true if your first c-section was an emergency after hours and hours of labor and your second is a planned c-section where you can prep for the long recovery in advance.

However, it can be more challenging in the sense that you also have a toddler to care for and you may not have opted for a c-section, initially and becoming in after a challenging labor.

How your body reacts will be unique every time. Be prepared for it to go smoothly and be easier, but don’t be surprised if it is more challenging than you expect or remember. You can even use these c-section affirmations to help you get in the right mindset for your surgical birth.

How Bad Is A C-Section Recovery?

The good thing is that recovering from your c-section won’t last forever. The bad news is that you will need a lot of help. For me, the hardest part of recovering from my c-section was realizing I couldn’t do the basic things I used to do on my own. My husband had to help me with showers for the first few days. I had to hold onto the walls I walked for a while. The hardest thing was that I couldn’t get my baby in and out of her bassinet next to my bed in the hospital by myself. I was really frustrated that these first moments were so much more difficult.

On the other hand, it was really nice to have my newborn baby snug against my body the first few days anyways. When we returned to our house, our friends really rallied around us with food for a couple weeks, so we didn’t have to worry aobout cooking for a while as well.

What Should You Wear While Recovering From A C-Section?

After your c-section, you want to avoid clothes that with rub up against your scar. One of the most comfortable ways to manage this is to buy depends. I know. This is the least luxurious thing in the world. BUT I promise you, it is much more comfortable than the giant pads and mesh underwear the doctor will provide. That will fit snug aginst your body and you can either wear a loose flowy dress that doesnt cling to you or leggings and a t-shirt. think comfy, cozy, secure. You don’t want anything that will snag at your scars.

Are You Saying I Will Still Bleed After A C-Section ?

Yes, it is normal for you to have vaginal bleeding after your c-section. This is ainly from where your placenta detached from the uterus. Bleeding is heaviest the first day or two and then lessens after that. It is normal to pass a few clots from the size of a mandarin orange or smaller. If you are passing a lot of clots, or if they are large in size, you should alert your doctor or midwife.

Are There Any Other Clots I Should Worry About After A C-Section?

Yes, having a c-section increases your chances of having blood clots in your legs. Even though it will hurt at first, try your best to take a small walk every day. Moving from your bed, to a chair back to your bed can help too.

When Can I Eat After A C-Section?

I know, it doesn’t truly feel like you have entered out of the birth phase into recovery phase until you have eaten. Unfortunately, you usually have to wait up to 8 hours after your surgery to eat again. The good news is that you can use a significant amount of that time to sleep.

Can I Shower After A C-Section?

Yes, you can get in a shower after a c-section. In fact, its a really good way to get up and moving. It is also a good way to keep your wound clean. You don’t need to scrub it, just let water rn over it. You can gently pat your incision dry with a clean towel. You will want to avoid the bath for about 7 to 10 days until your steri stitches fall off.

How Do I Care For My Incision?

In the short term, you will want to keep your incision clean until your stitches dissolve. Cleanit once a day and kepp it covered as long as your doctor tells you too. In the long term, once you are no longer worried about infection, you can begin to massage your scar site gently to help it healand prevent scar tissue build up.

This should never cause pain.

What Are Signs Of Infection In My Incision?

There are several signs of infection you should be on the lookout for. Oozing out of your scar, no good. Call your doctor. Weird smells? Call your doctor. Also if it gets hard or the pain gets worse, call your doctor. If you are running a fever, call your doctor. Basically, if anything seems strange, call your doctor.

What About Breastfeeding During Your C-Section Recovery?

You can absolutely breastfeed after a c-section. If this is something you are going to try, I have made an entire guide on this just for you!

Real Moms Share Their Best C-section Recovery Tips So You Don’t Have To Learn The Hard Way


-Proud Happy Mama

“It’s totally normal to have someone help you shower after a c-section. Embrace the help.”

“If you’re feeling good in the early days, don’t push yourself. Really take the time to rest.”

“If you have a bellyflap, put a pad under it to keep your incision site extra dry”

“Blow dry your incision after a show. It feels heavenly.”

“Depends are so much better than the mesh underwear and giant pads that move around everywhere.”

“Get a Frieda baby mom-washer. It’s so much easier to use than a regular peribottle.”

“Wrap your belly right away. It feels good to have something snug holding everything together.”

“Try the football position for nursing!”

“It’s so much easier to climb into bed on hands and knees and then turn over.”

“Be sure to walk around a few times each day. Also just move from your bed to the couch to the bed frequently .”

“Prop a hip up with a pillow in bed and switch it every couple hours while you’re still at the hospital.”

“Keep a hand on the wall to steady yourself when walking.”



More Great Resources For Healing Fully From A C-Section

What To Do The Night Before A C-Section

C-Section Recovery: The A-Z Guide

The Ultimate C-Section Recovery Kit

Breastfeeding After A C-Section

C-Section Scar Itching

C-Section Pooch

Your First Shower After A C-Section