By Olena Guseva
With caesarean births relatively common, it is easy to forget that it is still surgery and taking care of your self postpartum is very important. Here are 10 tips to help you have a smoother postpartum after caesarean:
1. Get up and move within the first 24 hours after surgery. This prevents blood clots, helps with digestion and promotes healing.
2. Take a shower! Do not be afraid of water. You can shower 48hrs after your surgery and it is a wonderful experience!
3. That first bowel movement can be scary. Yes, even if you did not have a vaginal birth, going poo after c-section is a bit terrifying. You just don't know which muscles to strain. Eat prunes, dried apricots and other food with lots of fibre to avoid constipation.
4. Take it easy at home. No vacuuming for you! Don't lift anything heavier than your baby. Ask for help, hire post-partum support, give your mom a job. In short, get people to help you.
5. Watch for sign of infection/complications:
- too much bleeding
- pain that gets worse
- bad smell
- general feeling that something is not right.
Get yourself checked out if any of these raise some red flags.
6. Expect pain. Your just had major surgery; expect pain and discomfort. Know that it will get better; however, seek help if it does not improve and seems to worsen.
7. Coconut oil DOES NOT fix everything! It is good to use oils a little later in the game to minimize your scar but avoid any oils for now. Your goal is help keep your incision as dry as possible.
8. Nude it up! Give your incision some air time. Let it breath, dry and heal. After the shower gently pat the incision dry and then go streaking through the house (if you are up for it and if you don't have any guests that is).
9. Have a nursing "vacation." It is not as relaxing as it sounds. Essentially, take your baby to bed with you and stay skin to skin all day (or as long as you want). This will help your breastfeeding relationship, promote bonding and help your milk supply.
10. Embrace your birth! The birth culture is a funny place. We focus so much on "natural" birth (whatever that is) and forget to celebrate those that brought forth humans in other ways. Celebrate yourself! You did amazing!
Olena Guseva is a birth doula and birth photographer serving families in the Lower-Mainland and Fraser Valley in British Columbia
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