Planning for the possibility of a c-section birth is sensible advice for all mums-to-be, whether you are expecting your first baby or fourth. Around one in four babies are delivered this way, some planned and some not, due to complications that make it the safest option for both of you.
Arming yourself with tools to ease the post-surgery pain, promote healing and overcome obstacles in caring for yourself and your newborn will really make a difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. Moving around, sleeping, washing and feeding your baby are all likely to be a bit tricky to start.
Your doctor should send you home with a good supply of painkillers and you will likely need to administer anti-clotting injections at home (get your partner to do this for you, ideally).
Like all new mums, you’ll need a good supply of maternity pads, bed pads and nursing pads, along with a good nipple cream and a good supply of postnatal vitamins. Taking arnica tablets can also promote internal healing for all women post-birth. You may also want to check out our round up of the best maternity knickersand the best disposable maternity briefs.
These products are especially useful for c-section mums in the days and weeks after your baby arrives. Remember that this is major abdominal surgery so you need to take things slowly, accept all offers of help and speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns.
Check out our best products to help recover from a C-section:
1. PurFlo Cool Comfort Pregnancy Pillow, £39.99
Finding a comfortable position to sleep and to feed your newborn are two of the biggest challenges after a c-section. This pregnancy and feeding pillow is an ideal shape to ease your discomfort, as it can be stretched out like a sausage, wrapped round your tummy or propped up behind your back.
Created by the same company that makes the PurFlo breathable baby mattress, it is heat regulating – vital when you are suffering those post-birth hot flushes. There’s also a choice of covers and they are machine washable.
You can buy PurFlo Cool Comfort Pregnancy Pillow from PurFlo, Amazon and Argos
2. Cantaloop C-Section Briefs, £24.99 for a twin pack
Big pants are a must post-surgery as you’ll want to ensure the waistband doesn’t rub on your stitches. You might find disposable knickers the easiest for the first few days and then try out these Cantaloop briefs.
Made from super soft and breathable fabric to let the wound heal, they have an abdominal panel to provide support and compression, to reduce swelling and help you feel confident moving about.
You can buy Cantaloop C-Section Briefs from Amazon, Boots and John Lewis
3. Theraline C-Section Belt, £20
This multi-purpose support band was developed by a mum to protect and soothe her c-section scar and her personal experience shows in the clever design. You put on the bum bag and adjust it to fit, then add a combination of the four inserts into the pocket, to suit your needs.
There’s a plastic protector, a cushion, a cherry stone pillow which can be warmed in the microwave and a cooling gel pack. It can be worn under clothes, in bed and provides piece of mind when laughing, sneezing or being jumped on by an older child. The belt is also useful once your scar has healed too, for easing period pains, back ache and bladder inflammations.
You can buy Theraline C-Section Belt from Boots, Amazon and Mothercare
4. Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib, £185
Getting your baby in and out of a cot for feeding (not to mention getting yourself out of bed) is one of the trickiest problems post-section. This stylish bedside crib, which came out last year, has a drop down side for easy access to your little one and a breathable mesh window so you can keep an eye on them too.
We like that it works for safe co-sleeping and as a standalone crib, along with the incline option for babies suffering with congestion or reflux. It is also great for travel, with a 30-second open-fold mechanism and a travel bag. The fabric lining is machine washable too, one of the many reasons our MadeForMums Awards 2018 judges gave it gold in the best bedside cribs category.
You can buy Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib from Tutti Bambini and Mothercare
5. DulcoEase Stool Softener Capsules, £4.39 for 30
While meeting your baby might be magical, the post-birth period can be a little undignified and you’ll spend a lot of time discussing your bodily functions! This is because your doctors will want to ensure the bowel was not damaged during surgery and that it starts functioning again normally.
Your first poo can take time and be uncomfortable, especially if you are not feeling relaxed due to your stitches. These capsules should make things a little easier, especially if you stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Make sure you get as much rest as you can and spend a little time moving around each day, too.
You can buy DulcoEase from LloydsPharmacy and Boots
6. Neal’s Yard Mother’s Bath Oil, £15.50 for 100ml
Depending on the type of stitches you have, your midwife will advise you on how best to bathe. The key thing is to keep the wound clean and dry, so a quick shower and a gentle wash with a clean flannel is usually the best route, using fresh towel to dab it dry (or a cool hairdryer!).
Once you are able to have a short soak in the bath, lots of mum recommended adding salt to the water to prevent infection, along with a little tea tree or lavender oil. This gorgeous bath oil contains natural ingredients to nourish your skin, along with healing lavender and uplifting bergamot. It’s also safe to use in pregnancy so you can give it a go before baby comes.
You can buy Neal’s Yard Mother’s Bath Oil from Neal’s Yard, John Lewis and Amazon
7. Snugglbundl Baby Blanket, £34.99
Lifting your newborn can be difficult when you are still sore from your stitches and you will be understandably nervous about transferring them from cot to pram to car seat. This clever hammock-like blanket – with two carry handles on the side – is designed to support your body while moving your baby as well as keeping her comfortable.
It also doubles up as a wrap and breastfeeding cover, and is safe to use in car seat. This means you can safely lift your sleeping child out of the car seat when you arrive at your destination rather than leaving her to snooze in it for too long. It works with both three and five-point harnesses.
You can buy Snugglbundl Baby Blanket from Snugglbundl and Amazon
8. Bio-Oil, £5.99 for 60ml
There’s a good chance you may already have a bottle of this best-selling skin product as many mums swear by it for minimising pregnancy stretchmarks. It’s also known to help reduce the redness of scars and keep your skin moisturised.
Start applying it daily once your wound is properly healed, ideally combined with gentle massage to reduce the build up of scar tissue in the area. Speak to a midwife about how to do this or take a look at tutorials online.
You can buy Bio-Oil from Amazon, Boots and Superdrug
9. Bax & Bay Cub Bag, from £40
Feeding away from home can be tricky when you are still healing, especially in public places. This chic 3-in-1 changing bag is designed to hold your baby essentials as well as act as a travel feeding pillow and carry support for older babies.
It’s also fairly light for day-to-day use, with plenty of pockets and a key holder, and includes a changing mat and removable insulated bottle bag.
The Cub Bag is available in six colours and fabrics, and while pricey, the design means you will still use it when your baby is out of nappies. We like the adjustable strap and the fact it can be hooked over a buggy handle and worn with a sling too.
You can buy Bax & Bay Cub Bag from Bax & Bay
10. Paz Wean C-Section Recovery Belt, £20.99
It takes time for your abdominal muscles and stomach tissue to full recovery from c-section surgery so you make feel more comfortable with a little extra support over the weeks that follow.
This special girdle wraps around your belly beneath your clothes, giving a little compression to help your stomach heal and shrink. It’s made from breathable cotton and comes in four sizes, with adjustable velcro straps for the best fit. The material is medical grade, light and breathable cotton, with built-in boning for extra protection for your lower back.
You can buy Paz Wean C Section Recovery Belt from Amazon
More c-section recovery hints and tips…
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