Trying to plan and perfectly prepare for all of the details of our babies birth is a natural part of pregnancy. We don’t often plan for what we don’t know. Most of us that end up having a Cesarean Section didn’t plan on having one and therefore were not prepared for it. Hospital bags packed with a cute but comfy going home outfit are great but still might not fit the criteria of a post c-section body. The pain and tenderness at the incision site means that your jeans, underwear and even beloved yoga pants may not fit right if they rub on your incision! And bending down to put on complicated shoes? Forget it. If you know ahead of time that you’ll be having a c-section, this list of essentials should all go right into your hospital bag. If you plan on having a natural birth, you should still consider going through this list and making sure that you have a few things that are c-section friendly. If things don’t go as you plan, you’ll be happy that you are prepared anyway!
Any tops are okay as long as they have some stretch to them. They don’t have to be loose but they have to have give.
Nursing tops, loose tees, cardigans, easy to slip on and off jersey dresses and nightgowns are the most comfortable way to go without having to worry about any waistband touching your incision site.
Maternity leggings and gaucho pants with a thick and stretchy waistband are by far the safest in terms of comfort and support of your abdominal muscles.
Nothing that hits right at the lower waist with a low rise will feel comfortable in the beginning.
Underwear that are made specifically for postpartum wear, like the C-Panty, are an excellent choice to avoid irritating your incision and giving you some abdominal support. To avoid bending over and straining your abdominal muscles, have someone help you with your socks or even skip wearing them for the first week. Wear slip-on shoes like ballet flats (if your feet aren't swollen) or flip-flops.
Sometimes the hospital will give you a support belt, but not all of them do. Some hospitals recommend you wear one and some say the opposite, that they want your abdominal muscles to be doing the work and not relying on the belt. Do your own research. From a comfort standpoint, at least for the first two weeks, wearing the band snug around your belly helps a lot with being able to more comfortably walk, sit and stand, and even laugh and sneeze. You can then choose to wear it less often so your muscles don’t “rely” on it.
To help care for the skin around the incision and for the scar itself once the initial healing has occurred, a natural healing salve is helpful in order to speed the healing process of the skin and reduce the scar.
Books & DVD's
- Strategies for the C-Section Mom covers recovery, fitness and nutrition to help you heal while caring for your newborn.
- The Essential C-Section Guide discusses early bonding with your baby, pain control, healing, what to expect as you recover, how your partner can get involved in helping you, and what to expect with future pregnancies and deliveries.
- Jennifer Gianni's Fusion Pilates takes you from the hospital bed to a fully healed body and even includes footage of Jennifer in the hospital after her own cesarean surgery.