Recovery Tips Following a C-Section

Sleeping woman by NetrisC-sections account for roughly one-third of all births in the United States these days. Some are planned while others are emergency c-sections. Whatever the case, it may help to have some recovery tips in mind when it comes to healing from your c-section. Of course, everyone responds differently to pain and each person’s body is different from the next. C-section recovery will certainly vary from one person to the next, but there are still a few important things you can do to help yourself heal if you know you are going to have a c-section.

Newborn baby by MelkingNo matter if you have a high or a low tolerance for pain, a c-section is considered major abdominal surgery. Even if you are the most active, on-the-go person, you must not overdo it. Your laundry and your dishes can wait. Your husband, parents, friends, siblings, or neighbors may want to help you with things around the house, run out to do your grocery shopping, cook you meals… let them. You need to take it easy and rest up so you can be the best mom you can be for your precious new baby.

Shannon Smith, a PR consultant and mother of a soon-to-be one-year-old, recommends the following advice when it comes to recovering from your c-section:

•Ice, ice and more ice. “I actually found an ice pouch at CVS that was shaped like a bag of pees and found that to be the perfect size,” advises Smith.

•Take a warm bath as soon as you’re given the green light. “The warm water really helps the healing process by getting your blood circulating by the incision, plus it feels so good and is a great way to relax,” she says.

•Walk as much as you can, as long as you can, but don’t push it. “I found that being active right away definitely helped get me back on my feet,” she recalls. “Even with a c-section, I lost all the baby weight within a couple of weeks. (Of course I would say that good genes, a lot of luck, and breastfeeding really helped.)”

•Stay on top of your pain medication. “Don’t wait until you ache,” Smith cautions. “Take your medication every four hours (or however it’s prescribed) so you can stay ahead of the pain. The 800 mg ibuprofen really helped.”

The C-Panty After Cesarean Underwear (Incision Care) may be another way to help your body recover from a c-section, especially in caring for your tender midsection. C-Panty is designed to help with swelling, scarring, sensitivity, tenderness, and slimming post partum. This post-surgery undergarment has a tummy cut and a non-binding, fluted waist to avoid putting pressure on your incision and surrounding areas. It essentially eliminates the elastic waistband found with most traditional underwear.  C-Panty also provides moderate support and compression to help control swelling and tummy shaping.

The interior of C-Panty has a silicone panel where the c-section incision is located to increase the moisture in that area while helping with scarring and related symptoms. This garment also has a full-cut rear and the entire piece is made of smooth, stretchy fabric. For more information on C-Panty and related products, check out or

Having someone available to cook you and your husband dinner when you get home can be a lifesaver, at least from all the takeout you might otherwise eat. Try to avoid bending – crouch instead, only if necessary. Also limit climbing stairs or other challenging activities. Always follow your doctor’s orders!

But healing from the surgery isn’t the only consideration following a c-section. You may need help caring for other children that you have, for pets, or for your garden or other responsibilities. Another thing to consider is bonding with your new baby.

“The researchers [in this study] suggest that vaginal birth stimulates the more rapid release of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a medical doctor and nutritionist. “Oxytocin is released during active labor and delivery. It’s been shown to be a factor in mother-child bonding. Some research has linked C-section delivery with higher rates of post partum depression and this may be due to the discrepancies in oxytocin release.

“For increasing bonding and treating post partum depression, I recommend magnesium (400 mg twice a day in a magnesium citrate powder form… dissolved in water it can be sipped throughout the day) and zinc (10 mg) and a homeopathic remedy called Ignatia 30C, 4 pellets three times a day for a week.”

Dean advises that magnesium and zinc can also aid surgical recovery, in addition to good nutrition, fiber, and getting out of bed as soon as realistically possible.

About the Experts:

Shannon Smith is a public relations professional and mother of a soon-to-be one-year old. She shared her personal experience in recovering from a c-section.

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is a medical doctor and nutritionist with over 25 years of experience. She’s authored 22 books, including “Future Health Now Encyclopedia,” “The Complete Natural Guide to Women’s Health,”  “Hormone Balance,” “Menopause Naturally,” “365 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Tips, Exercise, Advice,” “The Yeast Connection,” “IBS for Dummies,” and “The Magnesium Miracle.”

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