Having a c-section can mean a significant recovery. After having a baby, regardless of your birth experience, you should listen to your body and take care of yourself. Here are some basics for c-section recovery.

Not everyone is the same.

One person may tell you they had a horrible c-section recovery, while another person had an easy recovery.  I had people tell me how horrific and debilitating it was, yet my c-section recovery was a breeze compared to my first childbirth.  It is hard to gauge what it will be like from what other people say, so take into account that everyone has a different experience.

Hiking with Kids

Recovering after having my first baby.

{This post contains affiliate links}

Rest and accept help.

I have a really tough time accepting help, even though I generally don’t have much help available (not much family nearby).  But if you are offered help, take it.  Having limited mobility and not being able to lift things can be very frustrating, especially if your spouse goes back to work after a few days.  I remember being at home with a newborn and a 2.5 year old, and it was a challenge.  Throw in cabin fever, and every day was a big struggle.

The saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” is great advice. I did not follow it well, and regretted overdoing things and being sleep deprived.

Prepare ahead.

You may not know whether or not you are going to end up having a c-section. However, it is good to plan ahead regardless of whatever type of birth you may have. This means getting things organized at home, stocking up on supplies, and preparing frozen meals ahead of time.

Move around.

Listen to your doctors, and start moving around when they give you the green light.  It will help you to regain your mobility and get some circulation going.  Obviously you don’t want to overdo it so that it becomes a setback (and make sure you have some help at least the first few times), but walking should generally be helpful.  Being upright felt good, and it really is good for the body.  I’ve heard it is good for everything from digestion to losing water weight.

By the time we checked out of the hospital, I walked all the way from the maternity wing to the parking garage, instead of waiting for a wheelchair.  Although I felt a bit winded, it was liberating and it felt great to be moving around. I was very careful to follow Doctor’s orders about not lifting or moving too much, but still getting in some walking.

Pain meds.

Don’t let your pain levels become debilitating.  Don’t be afraid to tell your nurses that you are in pain.  Those first days in the hospital should be for recovery, and if you are miserable and in pain, it makes it hard to sleep or function. Stay on top of pain management.


If you want to breastfeed, be patient and have a strategy. For my second baby, I knew I was ready to breastfeed the end of the first day of my c-section.  The nurses doubted me but I asked for a breast pump and they brought one in.  Sure enough, I was able to pump and nurse.  It can’t hurt to ask, and it can’t hurt to connect with a Lactation Consultant at the hospital if you plan on breastfeeding. Not everyone connects well with their LC, but you can be clear about your goals.  If there is something you need or want – whether it is a pump, Lanolin, a nursing shield, etc – ask!  Chances are there is a way to get it at the hospital, without having to send your spouse or someone else to the store.

Keep on top of your health.

Watch for any issues that may come up after your c-section, from infections to other post-birth issues like mastitis.

Get some recovery tools.

There are a lot of great tools out there to help with your c-section recovery.

~ recovery belly band
~ cooling pads
~ pads
~ c-section scar treatment
~ postnatal vitamins (we love the Mary Ruth’s brand)