On Thursday 21st September 2017 our beautiful twin boys arrived safely into this world via Cesarean Section. We are now two and a half weeks in post-delivery and as I had a vaginal birth with my daughter Imogen this was my first (and last) c-Section, so I wanted to share with you all my top tips for safe and healthy recovery.
A caesarean section is a common operation and most women recover quickly, but it is important to remember that it is also quite a serious one as you have an incision through your abdomen right through to your uterus so it is important that you make sure you look after yourself after your operation.
A c-section is certainly not an easy journey or a simple option for childbirth and I am definitely no where near back up to full strength or pushing the buggy around just yet but I am healing well and giving my body what it needs to get my strength back up. Here are my top tips which will help you on your way to a full and healthy recovery.
(1.) Give your body the rest it needs.
Never forget that a c-section is major surgery and that takes time to recover from. Take every offer of help that you can and don’t push things too soon as it will only set you back. I am one of those people that never normally likes to sit down but after a very difficult pregnancy on top of the c-section I have tried to rest whenever I can and not push myself too soon. I can comfortably potter around the house now and would LOVE to head out for a walk but the areas around my stitches are still very swollen so I still don’t feel ready. It is so important to listen to your body and not push it beyond that.
(2.) Move gently.
Move about (but go very gently!) as soon as you can following the procedure. This is good for your circulation and will also mean your bladder catheter can be removed earlier. Please ensure you do go very gently however and by move about I literally just mean getting yourself to the bathroom or to move and feed your baby just to get your legs moving as this will help reduce the chance of blood clots.
(3.) Wear loose clothes and big knickers!
I have lived in my high rise Jack Wills PJ leggings since I had the boys and I have also been wearing my large M&S knickers that I bought especially for post-birth. It’s only for a few weeks ladies and it will stop you having anything rubbing on your incision.
(4.) Protect the incision site.
I found that whenever I had to sneeze or cough I would try and hold my stomach to protect the incision site which really helped. I also wore a c-section belt with some cool ice packs once I was home to take the swelling down, and there are also special padded belts you can wear after the operation that will protect the area too, this would be really helpful particularly if you have other children to stop them knocking you in the wrong places.
(5.) Relieve your pain.
I normally always prefer to go down the natural route and I am not one to take painkillers but I found that with two newborn babies to care for in the hospital and when we got home I needed the Ibuprofen and Paracetamol that was on prescription (I really didn’t like the feeling of the oral morphine so I turned that down!). The c-section can be very sore when your suppository wears off so don’t try and be too super brave and take what you need in advance before the pain kicks in. It is only for a short period of time and will get you through the first few days when you are sore but you still have nappies to change.
(6.) Focus on good nutrition.
My diet is usually pretty clean and I eat minimal amounts of wheat and dairy and plenty of vegetables and fruits, healthy carbs and lean proteins however I made the decision to eat wholesome and healthy meals with no focus on weight loss at all. This is not the time to be focusing on weight loss or starvation diets. I was exhausted when I came home from hospital and I felt that I needed to build my energy reserves back up. Especially after feeling so uncomfortable during meals while I was pregnant with the boys when there was literally NO room for food so I ate small regular meals! In my first week home we had Cottage Pie with sweet potato mash, Lasagne with brown rice pasta, Pie (with proper pastry!) from the butchers, Salmon and stir-fry with rice noodles! All of these meals were either prepared by my lovely Mummy or we had made/bought them in advance to make easy meals. We also had a few delicious meals from Cook which were bought by a voucher from one of my lovely clients. Eat regular and substantial meals and allow yourself a few treats if you fancy them.
(7.) Drink plenty of water.
I was so dehydrated after the delivery of our twins and I drank so much in the first few days!! My husband brought in drinks for my so I drank a load of water, peppermint and builders tea, coconut water and a couple of green juices from Waitrose. My blood pressure had dropped ridiculously low in the days after the boys were born so this helped to stabilise and re-hydrate my body. Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day will help to keep your bowels regular as well!
(8.) Take post-natal supplements.
I started taking Arnica straight after my c-section and from the following day I continued with my Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal, Collagen supplements to aid with healing, ferrous fumerate and natural iron to boost my iron reserves and also vitamin C to give my immune system the kick start it needed.
(9.) Keep your bowels regular.
Going to the loo after you have had a c-section can be pretty painful! I ate plenty of fibre and I also glugged down the Lactulose that I was given by my midwife (it is a stool softener) and I had no problems at all once I started taking that. It is a sugar solution so not something I would normally recommend but needs must in the early days and it helped hugely.
(10.) Don’t exercise until you have had your post-natal check.
Take extra care in getting around while you heal, and in particular avoid going up and down stairs as much as you can and it is recommended that you don’t lift anything heavier than your baby (slightly more tricky when you have two babies to care for!). If you can ask for help from your spouse or a friend or family member or try and keep everything you need close to hand during the day.
It could take up to eight weeks for you to get back into your normal routine. At six to eight weeks you will have your post-natal check with the GP and they will give you the ok to exercise, go back to work and when you can drive. Once the GP has given you the go-ahead you can start with walking and gentle strength based exercises, such as those recommended in the True Vitality 4 Mums Post-Natal programmes.
These tips are all based on my own personal experiences in the last few weeks and I hope they will help you on your recovery too. Any questions please ask away and email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of love
Don’t worry if you didn’t exercise throughout your pregnancy and have a fit pregnancy, you can still lose the baby weight, strengthen your core and pelvic floor and get your body back with the correct nutrition and post-natal exercise. For more information about the True Vitality 4 Mums post-natal 12 Week Transformation Programme, please email email@example.com xx
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