Fourteen C-Section Recovery Must-Haves - Baby Chick

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C-Section Recovery Must-Haves

postpartumUpdated July 27, 2022

by Nina Spears

The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert


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Every day, roughly 10,000 babies in the United States are born. About a third of those babies are born via Cesarean section. Most moms would agree that having a Cesarean birth is not their first choice. But for some moms, having a C-section is necessary. When you are pregnant, you can try for a vaginal birth or plan for a C-section. Some women choose a C-section for personal preferences, but many moms schedule a cesarean for medical reasons.

The medical reasons for needing a planned C-section are:

  • Abnormal positioning such as breech or transverse
  • Placenta previa
  • Repeat C-section
  • Birth defects
  • Health conditions of mom and baby
  • Carrying multiples
    • Twins can be born vaginally if Baby A (baby closest to the cervix) is head down. But if Baby A is not head down, a C-section will need to be performed.

Many women have C-sections because of unplanned and emergent reasons, such as:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Failure to progress
  • Fetal distress
  • Placenta abruption
  • Cord prolapse
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)

Having a C-section is not the “easy way out.” Recovery for many women is longer and more painful. At Baby Chick, we want all mothers to have the best birth and recovery experience possible, so I am sharing the top C-section recovery must-haves that I recommend to all C-section mamas. I’ve consulted with hundreds of C-section moms in our Facebook Group, and they agree! Here’s what you should have ready for a smoother C-section recovery.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves

1. Abdominal Binder

A C-section is major abdominal surgery. It will feel necessary to have some support and compression around your belly and incision site. An abdominal binder provides the support and stability women need and makes women feel more comfortable. The hospital will give you an excellent belly binder! So many women rave about them, and I highly recommend making sure that you take yours home. If you don’t get one from your hospital or one that is the wrong size or doesn’t feel right, here are some other postpartum belly binders that I love and recommend. An abdominal binder is my #1 most important C-section recovery must-have!

Mama Strut Postpartum Support Brace
Mama Strut Postpartum Support Brace
Bellefit Postpartum Corset
Bellefit Postpartum Corset

2. Pain Relief

Controlling your pain after surgery is crucial because it makes it easier for you to take care of yourself and your baby. If you didn’t have relief, the pain you would experience would stop you from wanting to get up and walk and take deep breaths. Movement and deep breathing are essential during recovery since they help avoid getting blood clots or chest infections like pneumonia. Taking the medication that your doctor prescribes you on schedule to stay on top of your pain relief is important. Some doctors will prescribe you an opioid painkiller (like Norco) for the first week or two and then recommend taking an Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) and or acetaminophen (Tylenol). As always, consult with your doctor before taking any medication.

Advil tablets

3. Stool Softeners

Many physicians give their C-section patients a laxative for the first few days after surgery. This helps make that first poop less scary and more tolerable. Stool softeners also help prevent you from straining, which could irritate your incision. And if you’ve been prescribed an opioid painkiller post-cesarean, it’s especially important to take a stool softener because opioid painkillers can cause constipation. Consult with your doctor before taking any stool softeners at home.

Colace stool softener

4. Postpartum Pads

Even though you did not give birth vaginally, you will still experience postpartum bleeding. This bleeding will first look like a heavy period that will gradually get lighter and darker in color over the next two weeks. If your bleeding becomes heavier or bright red again, use this as a guide that you are over-exerting yourself. Give yourself rest so that you can heal. For postpartum bleeding, I recommend a large postpartum pad free of chemicals.

The Honey Pot Postpartum Pads
The Honey Pot Postpartum Pads

5. Disposable Underwear

Many women love the mesh underwear that the hospital provides you, which they are great! Take as many of them as you can home. They are soft, stretchy, and most importantly, the waistband lies well above your incision. This means no rubbing or irritation! Once the mesh undies have outlived their usefulness, switch to Depend Silhouettes. They are also comfortable, high-waisted, and have a pad inside (which mesh panties don’t include), so it’s like an all-in-one!

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Depend Silhouettes

6. High-Waisted Underwear

Get some cotton high-waisted underwear once you have ditched the mesh undies or postpartum bleeding has stopped. Here are two brands that I love and highly recommend.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Kindred Bravely Postpartum Underwear
C-Panty c-section recovery panties
C-Panty C-Section Recovery

7. Skin Salve

To take care of your C-section incision, you must keep it clean and dry and wear soft, loose clothing that will not rub against it. It can take several months for a C-section incision to heal. Still, at your postpartum visit with your doctor (around 6-8 weeks post-delivery), your doctor will check your incision to make sure that you are clear to resume regular activity. Everyone’s recovery time is different, but it’s important to rest and take care of your postpartum body for a healthy recovery.

After several months, you will notice that your incision will heal into a scar. Many women say that their scars are still tender to the touch for months after surgery, and some say it is still numb for up to a year. This is normal but immediately consult with your doctor if you feel any pain. If you’d like to help avoid having a noticeable scar, I recommend this balm or these scar sheets. These C-section recovery must-haves can help heal your scar and lessen its appearance.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Belly Bandit Scar Defense
ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets for C-Sections
ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets
Earth mama skin & scar balm
Earth Mama Skin & Scar Balm

8. Loose Fitting Clothing

If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, I highly recommend having several nursing nightgowns. Wearing a soft, loose nursing gown with a cotton bathrobe can be so much more comfortable than wearing pants that could rub too much on your scar. Even sweats or stretchy leggings can sometimes be uncomfortable on your abdomen and incision. A gown with a robe is always a great way to go when recovering at home with baby.

Angel Maternity 3-in-1 Birth Kit
Angel Maternity 3-in-1 Birth Kit

9. Nursing Pillow

Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, having a nursing pillow of some kind is helpful for all parents. Having a soft pillow designed to fit around your body is an excellent barrier between your incision and the weight of your baby. It also helps bring baby closer to you so that you don’t have to bend or lean over, which can irritate your incision.

Boppy Nursing Pillow

Boppy Nursing Pillow

10. Co-Sleeper

Your baby will want to eat (what feels like) constantly throughout the night. It isn’t easy to get in and out of bed after a C-section, so having a co-sleeper is a major postpartum recovery must-have. Getting up every two to three hours at night would be awful for you and your recovery, so having your baby close by is essential. This makes breastfeeding or bottle-feeding so much better since baby is close.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet
C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Halo Bassinest
C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

11. Diaper Caddy

As I just mentioned, moving around a lot is hard early on in your recovery. And if you have multiple levels in your home, it’s recommended that you only take the stairs once a day or none at all the first two weeks, if possible. To make things easier on yourself, have a diaper caddy filled with everything you need for your baby—diapers, wipes, diaper cream, thermometer, nail clippers, nail file, etc. This way, you can bring along the items that you need for your baby wherever you go.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Ubbi Diaper Caddy

12. Comfy Seating

Many women have difficulty getting in and out of bed after a C-section and getting comfortable. This is why so many women recommend having a comfortable recliner or seating area that you can sit in to nurse or bottle-feed baby for the next few weeks while you recover. Think in advance where you might want to sleep and spend your day that will be easier and gentler on your abdomen.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves
Recliner Glider

13. Nursing/Feeding Station

Once you have figured out a good recliner or glider to rest in, make it your nursing/feeding station. Get a cart and stock it with everything that you need close at hand: burp cloths, extra baby clothes, nipple cream, nursing pads, your medications, water bottles, remote control, phone charger, one-handed snacks, and anything else that you’ll need every time you feed your baby.

three-tier rolling cart
Three-Tier Rolling Cart

14. Resources

If you know that you will have to have a C-section for your delivery, reading up on what to expect before, during, and after will make you feel much more prepared.

The Essential C-Section Guide
The Essential C-Section Guide

I hope my list of C-section recovery must-haves helps you have a better transition from pregnancy to motherhood.

This article contains affiliate links. These opinions are our own. However, if you buy something, we may earn a small commission, which helps us keep our content free to our readers. Check out our Chick Picks Shop to see more of our recommended products. It’s our carefully curated shop of products we love and recommend! ❤️


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