It’s been 4 weeks since I had an elective caesarean section and if you didn’t already know, I really didn’t want one. I had written about my concerns as I didn’t know what to expect and I was truly worried! However, my mind was put at ease by having a few essentials to help with my recovery.
The first is a ‘C-Section Belt’ by Theraline. Available at Boots for £20.37, I couldn’t have been without this. It’s basically a “bum bag” which comes with 4 different inserts designed to protect, support and soothe during the recovery period. The inserts consist of a curved plastic protector, a padded insert and inserts which can be heated or cooled.
The first good thing about this belt is that you can wear it underneath your normal, every day clothes. Admittedly, it’s slightly bulkier than one would hope for but if you really want to wear something like jeans and are are worried about them rubbing on your scar, then this belt is for you. Personally, I stuck to wearing it with leggings and pyjama bottoms. I don’t think I’d wear it out and about round the shops as for me it’s one of those things you wear at home where you can just be comfortable with it.
One of my main concerns about having a c-section was that Toby, being the boulder of a toddler he is, would take a good run and jump at me and end up really hurting me. I was conscious that his hands and feet would get in the way and end up hitting where it hurts, however when wearing the c-section belt you don’t have to worry about it. I found a good combination for this was the curved plastic protector with the cushion behind.
One of the best things about this belt is that it allows you to resume your normal every day activities with a bit of confidence. As long as the belt is done up tight enough (it’s an adjustable elastic band so one size will fit all) then the pressure of the hold makes you feel so much better about getting up, moving around and doing everything you would’ve done before. That’s not to say you should be doing housework 4 days after you’ve been sent home, but it certainly helps you to do the few little things you can get on with.
Anyone whose had a caesarean section will know just how hard it is to cough, sneeze, laugh or bear down without having something to hold against your scar. It does hurt and it seems like a physical impossibility to do it without having any pain. Lots of people would suggest having a rolled up towel or a big, bulky pillow to hand for when you need to do any of the above, but if you’re already wearing the belt then you can always use this too. It’s not something you have to take off, and you can wear it for as long as you like. However, I couldn’t wear it in bed. It twisted too much and kind of felt in the way of getting comfortable.
The belt itself isn’t heavy, but is really durable for those little bumps and you feel reassured knowing that if you are going to get hit, it’s not going to be painful and it can also help reduce swelling – believe me there’ll be plenty of it.
It can also be used for lots of other things even after recovering from a c-section. Simply turn it around to use it for any lower back pain you might be suffering with and I’m sure this will come in especially handy for those lady cramps once a month too!
One of my next essentials, that I can’t stop using, is ‘Blissful Tincture’ by The Natural Birthing Company. You may remember me using their ‘Cool It Mama‘ spritz during my pregnancy, which I loved.
Blissful Tincture is a postnatal compress solution designed to ease the discomfort of the more vulnerable areas after giving birth, covering everything from c-section wounds, to episiotomy cuts, stitches of any kind and even haemorrhoids! I really wish I’d known about this when I’d had my episiotomy with Toby.
This is something you can use hot or cold, depending on how your wound is feeling. Just use the dropper to add 1-2 drops of the solution into a jug or bowl of water. I then used a flannel, but you could even use a sanitary pad, to soak up the solution and place it on the wound for anywhere up to half an hour. I did it twice a day for 10 minutes, usually after I’d had a shower. It’s also a good idea, especially if you’ve got stitches to add this to your bath.
It doesn’t have a lasting smell and doesn’t leave any residue, so you feel really fresh after using it. It’s one of those things that you can kind of feel working too. If you can, I’d even recommend this goes in your hospital bag. Once I had taken my dressing off in hospital I didn’t really want to clean it with just any old body wash but had to as that’s all I’d taken. I wish I’d had this, especially when I was feeling a bit grotty and horrible. I’d have used some bottled water and just used it to dip in.
It doesn’t look like a lot for it’s £16.99 price tag but it’s money well spent, especially when it comes to the nature of the wounds.
The next thing you’re going to need is big huge massive knickers. Yes, when I say big, I mean of the granny pants variety. You want them HUGE! Higher than Simon Cowell’s trousers if you can. You don’t want anything rubbing around that area. Don’t forget your belly will still be swollen and your wound won’t heal for quite a few weeks, so you want some that are really comfy and unattractive. The less sexy they are, the better. I literally went to Tesco and brought the biggest ones I could find, don’t worry about what they’ll be thinking at the checkout! Don’t spend loads of money on them though. I’ve been managing fine with 2 packs of 4 at £4.00 each! These are probably the most essential of all essentials out there!
I know that sleep is super hard with a newborn anyway, especially if you already have kids, but sleep is key to recovery. You’d think I’d practice what I preach but I can’t nap during the day. Sleep is when the body heals and recovers so the more you can try and fit in, hopefully the quicker it will heal or at least start to feel better. Try to catch those zeds when you can, for as long as you can.
Make sure you’re airing your wound. I won’t lie, it can get a bit sweaty and horrible so it’s really important to make sure you let it air. Whether you lay on the bed for 15 minutes after a shower to let it dry out naturally, or pop the hairdryer on a cool setting, make sure all the moisture has been taken away before popping your clothes back on. It also just helps you feel that little bit more fresh!
Yummy, food! Caesarean cuts have gone through layers of skin, fat and muscle and everyone knows that protein helps repair muscles. Since this is what will probably take longest to heal, it’s important that you’re getting enough. Protein can be found in everything from chicken, to chickpeas so pop a tin into a chilli, or cook an extra chicken breast for a nice sandwich the next day, it all helps!
Lastly, some people don’t actually realise that you will still bleed after a c-section. This time round I used Organyc maternity pads. They come in packs of 12, all individually wrapped, and these are designed for the first few days where bleeding tends to be at it’s heaviest.
They’re lovely and thick and I found these were less irritating than your average maternity pad. They’re super absorbent and I didn’t have to change them as often as I normally would have. They’re totally organic and free from parabens, perfumes and other nasties too, which you all know I’m a total sucker for. The pads are breathable and with them being so absorbent, it keeps everything nice and dry down there helping to reduce any infections, especially good if you’ve had an episiotomy or a tear and needed stitches.
The only thing I would say about them is that they are quite bulky. I wouldn’t necessarily wear these after the first few days because I’m quite a conscious person. However, I do like that these don’t rustle around. At £5.99 for a pack of 12, they’re not cheap but they are specifically tailored for the first couple of days only, and for the security of no leaks and the fact they’re organic it’s sometimes worth spending that little bit more. Oh, plus they’re good for holding against your caesarean scar if you need to laugh or cough.
What did you use after your caesarean? Anything other essentials like to add?
*The following items were sent to me for review in return for this post – Theraline Caesarean Belt/Blissful Tincture/Organyc Maternity Pads. All opinions are my own and all views are honest.