What Not to Do When Recovering from a C-Section

Today is Cesarean Section Day, and to be quite honest, I have no idea what the holiday is supposed to be about, but I thought it would be a good time to discuss what NOT to do when recovering from a c-section.

csection recovery what not to do


Alas, I have very intimate first-hand knowledge of this topic, as my c-section went wrong in so many lovely ways. The only part of it that went right was the part where they dragged my premature, full-breech son out so he could live. Of course, they broke his arm in the process, so even that part was a little flawed. That picture over there is me about three days after my c-section. I was still majorly swollen from the preeclampsia, but it was the first time I held my baby, so it’s a favorite.

Recovering from a c-section

I almost feel bad writing this, as I don’t want to scare any new moms-to-be. Let me be clear, most women recover from a  c-section without any major issues. Sure, you’re sore afterward for a bit, but in general, you heal fairly fast and everything is just peaches and cream. At least that’s what I’m told! Mine was abnormal in so many ways, and part of my post-childbirth actions definitely contributed to the issues. Without further ado…

What NOT to do when recovering from a C-Section

  • Don’t mistake “walk around the floor a bit” with “walk to the NICU ten times a day on your own.” Shortly after your c-section, a nurse is going to come to you and tell you that it’s time to get out of bed. They want you walking a little to help with the healing process. By this, they mean walk the unit floor, staying relatively close to your own room in case you tire out. I got sick of waiting for people to come take me to see my baby, so I walked myself back and forth to the NICU on the other side of the floor about ten times a day. I started doing this less than 48 hours after my c-section. Even the nurses were flabbergasted, considering I had also just come off a mag drip and wasn’t exactly the vision of health at the time!
  • Don’t assume the doctors know better all the time. This was my biggest downfall I think- trusting that a medical intern knew better than what my logic told me. When my staples came out and the steri-strips went on, there was about an inch at the end that wouldn’t close. The strips kept falling off. The intern told me not to worry, it would be fine and close on its own. I spent the next six weeks getting that part of the incision packed because it did NOT close properly on its own. Logically, I knew the intern had to be wrong, but I figured since he was a doctor, he had to know better than me.
  • On the other hand, don’t completely ignore all your doctor’s advice to take it easy! While the lack of proper closing procedures on the incision contributed significantly to the six weeks of packing, the fact that I ignored advice to take it easy and attempted to resume life as normal less than a week after the surgery could have also contributed. I climbed steps, went grocery shopping without using one of those fancy motorized carts, and basically did anything but rest. The only thing I didn’t do was drive, because I always obey when it comes to the safety of others. Just not so much when it comes to myself.

Let me tell you, my friends and readers, getting your incision packed for six weeks because it didn’t heal properly the first time around is NOT fun. Not even remotely.When you are recovering from a c-section, do what you’re supposed to do, follow directions, and take it easy. Trust your instincts too. If you do those things, and avoid doing what I did, chances are your c-section will go off without a hitch.

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19 Responses to “What Not to Do When Recovering from a C-Section”

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  1. It seems like such a tough recovery. Both times I did it natural. That’s a tough recovery too though! LOL! =)

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      I’m so jealous of those who got to do it naturally, because I missed the whole screaming in the delivery room and deep breathing thing. I’m so weird, right? I hear it’s not all that fun! But still, after six years of trying, I kind of wanted that TV show delivery. I can’t complain though, all that really matters is that I managed to deliver a healthy, albeit tiny, baby.

  2. Oy, I have a hard enough time recovering from traditional labor. I can’t IMAGINE recovering from a c-section!

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      I’ve had friends tell me traditional labor is harder sometimes. I think I was a total freak incident, just a series of unfortunate events, lol.

  3. I will be having my 5th c-section on April. I break all the rules and have recovered nicely. The last c-section I didn’t even want any pain meds because I felt fine, praying all goes good this c-section. :)

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      Wow, you’re either amazingly resilient and tough, or really blessed with easy c-sections. I’m so glad to hear that all of yours went off without a hitch, even though you’re a rebel when it comes to the rules. :) I hope that streak continues for your 5th one!

  4. Dawn says:

    I had toxemia with my daughter and, fortunately, I did not have to get a c-section. They just induced my labor. I am glad that you and your baby were fine, though – albeit besides the poor little thing’s broken arm. :(

    P.S. It’s also National Dress Up Your Pet Day {much more festive! lol}


    • Nicole Etolen says:

      They were going to induce, but then my son’s heart rate started dropping. My kidneys were getting dangerously close to shutting down too, so they decided to just do the c-section. I’m glad you were able to skip that part!

  5. Emily says:

    WOW! That sounds like a horrible experience, sorry to hear that you endured all of that. It must have been tough, I can’t even imagine.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      It was enough that I decided to stop after one baby, but in the end, now that it’s 7 years in the past, I wouldn’t take it back because I have a pretty cool kid out of the deal.

  6. I completely agree with ALL of those statements. I am so grateful that my second cesarean birth was when my boys were older and I had plenty of helpers with the baby so I could rest enough.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      If I had to do it again, resting would definitely be at the top of my list! I’m glad you had help the second time around!

  7. laura says:

    You poor thing! I had a rough time the first go around (not c-section..just a rough delivery). It sucks because you hear what’s it’s supposed to be like and then it’s not that.
    You have very good tips. The not overdoing it is applicable after other procedures too.

  8. I’m pretty impressed with how you strengthened back up so quickly. Way to walk!

  9. Jeana says:

    I’m sorry to hear you had such a tough time during such a special moment in your life. It’s hard enough being a new mom, for sure.

  10. mel says:

    I am bookmarking this. I had two Csections and my friends always ask me about this. Thanks for the thorough post!

  11. Cecile says:

    I had a c-section followed by two natural births. I actually liked the c-section better, but maybe because I was catered to more!

  12. Kenzie Shoultz says:

    I needed this advice 6.5 years ago! I ripped out all of my staples from the repeated getting up and down that comes with a single mom having a newborn! Aside from the pain and tenderness, I had a pretty good recovery. And I have a pretty cute little man to show for it. :)

  13. Shary says:

    My friend just had a cesarean and she was upset because the hospital staff was horrible. She’s a very sarcastic woman, so we tried to lighten the situation by making jokes and such. One day she tells me, “I love you and I appreciate everything you’re doing. You make me feel better… but seriously… it hurts so bad to laugh.” Thankfully she didn’t have too many healing issues. That totally sucks that you had to go through that!

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