Some of us are planners and we like to be in charge! Even with labor & delivery, we create a birth plan & have several conversations with our doctors, surrogates, and intended parents. For months, we have all been planning for the big day, and we want to be prepared.
Before delivery, it is important to have a “postpartum care kit” put together. Of course, the hospital will give you some lovely new undergarments to wear for a few days but there are some essentials to have available for when you get home. Some things you may want to have on hand are:
High waist underwear, pads, stool softener, comfy clothes, and Advil (pain reliever). If you can have someone home with you for the next few days, that will help ensure you can get some quality rest as well.
The time has come & it is Baby Day!!
For some a c-section is not part of the plan, but for others it is. If you end up with a c-section, give yourself grace! You and your body did an amazing job! You grew & protected a baby for 9 months so do not be disappointed in the way you had to deliver. Sometimes c sections are medically necessary & you are a ROCKSTAR!! You created a family & now we want you to take time to rest & recover.
For all that have had c sections, there are certain things you can do to help with & possibly speed up recovery. The most important thing is to not over do it!
From day 1 in the hospital, it is important to start wiggling your toes and help regain feeling in your lower half after surgery. It is normal for your body to have the shakes as the spinal or epidural are wearing off. If you are itchy, having challenges breathing, or are just not feeling right- please make your nurse aware.
Once you feel strong enough to get up, move with caution! Take your time to stand and walk. Your nurse will help you if you feel up to going to the restroom, but again, do not overdo it. It will feel so good to get out of bed. You may be in the hospital for 3-4 days & it will take 4-6 weeks for recovery, so take your time in healing.
In the hospital, they may offer a girdle or abdominal binder. If they don’t, ask for one!! It will provide support to your abdominal area, help with circulation to your incision & help promote wound healing. It will also provide support & take a lot of pressure off of your incision.
As a surrogate it is helpful that you do not have a baby to care for, but you will need to take it easy with your own children – no heavy lifting or vigorous activity for several weeks. If you have a recliner, it will be your best friend for the next few weeks. Be careful getting up & out of bed and use a pillow over your incision to help support your core.
Watch & care for your incision. The hospital with give you discharge paperwork & it will detail how to care for your incision. Keep your incision clean & dry. If you have steri-strips on, they will start coming off in a few weeks on their own. If you experience any oozing or bleeding at your incision, call your doctor’s office. They may even want to see you. Once the strips come off, your scar can start healing. Ask your doctor prior to applying anything to your scar.
As far as your diet goes, high fiber & anti-inflammatory foods will ease with recovery. Did you know chicken bone broth is a postpartum super-food because it is rich in amino acids & collagen that encourage wound & internal healing? It may also speed up recovery time. Remember to stay hydrated as well.
If you are not pumping or nursing, you will want to know how to relieve pain & prevent engorgement. The best tips are cabbage leaves, Sudafed, and tight sports bras. This works but it may take a few days.
At your postpartum checkup your doctor will check your incision, address any concerns, and usually release you from medical care. Once you are medically cleared it is bittersweet. It is the official end to your journey. We are so thankful for you & your willingness to help create a family & we are so very proud of you!
We asked one of our Surrogates, Juli, a Certified Doula and Lactation Counselor, for some tips on recovery after having a c-section. She said not to be surprised if you see a bigger delay in your milk coming in after you’ve had a c-section. It could take up to 7 days. When your milk does come in, and if you are engorged, it is most likely due to your tissue swelling. Taking Ibuprofen and using ice should help with swelling, allowing milk to be removed.
Consistency is key when you want to produce your maximum output by exclusively pumping after delivery. Removing milk efficiently every 2-3 hrs for 30 minutes is very important in establishing a successful supply.
Postpartum care is more easily ignored when you don’t have a baby home with you. It’s important to let yourself heal and not jump back into everyday life right away. Don’t be afraid to remind people that you just had a baby, and ask for help or hire help for a few weeks until you start feeling yourself again. Advocate for yourself!
Juli is a doula, a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. I also am a certified lactation counselor and a specialist when it comes to pumping. I would love to elevate and support you in such a beautiful yet emotional transition in your lives and I would be honored to help you have the birth experience you want! For more on Juli & her services: