3 Things You Can Do To Optimize Your Cesarean Recovery

- Authored by Jess Conti of Jess and Lee Maternity

I know some of you may read this and think, “why do I need to think about my recovery, won’t the doctor and nurses help me with that?”. Yes. They will. But, they shouldn’t be the only ones focused on your recovery. This is YOUR body and YOUR recovery. No one will look out for you better than you!

Also, our healthcare system is exhausted and doing their very best with what they have so being informed, and prepared will set you up for success.


Mom and Baby Post C-Section
Any who! Let’s take charge of that cesarean recovery!

First, let’s review the basics of a typical cesarean so you know why I chose these 3 tips.

Disclaimer: this post is discussing typical cesarean deliveries, there are many different scenarios and variables in a cesarean that affect the outcome. Please always follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.


  • you will receive a spinal anesthetic that causes you to experience numbness from approximately the neck/nipples down, but it keeps you awake so you can enjoy your baby as soon as they are delivered.

  • With this numbness, you cannot control your bladder. So, you receive an in dwelling catheter (that means it’s a catheter that stays in for awhile).

  • You also cannot move your lower body. So your legs cannot move and it is common practice in many hospital to apply stockings that massage you and prevent your blood from pooling in this area.

  • During the procedure, an incision is made through multiple layers of skin, fat, the muscle tissue of the uterus and the amniotic sac. During this the abdominal muscles are usually separated to gain access to the uterus, but occasionally (not very often) need to be cut as well.

Okay, moving on to recovery! Let’s discuss my top 3 tips for cesarean recovery.

  1. Get up and walk as soon as you are able to

  2. Keep on top of pain management

  3. Drink water

Let’s go through the rationale for each.

Walking is literally the best thing you can do to recover from surgeries because:

  • it promotes blood flow and decreases the chance of clots,

  • encourages deep breathing, which is great for your lungs,

  • helps you manage pain,

  • keeps your heart muscle active,

  • releases oxytocin which helps your uterus contract, which we want it to do so it gets back to normal size,

  • helps your appetite return,

  • helps your bladder and bowels to move which means you get back to peeing and pooping normally again! 

  • The sooner you are up and walking, the sooner you get to get rid of that pesky catheter too!

Pain Management includes taking Tylenol, Advil and/or some type of narcotic to minimize pain symptoms from the caesarean surgery.
  • Find the pain management medication that works for you. This may take some trial and error, and is something you’ll have to do in the moment,
  • Advocate for the type of pain management that has worked well for you in the past,
  • Regardless of which pills you are taking, make sure you are staying on top of your pain and not waiting to get to the point of severe pain before you treat it,
  • Be proactive! Pain impedes healing from a caesarean because your body needs to focus on the pain instead of the actual injury site,
  • Pain can cause difficulty with releasing urine, so if your catheter is out you may have a harder time peeing,
  • Pain can decrease your appetite, decrease your milk supply and, well, it sucks to be in pain obviously!
  • You can’t exactly rest in between feedings if you are in a significant amount of pain.

Drink water:

  • Initially, you will be hooked up to IV fluids before, during and after the surgery,

  •  Starting off with small sips of water or chewing on ice chips and progressing to drinking more as you feel you are able is a great way to start hydrating yourself without the IV and get your digestive system working again,

  • It’s not a good idea to CHUG water immediately after your cesarean, that sill  irritate it your stomach and that will make you puke. Your stomach was effected by that numbing and analgesics used in the surgery as well.

  • Drinking water can really speed up the recovery process because then you can get rid of your IV fluids sooner.

  • Drinking water is amazing for you in general, but it is also particularly amazing for you with while you are healing from a caesarean,

  • Drinking water helps with producing breastmilk.


Now, these are definitely not ALL the things you can do to optimize your cesarean birth, but it's a simple start to ensuring your recovery goes as smooth as possible.
Jess and Lee Maternity offers courses online and in-person that can help you even further! The most relevant services we offer for cesarean preparation AND recovery are:
  • Cesarean Specific Childbirth Class - hosted at Holistic Institute of Health and Fertility December 18th. This class is a childbirth class focused on cesarean deliveries. We will discuss what to expect, medical interventions, pain management, recovery and how to manage newborn care.

  • Jess & Lee Prenatal Consultation - provided in-home, virtually or we can arrange in a clinic setting. We address your current questions and concerns about your birth and assist with birth plan creation, postpartum planning, infant feeding preparations and more!

  • Private Prenatal Crash Course - provided in-home, virtually or we can arrange in a clinic setting. We customize a childbirth education course to your circumstances and concerns for you and your support people. You can also choose to include other expecting families for a larger private class!

  • Postpartum/Newborn Respite - if you are in Strathmore, Calgary and area, Jess can assist you with your recovery and parenting tasks. She will care for your baby in between feedings, assist you with light housework/meal prep and more! She also offers OVERNIGHT respite to help you optimize your sleep in between feeds.

Cesareans are no joke (I’ve had 2 of them), but they can go quite smoothly when we are proactive.

Have more questions? Send me an email at jess@jlmaternity.ca or DM us on Instagram @jessandleematernity

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