Both vaginal births and cesarean deliveries are painful experiences, as mothers full-well know. For those future parents out there, don’t worry, the pain subsides quickly. The problem with a cesarean, however, that’s not the same as natural births, is figuring out how to sleep comfortably after the operation.
There are various sleeping positions that are better for mothers who need to heal after delivering a child through a cesarean. Trying to get a comfortable sleep after a c-section can be painful for women so discussing the best sleeping positions with your doctor is highly recommended.
If delivering a baby by cesarean, it’s normal to need a few extra days of recovery time in the hospital compared with those that have a natural birth and can go home within a day or two. What you will find during your recovery period is that sleeping after a c-section doesn’t come easy. Keep reading below to find out more about recovering from a cesarean and how to get a proper night’s sleep.
How to Sleep After Giving Birth by C-Section
Along with imbalanced hormones and insomnia caused by a lack of sleep during pregnancy, women can find it very difficult to get some shut-eye, especially after giving birth. Trying to get sleep after giving birth by cesarean also has painful side effects for new mothers.
Multiple sleeping positions are recommended by doctors for women who have given birth via c-section to help them get a better night’s rest without being in so much pain.
There are also numerous other tips and advice from doctors and mothers who have been there before.
Here are some things to consider to help you sleep after a c-section:
- Keep everything you might need close at hand including pain medication and water
- Consider sleeping on a recliner couch or in a separate bed to get enough space and avoid any possible accidents
- If you have a high bed, consider moving the mattress to the floor so it’s not so hard to et in and out of bed
- Use as many pillows as you need
- Rest as much as you need. Don’t do more than you can handle and set yourself a limit. There’s no point overexerting yourself when you have a baby to care for now.
- Avoid staircases if you can. If your bedroom and the baby’s bedroom are upstairs, try moving yourself downstairs to a spare room or the living room for a few weeks.
- You still need some exercise for good blood flow and to keep your muscles from seizing up or tightening too much.
- We highly recommend using the first few weeks of your recovery time to stay in bed and milk it as much as you can if your husband is home, he’d do it to you, right?
- Eat healthy foods for vitamins and nutrients that your body is going to seriously need to help the recovery process. Healthy foods help to stimulate strength and muscle growth.
Light Exercises to do After a C-Section
As mentioned above in our tips on how to sleep better after a c-section, there are some light exercises you can try to do to keep your muscle cells from shrinking and becoming weaker.
Postnatal exercises are crucial to help you through your recovery process but don’t push yourself until you’re ready to do more. Stay away from heavy and vigorous workouts or you can risk setting your recovery time back by weeks.
To prevent this, you can try some of the following light exercises after around 2-4 weeks of rest:
- Regular walking
- Low-impact cardio
These low-impact exercises will help you get better sleep at night too.
Avoid running, jumping, contact sports, core exercises, and HIIT until you’ve recovered fully from your c-section.
What are the Best Sleeping Positions After Delivering a Baby by C-Section?
If you’re planning for a c-section or have recently had a c-section, we highly recommend being prepared for some sleepless and painful nights. Of course, we don’t share this news with you lightly or to scare you, but to give you time to prepare and to understand that you’re not alone in your pain and sleep deprivation.
Pain medication can help you fall asleep, but once you’re asleep it’s the position you find yourself sleeping in that makes decent sleep an issue.
We’re here to help by providing you with the best possible positions to sleep in to avoid more and heightened pain.
Here are some of the best sleeping positions to try after having a cesarean:
- Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees will keep any pressure off your incision.
- To avoid stretching your abdomen you can sleep on your left side to enhance blood flow and to prop yourself up easier when getting out of bed.
- Sleep on a recliner couch instead of a bed for the first few weeks to keep your upper body slightly elevated to enable better breathing and less abdominal stretching.
- Avoid positions that stretch the abdomen, like sleeping on your belly, and consider using pillows to prop yourself up and sleep upright rather than lying down where you’re at more risk of stretching.
Ensuring that you have a good sleep will help you to recover faster, even if it’s short but good periods of sleep as your body works hard to heal and restore your wounds, injuries, and illnesses, by creating more white blood cells that attack bad and harmful cells.
Your brain is also able to focus more clearly on issues within your body that need attention while your heart and muscles are taking a break.
Recovering from a C-Section
Considering we use our abdominal muscles for something we usually find simple like walking, it’s no surprise that mothers feel so much abdominal pain after a c-section and that recovery time is a minimum to a maximum of 6 to 8 weeks.
A c-section involves having an abdominal and uterine incision, usually between the navel and pubic bone line in a vertical line or also commonly in a horizontal line on the lower right abdomen. Mothers sometimes opt to have a c-section or need to have a c-section depending on the health and position of their unborn infant.
Doctors will make their recommendations based on the following:
- If the baby is in distress
- If multiple babies are being delivered
- If your unborn baby is in an abnormal position
- If there’s an issue with the placenta or umbilical cord
Did you know that we use our abdomen muscles to allow body movement, hold internal organs in place, and support muscles in our back to protect our spine and keep our body stable?
Because of where the incision is made in the abdomen, there are numerous other risks involved and that includes:
- Blood clots
- Wound infection
Preparing for a c-section, which can be highly challenging on a body, is the best way to avoid the risks and to help you recover after the surgery. This includes learning the best ways to help you get a good sleep to speed up the healing process.
Delivering a baby by c-section is usually something that parents plan for but this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, we don’t always get a choice and we must do what’s best at the moment for the health of our babies. As much as it hurts, the pain is worth it and there are ways to overcome and prevent the pain following the surgery.
Help yourself get a good night’s sleep almost every night after a c-section by following the above advice and tips and by getting as much rest as you physically need. Try various sleeping positions until you find one that suits you, and you’ll be sleeping better in no time.