First off, I just want to say, that you can’t expect to be able to control every aspect of your C-section recovery. Just like there are many uncontrollable variables during delivery, there will be uncontrollable variables during your postpartum recovery as well. It’s great (and wise!) to have a plan and be well-prepared but know that there is a good possibility that your plan may be derailed from time to time.
What You Should Have:
1. A Support System
Typically, when you think of a postpartum support system, you think of family. Family is great to have around, but what if you don’t live close to family or they can’t come over to help at the drop of a hat? Of course, there are friends or other groups you may be a part of that can help; but another great option is a postpartum doula. These women are trained to assist in many areas of postpartum support that includes both you and the baby. They can be tremendous resources in helping you in the first few weeks and months postpartum.
2. A Food Plan
Nutrition is a vital aspect of postpartum recovery, but one that is often overlooked. Filling your body with nutrient-rich, warm food can aid in helping your body heal after all it’s been through during delivery. Consider making some food prior to the baby’s birth that can be kept in the freezer and then used in the postpartum period, when you definitely aren’t going to feel like preparing meals!
3. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
Just because you didn’t have a vaginal birth does not mean that your pelvic floor has not been weakened. You still carried a baby throughout the duration of your pregnancy, which places a lot of pressure on those muscles. Take some time to get evaluated before and after your delivery to ensure that you are well-informed about what’s going on down there and can heal appropriately!
4. A Fitness Plan – including a Postpartum Fitness Coach!
If you do any googling, or even asking your OB about what to do about fitness postpartum, you’re going to read/hear a lot of restrictive instruction. “Don’t lift more than 20 pounds, don’t do any kind of core work, etc”. While I’m sure these guidelines are intended to be helpful, they are too generic. Every woman and her experience is different. Work with your Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist and your Postpartum Fitness Coach to come up with a plan to return to fitness that works best for you!
You won’t know exactly how your delivery or postpartum will go but having a plan can give you a sense of confidence, knowing that no matter what comes, you have people on your side and a plan to move forward. Take these 4 things into consideration and be as well prepared you’re your fourth trimester as you can be!