Dos & Don’ts After A C-Section

Having a C-section is major surgery. Like all surgeries, each person will recover from them in their own time. But there are ways that moms can shorten or extend their healing time based on what they do in the four to six weeks after babies were born via C-section. And while it may feel like an eternity to follow the rules about what can and cannot be done and to consistently as for the assistance of others, the recovery time will feel like nothing in how long healing will take if there are complications. Complications that could have been avoided if moms knew and followed the dos and don’ts after a C-section.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 32 percent of women deliver their babies via C-section yearly. That is quite a few women who could be extending their recovery time if they do not pay attention to what doctors tell them they should and should not do in the days and weeks after the procedure.

And while it is understandable that mothers want to be able to do it all because that is what they are wired to do, it is a time to focus on health and recovery. It may be hard while in the throes of healing but well worth it when mothers are fully healed and can participate fully with their babies just weeks after they are born.

RELATED: How To Clean Your C-Section Incision: Step-By-Step Instructions

Here are the dos and don’ts after a C-section.

What Moms Can Do Physically After A C-Section

During the first six weeks after having a C-section, doing high-impact exercise or heavy lifting should be avoided. However, that does not mean that moms have to be sedentary. In fact, it is better for them if they are not.

According to Flowhat moms can do physical after a C-section includes:

  • Going on slow walks
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Work on good posture to strengthen abdominal muscles
  • Do light stretches that stretch everything but the incision site
  • Kegel exercises
  • Lift and hold their baby

While it may seem like no progress in physicality is being made by doing these exercises in the days and weeks after giving birth via C-section, by working on these activities, muscles are being strengthened. That builds a good base for women when they are fully healed and ready to return to their normal exercise routine when cleared by their doctors.

What Moms Cannot Do Physically After A C-Section

As much as moms want to get back into being physically active, the few short weeks after having a C-section is not the time to try high-intensity workouts. Instead of helping the body and helping it become stronger, doing this type of activity will have the opposite effect instead.

According to BabyCenterthe things that moms cannot do physically after a C-section include:

  • Abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, plans, or any other exercise used to target the abs
  • Exercise that causes moms to jump, squat, or run
  • High-intensity exercise that causes strain on the body
  • Exercise that causes pulling on the incision site
  • Lifting anything more than the baby

For those moms who were very active before a C-section, abiding by these recommendations may be tough. But it is better to follow guidelines from the get-go than it is to extend healing time as a result of infections and complications.

What Moms Should Eat After A C-Section

To help the body heal from the surgery, eating nutritious meals can help to move that process meals along.

According to Parenting FirstCrythe foods that moms should eat following a C-section include:

  • Protein to help with the cell rebuilding process
  • Whole grains to keep energy levels up and help with milk production
  • Foods full of vitamins and minerals like fruits and vegetables that help repair damaged tissue
  • Fiber-filled food to help keep constipation at bay
  • Foods containing iron to replace stores lost during the C-section
  • Water and other liquids to aid with digestion
  • Dairy to get the daily allotment of calcium

The healthier moms are able to eat in the weeks after a C-section, the faster their bodies will heal and the quicker they will feel like themselves again as well.

What Moms Should Not Eat After A C-Section

After a C-section, the digestive system can be thrown out of whack until it is able to repair itself. As such, there are some foods that should be avoided.

According to DayToDayfoods and beverages that should be avoided after a C-section include:

  • Fermented food
  • Fried food
  • Fruits or vegetables that cause bloating
  • Carbonated beverage
  • Citrus juices
  • Coffee
  • Tea

These foods either cause bloating, heartburn, or indigestion. None of which mothers who just had a C-section want to be dealing with in conjunction with the pain already being dealt with as a result of the procedure.

What Moms Can Do For Incision Site Care After A C-Section

After a C-section, doctors and nurses will go over the care necessary for the incision site so that it does not reopen or become infected. A document will be sent home as well to reference so that moms know how to adequately care for their incisions.

According to MedlinePlusthe way to care for a C-section incision site includes:

  • Change the dressing daily or more often if it gets wet
  • Wash the incision with mild soap
  • Showers may be taken with dressing removed if staples, glue, or stitches were used to close the incision
  • Pat Steri-Strips dry after cleaning the wound

Doctors will let mothers know when the dressing can be removed and for how long the site needs to be cleaned to keep infections from occurring.

What Moms Cannot Do For Incision Site Care After A C-Section

It may seem like the more aggressive the cleaning, the cleaner the incision site will be. This is not true, and could actually cause more harm than good. This is why it is necessary to know what not to do when cleaning the incision site.

According to MedlinePlusthe incision site should NOT be cared for in ways that include:

  • Scrubbing the incision
  • Taking a bath
  • Washing off Stei-Strip or glue from the incision

Be gentle with the incision site. Skin was literally cut through to birth a baby. Take time to recover properly, and the incision will heal beautifully.

Source: Centers for Disease Control, Flo, BabyCenter, Parenting FirstCry, DayToDay, MedlinePlus

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