How to Sleep after Cesarean Delivery

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New mother and baby sleeping

Every mom in the world will always remember the sleepless days and nights that follow for a few weeks after the delivery. While parenting is a wonderful experience, the initial few weeks after childbirth can be tough. Especially the painful recovery period after a C-Section delivery will need the better part of your patience and courage. But remember, this is temporary, and you will sail through it eventually and will be able to spend more time enjoying with your baby.

Why Is It Difficult To Sleep after C-Section?

It is observed that sometimes during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, a woman’s airway is unable to function smoothly due to increased hormone levels and increased abdominal volume. This condition is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and is observed in a lot of women. Improper breathing and collapsing of the airway while sleeping makes it difficult to stay asleep when you manage to find the time to sleep. Another major reason why many moms suffer from insomnia, fatigue and depression after a C-Section delivery, is the ‘pain’. But, with proper care and precautions, you’ll be able to recover faster.

How Can a Correct Sleeping Position Help You Sleep Well after Caesarean?

Getting in and out of bed is one of the most painful tasks after a c-section delivery. As a new mom struggles to take care and breastfeed your baby, you also need to take proper care of your own health. While the narcotic pain medication will help you to fall asleep, a correct sleeping position will ensure better breathing and a sound nap. Choosing the most comfortable sleeping position will reduce the strain on your abdominal muscles, in turn reducing risk to your incision.

A new mom with her child

What Are The Best Positions to Sleep after A C-Section Delivery?

There isn’t be a single best sleeping position that works for everybody. Depending on the level of ease and comfort you experience in certain positions and the ability to get up easily, you can choose among the following best possible ways to sleep after a C-section delivery.

1. On Your Back

A lot of women have found sleeping on their backs to be the most comfortable position in the first few days and weeks after the surgery. If you have abnormal blood pressure, you may be advised against this. In this position, your incision side won’t be under any pressure. You can try putting a pillow under your knees. The only downside is that it’s difficult to sit up or get out of bed and can strain your belly. After a few more weeks, try and roll to your side if it doesn’t hurt too much.

2. On Your Side

You might even find it comfortable to sleep on your side soon after your delivery. If possible, you may try sleeping on your left side as it aids optimum blood flow and digestion (which you will very much need). You can use pillows to support your belly and hips if you need to. An advantage of sleeping on the side after C-Section delivery is that you can prop up on your elbow and push yourself up with your arms to sit up and get out of bed with lesser pain. (Tip – breathe out when pushing up.)

A woman sleeping on her side3. Elevate Your Upper Body with Pillows

You’ll often find your friends who have had a cesarean delivery telling you how pillows can be your lifesavers. They’re indeed right. If none of the above is helping you, prop yourself up on a pile of cosy pillows so that your entire upper body is elevated, not just the head. This position has been observed to facilitate better breathing and easier sleeping for many suffering from OSA as well.

4. Upright or in a Recliner

For many women, finding comfort in almost any position becomes really difficult. But many moms have claimed to have slept sitting up propped up on the couch with lots of pillows or in a recliner or in a rocking chair. Of course, it isn’t the most fun way to sleep normally, but it makes getting up easier and you can breastfeed or sleep with your baby on your chest. Recliners that go up with the push of a button seem to have provided a lot of moms a good sleep for the first two weeks or so.

Tips to Improve Your Sleep While Recovering

For new moms, it is important to have a sound sleep even if it is for a short amount of time. Since a good quality sleep helps you recover sooner, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice and stay on your pain medication to get a better sleep.
  • Avoid exerting yourself, climbing stairs, or lifting weights heavier than your baby. You might run a risk of inviting complications and losing sleep. If you give your body the time to heal, the pain will subside eventually, while helping you sleep better.
  • An optimum amount of movement and exercise can be very crucial in boosting your blood circulation and healing process but avoid any strenuous activity. Once you feel better, on your doctor’s advice, try and walk around a little as it will help you get better sleep at night.
  • Eating right is very important. Eat anti-inflammatory foods and foods that are high in Vitamin-C, like berries and broccoli. You can also eat nuts and seeds. As your recovery speeds up, it will help you have a good night’s sleep.
  • Constipation is not uncommon for new moms. It’s advised to drink lots of water and include fibre in your diet. You can also ask your doctor about using a stool softener for better bowel movements. Since an irritable tummy can cause discomfort which makes sleeping difficult.
  • Try not getting up too often after you lie down during the first few weeks. You can get help from your husband or family & friends to help you get up or to bring your baby to you when needed.

Find the most comfortable ways to sleep properly. But first and foremost, keep your emotional health on priority. It is true that a healthy and positive mind accelerates physical recovery. A happy mom is the most what your baby needs right now.

Also Read: Best Sleeping Positions during Pregnancy

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