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No mom can ever forget the sleepless days and nights that follow delivery. While parenting is no doubt a wonderful experience, the initial few weeks after childbirth can be tough. The recovery period after a C-Section delivery will be painful and require the better part of your patience and courage. But remember, this is a temporary phase and you will sail through it eventually.
Why Is It Difficult to Sleep After a C-Section?
Sometimes, during pregnancy and after pregnancy, 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 observed in a lot of women. Improper breathing and collapsing of the airway makes it difficult to stay asleep when you manage to find the time to. Another significant reason why 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 Does Sleeping Position Affect the Quality of Sleep after a Cesarean?
While pain medications almost always help you fall asleep, an appropriate 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 the pressure on your incision.
What Are the Best Sleeping Positions to Adopt after a C-Section Delivery?
There is no single sleeping position that works for everybody. What works for one mom may not work for another. It’s a process of trial and error till you find a sleeping position that suits you best. You can choose from these best ways to sleep after a C-section delivery.
1. On the Back
A lot of women vote sleeping on the back as the most comfortable position after a surgery. In this position, your incision won’t be under any pressure anymore. You can also put a pillow under your knees. The only downside is that you can strain your belly while sitting up or getting out of bed. After a few weeks, try rolling on to your side if it doesn’t hurt much. Women with high blood pressure may be advised against this.
2. To the Side
You might find it comfortable to sleep on your side soon after delivery. Sleeping to the left side aids optimum blood flow and digestion (which you very much need). You can use pillows to support your belly and hips. An advantage of sleeping to the side after a C-Section delivery is that you can prop yourself up on your elbow and push with your arms to sit up and get out of bed. Tip – breathe out while pushing yourself up.
3. Elevated Upper Body
Friends who have had a cesarean delivery will tell you that pillows are your lifesavers. They’re indeed right. Prop yourself on a pile of cosy pillows so that your entire upper body is elevated, not just the head. This position facilitates better breathing and easy sleeping for many suffering from OSA.
4. In a Recliner
For many women, finding comfort in any position becomes really difficult. But many moms have claimed to have slept in a recliner or rocking chair. Of course, it doesn’t feel like sleeping on a bed, but it makes getting up easier. You can also breastfeed with ease.
Tips to Improve Quality of Sleep While You Recover
For new moms, it is important to have sound sleep even if it is for a short duration of time. Since good quality sleep helps you recover faster, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Follow your doctor’s advice and don’t discontinue your medication to get 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 time to heal, the pain will subside eventually and also help you sleep better.
- That said, an optimum amount of movement and exercise can boost blood circulation and quicken the healing process. Once you feel better, you can start with short walks in and around your house. It will help you get better sleep at night.
- Eating right is very important. Anti-inflammatory foods and foods that are high in Vitamin C like berries and broccoli should be included. You can also eat nuts and seeds.
- Constipation is not uncommon for new moms. We advise you to drink lots of water and include fibre-rich foods to your diet. You can also ask your doctor about using a stool softener for better bowel movements. An irritable tummy can cause discomfort and make sleeping difficult.
- Avoid getting up from bed too often during the first few weeks. You can request your husband and family to bring your baby to you when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
We get a lot of questions on how to sleep after undergoing a C-section. Here we’ve answered a few of them.
1. Is It Okay If I Roll Onto My Belly While Sleeping?
Although rolling onto your belly is something you don’t have control over, deliberately sleeping on your stomach is advised against. That’s because the incision site will be sore and undergoing recovery. As the pain gradually subsides with time, you can sleep on your tummy if you find it comfortable.
2. Getting Out of Bed Is Very Difficult for Me Afte a C-section. Any tips?
While getting up from your sleeping position, turn to either side and prop yourself up with the help of your elbows. You can also ask a family member to assist you with this. First, assume a comfortable seated position and then let your legs dangle over the side of the bed. Put your feet on the floor and rest for a minute before you stand up. This method will make getting out of bed in the morning easier.
These are some of the most comfortable ways for good sleep after a C-section. Your emotional health is your first priority. A healthy and positive mind accelerates physical recovery. A happy you is what your baby needs right now.