Helpful Tips

The Best Positions to Sleep After a C-Section

All new moms are well aware of the fact that sleeping for hours at a time is simply impossible, especially during the first few months after giving birth. At first, you will only be able to rest a few minutes but you can kiss goodbye to an entire night of sleep. That’s why it is essential that the small amount of sleep you get to be as good as possible.

Well, after a C section, achieving a good-quality rest, especially during recovery, can be quite a challenge. Below, I have talked about some of the best positions to sleep after a C section as well as other useful tips on how to improve your rest in order to lower pain.

The Best Position to Sleep after a C Section

1. On Your Back

For most new moms who went through a C section surgery, the most comfortable and convenient sleep position is on the back, especially during the first couple of weeks after the procedure. The position’s main benefit is given by the fact that you won’t put any pressure on the incision area. In fact, the first few days, women are even advised by their doctors to sleep like this in order to avoid the risk of opening up their stitches. To make the entire thing even more comfortable, try to place a pillow right under your knees.

On the other hand, if you deal with abnormal levels of blood pressure, sleeping on your back might not be the best choice. Also, one of the main disadvantages of this particular sleep position is the effort you must make to get out of bed. Sitting up from this position might cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, after a while, you should try the following position as well. As long as you don’t feel too much pain, all of them are pretty safe.

2.  On Your Side

Although the most popular position after a C section is the one I have just discussed, there are plenty of women out there that prefer to rest on their side. This is another comfortable sleep position that helps you relieve discomfort while also not putting any pressure on the incision. Not to mention that’s significantly less painful to sit up from this position. Sleeping on one side promotes better blood flow and ensures optimum digestion. Go ahead and use pillows that you can place under your belly and between your hips for better support.

This sleeping position is recommended to those new moms who experience an abnormal blood pressure. I will even let you in on a little secret: when you push yourself on your elbow to get up, breathe out. In general, all physical activities or movements that require our muscles to engage more should be done while exhaling.

3. On Several Pillows

You can use multiple pillows to ensure support and elevate your upper body part. All moms who have gone through a C section know what I am talking about. When your whole body feels painful and sore, pillows become your best friend. Heck, I would build a fortress made of pillows if I were you. If you’ve tried all the other possible positions and they all feel uncomfortable, prop yourself with pillows and try to find your own sleeping positions that your body can enjoy.

Usually, you achieve more relaxing positions if you put a pillow under your belly and another pillow under your hips or knees. This way, you will lower back pressure. So, as you can see, in cases such as this one, pillows are real lifesavers. You can even go all the way and put a large pile of pillows to elevate your whole body, not only the upper part. According to experts, this position leads to easier sleeping and better breathing.

4. In an Upright Position

There are women for whom sleeping in any kind of position after a C section surgery is truly difficult. However, these moms have come up with a solution. They used to sleep on the couch while being propped with pillows, in an almost upright position. Using a rocking chair or a recliner could also do the trick. Obviously, this isn’t the best or the most comfortable sleep position but it gets highly convenient when you have to get up to breastfeed your infant. In addition, this position is mostly used during the first 2 weeks of recovery.

Fortunately, the upright position is a temporary one and once the pain goes away, you will be able to sleep normally again, in your favorite position.

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The Importance of Sleep Positions after a C Section

There are many things you should consider when choosing the best sleep position after a C section. Sleeping in a certain position will provide the following benefits:

  • Lower pain and discomfort during the recovery period;
  • Help you prevent any potential complications;
  • Support a better and deeper sleep.

In conclusion, choosing the right sleep position for you might help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for a longer time.

How to Improve Your Sleep During the Recovery Period

Sound sleep is crucial for everyone but for new moms is even more important because they spend less time resting. After a C section, one should have a high quality sleep to speed up recovery. To improve your sleep you should really follow the recommendations listed below:

  • Don’t let yourself get too exhausted and try to avoid activities that require too much effort from your part such as climbing up and down the stairs, lifting heavy objects, etc. Give your body the necessary time to heal because once the pain subsides, you will be able to sleep better. Not doing physically-demanding tasks right after your C section will also help you avoid potential complications;
  • If your doctor has prescribed pain medication or if you have received any advice from him or her, try to follow his or her advice;
  • Although your body is sore and you should avoid intense physical activities, just sitting all day or lying on the couch won’t do you any good. What you should do instead is engaging in the right kind of movement or exercise. Being physically active boosts your blood circulation which speeds up the recovery process. Once you get better and on your feet, you could go for a walk every day. Walks are known to improve your sleep;
  • During the first couple of weeks after the delivery, avoid getting up very often once you lie down. Don’t be afraid to involve your family members by asking them to help you around the house. For instance, your hubby could bring the baby to you when it’s breastfeeding time;
  • Eat right and stick to a balanced, nutritious, and healthy diet. New moms should focus on consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as broccoli and berries. Nuts and seeds are also excellent additions. Proper eating habits will also help you sleep better;
  • Hydrate your body. Drink as much water as possible and consume lots of fiber foods. These tricks will make your stools softer and will improve bowel movement, helping you avoid or get rid of constipation problems. So, if you don’t have an irritable tummy, your sleep will also improve.

Other Useful Things to Do to Improve Sleep Post-C-Section Delivery

1. A Postpartum Belly Wrap Might Work

This item will provide additional and well-deserved support for your abdominal area during sleep. These products are usually worn by new moms to support their back, achieve a greater level of comfort while doing different movements, and alleviate back pain after giving birth. However, most women tend to wear a belly wrap during the day and take them off when they go to bed. Instead, you should also use this type of supporting piece of clothing when you sleep. It will offer you night comfort and it comes in handy, especially for those who have troubles sleeping.

Go ahead and give these products a try. Fortunately, nowadays, there are plenty of different belly wraps that you can choose from so it shouldn’t be very hard for you to find a proper option that’s made from natural materials. Buy one that doesn’t itch or that isn’t too restraining.

Useful Tip! Don’t wear the same belly wrap during the day as well as at night time. When you’re not sleeping, you should use a tighter and firmer wrap while the best kind of wrap to use at night is a looser one that allows proper blood circulation.

2. Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your belly might lead to pain and irritation around your incision area. You should try to sleep on your back or on the side at least until the scar is completely healed. Also, lying in bed on your stomach is not a good idea and you should avoid it until the doctor removes all the stitches. When you sleep on your belly, the incision experiences a lot of pressure which also might cause your stitches to pop. Therefore, sitting on the bed in a comfortable yet correct position (feel free to use as many pillows as you wish) will prevent all these potential issues and it will also help you deal with sleep apnea a lot easier.

3. Adjust Your Bedroom’s Lights and Set a Proper Sleeping Environment

A quiet and dark sleeping area will help you fall asleep a lot quicker and it will also allow a deeper and better overall rest. First of all, you should take all the gadgets, tech devices, and electronics out of the room. Computers, smartphones, and tablets have no place in a sleeping space. On the other hand, some people like to fall asleep while listening to some sort of background noise (not my case, though). Instead of going to sleep with the TV turned on, you should try listening to mindfulness music or white noise, both of which will calm you down.

How to Manage Pain and Discomfort

Engage in Mild Exercises

Don’t think about going to the gym but you should start walking right after your doctor approves of it. Light exercises done in small amounts each day will definitely help you sleep better and regain your body’s mobility. At first, you should do nothing else than brief gentle walks, performed at a slow pace. Then, in a gradual manner, you can slowly increase the intensity on a regular basis, as your C section heals. Walking comes with a lot of health benefits like improved blood circulation and quicker recovery.

Eat Healthy Foods

Instead of relying on comfort food, you should develop healthier eating habits such as following a balanced diet. For instance, foods that are rich in protein and vitamin C are known to lower body inflammation while also fueling your organism. Limit red meat consumption and use doctor-recommended stool softeners in case you suffer from postnatal constipation.

An Anti-Inflammatory Medication Might Work

An over-the-counter treatment that has anti-inflammatory effects might just do the trick in lowering pain and post-delivery discomfort. Taking this type of medication right before bed can lower pain and swelling which further leads to better sleep. Still, don’t take anything before discussing it with your doctor. He or she will tell you which anti-inflammatory pills are the safest ones, considering you’re still breastfeeding your infant.

Final Thoughts

If you want to take good care of your newborn, you must first take care of yourself and I am not talking just about being physically healthy. Keep your emotional health in check as well. These things along with raising your baby should be your top priorities. Most importantly, be patient because it might take a while until you will be able to experience a deep and long sleep like the one you enjoyed before the pregnancy.

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