One thing people don’t tell you about the aftermath of a C-section is that it can be hard to sleep. A big part of that is that the baby wakes up a lot (every 2-3 hours), but other factors come to play too. For some moms, the healing incision on the tummy can get quite uncomfortable, even with pain meds. Many CS patients also experience obstructive sleep apnea, making it hard to breathe or sleep deeply.
Be that as it may, it is extremely important to get adequate sleep postpartum, especially if you went through a cesarean section. The body uses that sleeping period to focus on healing your wound and bringing your body back to full health. Adequate rest also helps you be alert and energetic to care for your baby better.
So, how do you ensure you get adequate sleep despite the tenderness of your wound and other issues? The solution is to get a comfortable position that will maximize your chances of falling asleep faster and longer.
How to Sleep Comfortably After C-section?
The foundation of sleeping comfortably after a C-section is position;
Experts recommend back sleeping immediately after surgery because it places the least amount of pressure on your incision site and puts your body in an aligned position. In addition, you may want to elevate your legs a bit to get more comfortable, so feel free to make any changes until you find that perfect spot.
That said, it is not recommended to get up (sitting or standing) while in this position. When you want to get up, roll over to your side first, bend your knees and use your arms to push your body up into a sitting position. Do this slowly and carefully, at least the first month after the surgery, to ensure you don’t rip your incision open.
While back sleeping is the safest sleeping position, I realize it’s not all that comfortable for some moms. The tons of milk in your breasts can put pressure on your chest when lying on your back and make you feel choked. Back sleeping doesn’t go well either if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. For these reasons and more, side sleeping is the next best thing. It does not put too much pressure on your incision, and you can prevent that with a pregnancy pillow. If possible, try to sleep on your left side because it gives you optimal blood flow and makes healing easier.
Finally, you can opt for the back sleeping position but at an incline. Sleeping at a 45-degree incline solves some of the issues associated with back sleeping. For instance, it elevates your head and neck, making breathing easier if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Your breasts will also be inclined so they won’t lie flat on your chest.
The best way to achieve this position is to get an adjustable bed that can move up and down. If this is not possible, lots and lots of pillows will do.
Is My Pregnancy Pillow Safe to Use After a C-section
The short answer is: yes!, and here is more details and the benefits:
After that, C- section pillows will be your best friend, whichever sleeping position you choose to go with. And for some ladies, that beloved pregnancy pillow will be even more useful now. It will help support and align your body for optimal comfort so you can rest well and heal faster.
Now, the pillow you choose will depend on your favorite sleeping position. For example, u-shape or c-shape pregnancy pillows work better if you sleep on your side. Let the pillow support your back, belly, head, and shoulders. Putting the lower tongue of the pillow between your legs also aligns your spine and makes you more comfortable.
For back sleeping, a wedge pregnancy pillow is the best though the other two will work as well. I use a wedge pillow to support the elevated position because it puts you at that perfect 45-degree angle. Use two if you must, or combine a wedge pillow and a regular pillow. I recommend the Hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge for Belly Support for its cool plush cover, airflow ventilation technology, and affordability. It’s firm enough but not hard, portable, and extremely comfortable.
If you have a c-shape or u-shape pillows, however, elevate your bed or use regular pillows to prop you upright, and then use the pregnancy pillow to support your midsection. These pillows are long enough, and they will hold your midsection and also elevate your legs a bit for optimal comfort.
All said and done, it’s important to consult your doctor if sleeping has become a real issue. The doctor will help you manage the cause, whether it’s pain, obstructive sleep apnea, or anxiety. Creating a relaxing sleep environment and proper sleep hygiene like avoiding coffee at night and staying off screens before bed is also important. Feel free to also ask people around you for help so you can sneak away and catch some shut-eye.