C-section recovery can take several weeks, and while most patients only get by with help from others, they can also take steps to help themselves. One suggestion is that patients prepare the home ahead of time with comfortable items, such as pillows and blankets, so that they can relax when they return. Patients should also try to avoid using stairs when possible, ascending them backward in an effort to avoid using the abdominals if they must use stairs. Finally, it is important to use the pain medication that is offered, especially during the first few days of c-section recovery.
If the c-section is planned, it is helpful to prepare the home for recovery before the surgery occurs. Patients should expect to rest the majority of the time, which means that most of the day will likely be spent either in bed or on the couch. Women expecting to undergo a c-section should select an area of the home close to the kitchen and a bathroom, and then add pillows and blankets for comfort. It is also usually a good idea to keep items around for entertainment, such as the television remote, a radio, books, or crossword puzzles. Additionally, it is often helpful to ensure the presence of a small table within arm's reach of the couch or bed, as water and pain medications need to be kept nearby during c-section recovery.
Patients should try to avoid climbing stairs regularly when possible, as this motion involves using the stomach muscles, which need time to heal. For this reason, many women with two-story houses select an area downstairs to recover in, or at least have someone available to help them climb stairs when necessary. Some women have found that climbing the stairs backward enables them to avoid using their abdominals, though it is important to either do this slowly and to have someone help in order to avoid falling.
Some women might feel better than expected during c-section recovery, and may feel tempted to skip the pain medication they are given. Unfortunately, that may lead to sudden pain when the patient least expects it, which is why it is important to follow the doctor's orders on when to take it. In fact, patients are usually advised to take the next dose when instructed rather than waiting until they are in pain, as it is typically easier to keep discomfort away continuously than try to get rid of it once it appears. Some patients may not feel they need the medication at the start of c-section recovery, but this is likely because the painkillers administered during the surgery have not yet worn off, which is why patients should be prepared to control their pain even when they assume they will not need it.