How to Sleep after C-Section?: Tips and Best Positions

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No mother can ever forget the sleepless days and nights that follow the delivery. While parenting is no doubt a wonderful experience, the initial few weeks after childbirth can be tough and difficult to tackle. The recovery period after a c-section delivery will be painful and require the better part of the patience and courage with proper precautions. But remember, this is a temporary phase and mother will sail through it eventually.

In this article:

Why is it Difficult to Sleep after a C-Section?
How does Sleeping Position affect the Quality of Sleep after a Cesarean?
What are the Best Sleeping Positions to Adopt after a C-Section Delivery?
Tips to Improve Quality of Sleep while You Recover

All You Need to Know About How to Sleep after A Cesarean Section

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 called 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 manage to find the time to. Another significant reason why mothers suffer from insomnia, fatigue and depression after a c-section delivery is pain. But, with proper care and precautions, recovery will be faster.

sleep after c section

How does Sleeping Position affect the Quality of Sleep after a Cesarean?

While pain medications almost always help to 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 the abdominal muscles, in turn, reducing the pressure on the incision.

What are the Best Sleeping Positions to Adopt after a C-Section Delivery?

There is no single sleeping position that works for everyone. It may work for one mother and may not work for another. It’s a process of trial and error until finding a sleeping position that suits them best. The best sleeping positions to adopt after a c-section delivery are as follows –

On the back

A lot of women prefer sleeping on the back as the most comfortable position after surgery. In this position, the incision won’t be under any pressure anymore. Pillows can be put under the knees. The only downside is that to strain the belly while sitting up or getting out of bed. After a few weeks, try rolling on to the side if it doesn’t hurt much. Women with high blood pressure may be advised to avoid this.

To the side

The mother may find it comfortable to sleep on the side soon after delivery. Sleeping to the left side benefits optimum blood flow and digestion. Pillows can be used to support the belly and hips. An advantage of sleeping to the side after a c-section delivery is that prop up on the elbow and push with arms to sit up and get out of bed. Remember to breathe out while pushing up.

Elevated upper body

Mothers who have had a cesarean delivery will tell the pillows are the lifesavers. They’re indeed right. Prop on a pile of cozy pillows so that the entire upper body is elevated, not just the head. This position facilitates better breathing and easy sleeping for many suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

In a recliner –for many women, finding comfort in any position becomes really difficult. But many mothers have claimed to have slept in a recliner or rocking chair. Yes, it doesn’t feel like sleeping on a bed but it makes getting up easier. Breastfeeding can be done easily.

Tips to Improve Quality of Sleep while You Recover

For new mothers, it is important to have sound sleep even if it is for a short duration of time. Since good quality sleep helps to recover faster, here are some tips to keep in mind –

  • Follow the doctor’s advice and don’t discontinue the medication to get better sleep.
  • Avoid exerting, climbing stairs or lifting weights heavier than the baby. There might be a risk of inviting complications and losing sleep. If the proper time is given to the body for healing, the pain will subside eventually and also help to sleep better.
  • An optimum amount of movement and exercise can boost up blood circulation and quicken the healing process. Once feeling better, start with short walks in and around the house. It will help to 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 in the diet. Nuts and seeds can also be eaten.
  • Constipation is not uncommon for new mothers. Advice is to drink lots of water and include fiber-rich foods to the diet. Also, ask the doctor about using a stool softener for better bowel movements. An irritable tummy can cause discomfort makes sleeping difficult.
  • Avoid getting up from bed too often during the first few weeks. Request husband and family members to bring the baby when needed.

Conclusion

Follow some of the most comfortable ways to a good sleep after a c-section. Emotional health is the first priority. A healthy and positive mind accelerates physical recovery.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3789374

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3694506/

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