Some women elect to have a cesarean section as a matter of preference, while others require C-sections for medical reasons. Regardless of the reason, a C-section is surgery, and women need time to heal afterward. During the early days of recovery, many new moms find sleep difficult because the pain from the incision keeps them up at night. Many wonder: what is the best sleeping position after c-sections?
The position a woman chooses to sleep in following a C-section dramatically impacts the amount of rest they can get, and rest speeds recovery time. Here are some of the best sleep positions for women following a C-section.
Many women recovering from a C-section procedure find lying on their back to be the most comfortable sleep position. A supine sleeping position after a C-section prevents any pressure on the incision. For women unaccustomed to sleeping on their backs, a bit of an adjustment period may prove necessary.
Some women develop sleep apnea following pregnancy thanks to drastic changes in hormonal levels. Many researchers believe obstructive sleep apnea increases the chance of maternal death, and sleeping supine helps decrease the chances of developing this potential post-pregnancy disorder.
One caveat about sleeping supine following childbirth — women who experienced hypertension during pregnancy may wish to choose a different sleeping position after a C-section. Research suggests those with high blood pressure find their systolic and diastolic pressure increase while sleeping in this position.
Women recovering from a C-section should try not to sit up directly from a supine position, as this puts undue strain on the healing abdominal muscles. Instead, they should roll to one side and use their arms, not their core, to gently rise to a seated position.
Other women recovering from childbirth find a side sleeping position after a C-section is far more comfortable. Many people naturally gravitate toward side sleeping with their knees pulled up and bent, as it mimics the fetal position they had in the womb.
Side sleeping, like supine sleeping, decreases pressure on the incision site. Additionally, women sleeping on their side assume the natural position for lifting to a seated position, like a yoga practitioner raising themselves gently up from Savasana.
Some leading health experts assert sleeping on the left side helps improve digestion by moving waste through the intestines more quickly. Side sleeping also helps diminish snoring, something a woman’s partner certainly appreciates!
Additionally, sleeping on the left side, if comfortable, may help decrease the nausea many women experience following a C-section. This position likewise reduces the risk of developing postpartum sleep apnea, especially in women who already show signs of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Sleeping Sitting Up
Some women, just like some men, find their favorite naptime Barcalounger does double duty as a place for nighttime sleeping. Sleeping with the back and head tilted at a 45-degree angle improves respiration.
Additionally, sleeping sitting up makes standing up much easier. Women can use the armrests of their chair as grips to rise to standing without putting pressure on their stitches, which makes getting up for nighttime feedings much easier. Women who choose to breastfeed their infants often find this position convenient for feeding time as well, especially if a willing partner brings her baby to her. New moms can easily grab a snack of seeds, nuts or yogurt, all foods which aid in uterine healing, while sitting up.
Is there anything more restful than flopping into a welcoming stack of pillows? While women recovering from a C-section benefit from a more gentle approach to lying down, piles of fluffy pillows can ease the pain of recovery.
Women often experience back pain during pregnancy due to the strain of carrying a heavy load up front, and swollen, larger-than-usual breasts full of milk do little to alleviate spinal stress. Women who sleep on their sides benefit from a pillow between their knees to prevent their spine from forming an awkward curve during sleep.
Women who prefer a back sleeping position after a C-section also find pillows make their recovery process much more comfortable. Recovering women can stack pillows behind their backs to slightly elevate their head and neck to improve breathing. Many find placing a cushion or two under their feet while lying on their back helps drain any edema that may have arisen around their ankles during pregnancy.
Best Sleeping Position After C-Sections Promotes Healing
Whatever a woman’s personal sleeping preference, getting enough shut-eye as well as adequate nutrition speeds the recovery process. By designing their sleeping space to quicken healing after a C-section, new moms can get the rest they need to keep up with the demands of their new bundle of joy.