What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for a C-Section Delivery
While you can't always know ahead of time if you will be delivering via c-section, many mothers have their c-section scheduled for medical or personal reasons. Knowing ahead of time means you can prepare for your birth and hospital stay in advance and pack accordingly — which means making different packing choices than if you were having a vaginal birth.
When I gave birth to my fourth child, unlike my other three births, this one was a c-section. I was used to packing for a short hospital stay with my other children — the longest I stayed was just over 24 hours — but this time I was going to be in the hospital for three days. That's a lot of packing. Additionally, the recovery is different for a c-section so I wanted to make sure I had all the needed plus comfort items for a long-to-me stay and for my newborn.
If you know ahead of time that you will be delivering your child via c-section, be sure to ask ahead of time how long you're likely to be in the hospital — each place is different. While some hospitals provide the basics like diapers and maxi pads, you'll want to make sure you ask ahead as to what they do and do not provide as well to ensure you have essential items. I'm sure you'll have your own items you'll want to add to or omit from the list, but here are my suggestions for what to pack for a c-section hospital stay.
Socks: Sounds weird I know, but hospitals and especially surgery rooms are cold (to keep bacteria and viruses at bay) and your feet are likely going to be really cold. I chose to wear compression stockings myself, but anything that will keep your feet warm will be a plus!
Nursing pillow or extra pillows: A nursing pillow will be a great thing to pack even if you're not planning on nursing — or even just extra pillows. You'll need them to help prop yourself up, to hold your baby, and to hold against your incision when you need to laugh or cough.
Cozy Blanket: Hospital are notorious for being chilly, so pack an extra blanket from home. This little bit of familiar comfort will help you stay warm while also giving you a small piece of home with you in the hospital.
Compression binding: I loved, loved, loved my compression binding — a support piece you wear over your abdomen to support your stomach muscles after your surgery. You'll want to check with your doctor to see if it would be okay for you to wear one, but many times it's okay. Similar bindings are used after other abdominal surgeries and the pressure will help you feel more comfortable — trust me. These are also great to wear in the weeks following as you begin to get around more easily.
Disposable underwear: Guess what? You'll have vaginal bleeding similar to a menstrual period even after a c-section, and though it likely won't be as much as if you had a vaginal delivery, the disposable underwear will be a blessing. You don't have to worry about ruining your underwear and they're light so they won't hurt if you've got sore stomach muscles and big enough so they don't sit right on your incision.
- slippers, flip flops and comfortable shoes
- books and magazines, computer (check on available wi-fi ahead of time), music (anything to keep you entertained)
- makeup, hair care products, toiletries
- maternity clothes and nursing wear (shirts, bras, etc)
What to have ready at home:
Stool softener: You may think that because you didn't have a vaginal birth that using the washroom won't be as painful, but that's not true. If you've been given a narcotic pain medication (and you likely will have been), they can cause constipation and that's not something you will want to battle while healing from a c-section.
Lots of help: Your doctor is likely going to tell you that you're not able to do much for the first few weeks at home (probably 6 weeks) that requires you to move too much or carry/lift anything heavier than your baby. This means no housework, driving, or general house things. Stairs can even be ill-advised in the first few days, so have a plan in place with this in mind. Having someone around to help you out — especially if you have any other children at home — is needed!
:: What did you find useful in your hospital bag after a c-section birth? ::