Around 1 in 3 American women have a C-section every year, and as new mothers, they all share the same problem:
Finding a comfortable position to sleep in during their c-section scar healing stages.
But when can you sleep on your stomach after c section?
Let’s look at when you can do it, as well as alternative positions you can use.
When Can I Sleep On My Stomach After C Section?
You can sleep on your stomach once your c-section has fully healed. This takes on average 6 weeks, but it varies from mother to mother. In fact, some women can even take 1+ years to feel comfortable enough to sleep on their stomachs after a c-section. Your OBGYN will be the best person to advise.
Can I Lay On My Stomach 3 Weeks After C-section?
Generally, laying on your stomach 3 weeks after a c-section is not ideal since a C-section requires 6 weeks to heal fully.
Ask your OBGYN to examine your wounds and advise you on whether you are ready to sleep on your stomach after 3 weeks or whether you should consider alternative positions.
What’s The Best Position To Sleep After C-section?
Here are a few sleeping positions that will help reduce pressure on your c-section scar.
Avoiding the pain will make it easier for you to fall asleep!
1. Sleep On Your Back
While back sleeping isn’t recommended once you’re more than 20 weeks pregnant, this position is recommended for those recovering from surgery. It places the least amount of strain and pressure on your incision site and ensures that your body is aligned in a neutral position.
If you need to elevate your legs or make this position more comfortable, it’s OK to add a body pillow or tightly rolled blanket or towel under your knees or arms.
However, with this position, you’ll want to be mindful of how you get out of bed. Rather than sitting upright, use the three-step “log roll” method:
- Before you move your legs off the bed, fully roll onto your side with your knees bent.
- Using your arms, slowly push your body into a sitting position — being sure to keep your abdomen relaxed as you move.
- Make sure you’re in a fully upright seated position before you stand up.
You’ll also want to use the log roll method in reverse to lie down on the bed.
2. Sleep At An Incline
In this scenario, you’re using enough supportive pillows to give yourself a 45-degree incline.
Although this might be an unusual position if you don’t typically sleep this way, you may find that it’s relatively comfortable during your recovery period.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon to experience obstructive sleep apnea postpartum, but those who’ve undergone a C-section are more likely to develop this condition.
Sleeping at an incline can reduce pressure on your incision and ensure that your airway is open and unobstructed.
3. Sleep Sitting Upright
If you’ve ever stayed up bingeing your favorite shows, you’ve probably fallen asleep in an upright seated position at least once.
This position — while maybe not as cozy as being snuggled up in your bed — is another great option that can also be incredibly practical in the early days.
Be sure to invest in some supportive pillows to make upright sleeping as comfortable as possible. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, sleeping upright makes it easier to feed your little one during those multiple nightly feedings.
Upright sleeping isn’t a long-term solution though, as most people can transition back to the bed around 2 weeks after delivery.
4. Sleep On Your Side
For some people, right after back sleeping, side sleeping is the second most comfortable position.
For people recovering from abdominal surgery, it’s a great option since it doesn’t put additional pressure on your incision, and makes getting in and out of bed easier.
Specifically, you should focus on sleeping on your left side since this gives you optimal blood flow and also makes digestion easier.
You may need a body pillow or other supportive aids to get comfortable and provide proper support for your abdomen and hips.
How Long Does Stomach Stay Tender After C-section?
Tenderness on the stomach after a c-section is perfectly normal and can last for up to 8 weeks postpartum.
Pain after a c-section is nothing to worry about unless it is accompanied by:
- An incision that is hot to the touch
- Fever higher than 100.4 F
- Leaking discharge.
Make sure you wait until your incision is fully healed before sleeping on your stomach after c section!
6 weeks may sound like a lot, but there are sleeping positions that are a perfect alternative for your body:
- Sleep on your back
- Sleep at an incline
- Sleep on your side
- Sleep sitting upright