Between the euphoria of welcoming a new family member and the exhaustion from the actual birth, new moms have it bad, and C-section moms have it even worst. Most women often have the misguided notion that they'll have the birth they planned for, so are totally unprepared for emergency c-sections.
Because it's one thing to have an elective C-section and a whole different ball game to have an emergency one (sort of like getting the wrong finals exam question paper).
With the former, you're more informed and know what to expect, and with the latter, you'll probably feel extremely vulnerable because you haven't really planned for after delivery. The best advice is to plan REASONABLY for different births, cause you never know.
What's more, as you get closer to your due date, you'd probably have read everything under the sun about giving birth. From epidurals to contractions, child care for the next decade, and everyone's favorite, pooping while pushing (get ready to shelve your dignity, cause it happens).
Not many people plan for postpartum bleeding though, especially those who undergo C-section (yes C-section moms experience vaginal bleeding too, because life's unfair, and you still have excess fluids to rid your body of). Hence, the best underwear to wear after a C-section may not even be a blip on your radar. Moms that have vaginal births can usually wing it, but not you, since you have an incision to look after. Here are a few questions you want answered before buying your underwear.
Choosing The Best Underwear To Wear After A C-Section
Picture this - your catheter's just been taken out, which will sting, and everyone's waiting for you to go number two. Meanwhile, you'll be straddling one of those mortifying maxi pads.
Nothing about this is glamorous, but if it helps, try and imagine you're a 1950's pin up model with the high waist panties you'll be using - because they're the best underwear to wear after a C-section. Not all high waists are created equal though, so ask these questions before buying.
Is the material breathable? How will it affect your c-shelf?
As you probably know by now, from buying normal underwear, your hooha hates being trapped. Moist trapped space gives room for bacteria to grow and cause infections (same logic applies to moist trapped wounds). The most breathable materials for underwear are cotton, mesh (found in those unflattering hospital grade postpartum panties) and microfiber.
Other non cotton underwear have cotton crotch linings, especially if they're made from non breathable materials like polyester. While this is alright for everyday use, it won't cut it after a C-section because the breathability of the underwear has to extend all the way to your incision. The FDA recognizes silicone as an effective C-section material because it minimizes the appearance of scars, so underwear with silicone are cool.
Note that high waist underwear are recommended because they'll keep your surgical dressing in place without the waistbands rubbing your injury (which is what'll happen with low-rise underwear).
Does it offer good support or compression?
During pregnancy, your organs move about to make room for the baby, and after birth, they try to move back. Because you've undergone surgery, you'll be feeling the birth effects on your body even after six months (as opposed to the six weeks from vaginal births). High waist panties that offer support help you heal faster - they help compress fluids out of your body, and smoothen the bulge from your incision. So as comfortable as those mesh panties from the hospital are, you'll need to starting looking for something with a bit more support after those first few days.
How easy is it to put on?
After you've answered the questions above, you'll need to know how difficult it is to get into the underwear, cause incisions don't make it easy. Does the underwear come with extra buttons or latches that will take forever to put on? Is the compression adjustable as you recover and lose weight?
These are all questions you'll need to ask yourself so that you don't end with something cute but unusable. Let's now see what women recommend post C-section.
Top 10 Best Underwear To Wear After A C-Section
The last thing you probably want to do after having a C-section is read through a bunch of underwear reviews. Don't worry, we've done the heavy lifting for you. Here are our picks for the top 10 best C-section underwear of 2018:
1. UpSpring C-Panty High Waist C-Section Underwear
Pro: OBGYN recommended
Con: Premium price
All-in-one: This underwear is the brainchild of an ER nurse who went under the knife to have her kid, and didn't realize how ineffective most panties, including hospital mesh underwear, are for C-section moms. So basically, this is the holy grail of C-section underwear.
Aside from being high waist, it includes a hospital grade silicone panel, right where a horizontal incision should sit. And as you've seen earlier, silicone is approved by the FDA to help reduce scarring. It also has a clinically approved compression that helps your body during the recovery phase. It essentially has everything you could possibly need so the high price tag is sort of understandable. If you feel this is too pricey, you could always combine a cheap high waist panty (like Kindred Bravely) with a girdle (like Chongerfei's).
2. Wink C Section Recovery Belly Wrap
Pro: Seamless under clothing
Con: More hook and eye closures than you'll want to count
Seamless recovery C-section underwear: If you think c-panty is pricey, you'll want to skip this. It's made with two layers of a medical grade silky fabric to provide just the right amount of support but without irritating your incision. It has three layers of hook and eye openings, each layer for a different size, so you can keep adjusting this down as you lose the pregnancy pooch.
This doesn't have the silicone panel for your incision so the price tag is a little befuddling (they seem to have spent wayyy too much on those hook and eye closures). You'll appreciate the crotch opening for bathroom breaks though, since you won't have to take off the entire underwear and risk rubbing your incision scar every time (spoiler alert, you'll want to pee a lot).
3. DODOING Women's High Waist C Section Recovery Slimming Panty
Pro: Sexy lace detail
Con: Very small fitting
Three-in-one: features a tummy Control, butt Lift and postpartum recovery design. It has lace details at the hips so you don't have to look boring in your maternity panties. Moreover, the super light lace used at the bottom means you can wear this under any outfit without worrying about visible panty lines.
The downside to this is that it's super skinny, and has no crotch opening for pee breaks, so you'll have to huff and puff your way in and out of the underwear every time you need to go. Compared with the other high waists on this list, this underwear is pretty affordable.
4. Hansilk Mesh Postpartum High Waist Disposable Panties
Pro: Same as the underwear given in hospitals
Con: Hand-wash only
Hospital grade mesh underwear: It's very unlikely that you'll have gotten enough free mesh panties from the hospital to last, so if you need to stock up on more, these panties are basically replicas. They're just as breathable and soft so won't bother your scar. Just like hospital disposables, they're won't give you any support or compression, so you may need to pair this up with a girdle.
Hansilk says these panties are washable, ergo reusable. You'll just need to use your hands (which you'll probably not want to, surgery and all). That said, although these seem cheap at first, the costs can add up, which is why most people opt for non disposable panties instead.
5. Surewin Women's Seamless, Over Bump Maternity Panties
Pro: No visible panty line
Con: No support
Super comfy eco-friendly material: this is high waist enough to go way over your incision line. It's made of 85% bamboo, 7% nylon and 8% spandex, so it's breathable, durable, with a bit of stretch so you don't feel too constricted. It's mostly made of bamboo, which is a very environmentally friendly material. Get this underwear if you want to put your money where your "earth loving" heart is.
You won't get a lot of support wearing this alone, so even though you'll get full coverage, you should definitely pair it up with a girdle if you want compression.
6. Chongerfei Postpartum Belly Wrap, Women's Recovery Girdle Belt
Pro: Doubles as a back support
Con: Needs to be adjusted throughout the day (rolls up and down)
Easy to wear Velcro belt: Made with 100% cotton, this girdle is incredibly breathable and lightweight, which is ideal for C-section recovery. The best part about this is that since it's just a girdle, you can wear it several days in a row, and pair it with one of those granny panties. Your incision will heal well, your belly and back will have great support, plus you'll have gotten the girdle at a sweet price.
It's simply one half of a DIY project to stop you from spending too much of your hard earned money on just one pair of underwear. Don't forget it comes with adjustable Velcro belts, which are infinitely easier to put on than hook and eye closures.
7. Bellefit Postpartum Girdle Medical Grade Compression & Support
Pro: It has a zipper!
Con: The price-tag
Adjustable hook and eye enclosed with a zipper: Hold on, before you say it'll be too complicated to put on. It's just two sets of hook and eye closures first, before you have to pull the zipper. That's way easier than most girdles these days, or just the wink C-section belly wrap on this list. It also has a crotch opening for pee breaks.
All in all, this will set you back a ton of cash, but it'll be worth it if you REALLY hate multiple hook and eye closures.
8. Kindred Bravely High Waist Postpartum C Section Underwear
Pro: Sexy lace trimmings
Con: Not very durable
Full coverage with beautiful style: This underwear comes up to your belly button, which is high enough to leave your incision alone. You'll get full frontal and rear coverage, so your maxi pad should fit just fine. This is affordable enough to be paired with a girdle, in case you can't afford a C-panty. Note that the lace waistband is so soft it won't dig into your skin even when it's worn beneath a girdle.
You'll basically be recovering from your C-section in style. It comes in packs of 3 or 5, all of which are machine washable (with cold water). If you follow the washing instructions diligently, they should last you up to 12 months post birth.
9. Warner's Women No Pinching Brief Panty
Pro: Snug fit
Con: Annoying sticker on the panties
Fits like a glove: Soft panty with a snug fit around the stomach. Doesn't offer a lot of belly compression, but it's well above the incision line so it should do. They're made to conform to your body's natural shape, so no wedgies (after you've taken off your pad). This sits so high up your belly when you're in jeans, that it essentially looks like you're wearing a camisole underneath when you bend over (your exposed butt crack days are over).
Instead of itchy underwear tags, Warner got this "brilliant" idea to use stickers, which most people ended up hating. If you end up with this underwear, there are some truly remarkable ways users have found to get the sticker off, so try and go through the reviews.
10. Yoyi Fashion Bamboo Viscose Fibre Brief
Con: Not very flattering
All night protection: These briefs come in sets, so are pretty affordable. Just know that they won't be your most flattering pieces (ok they're practically granny panties), hence you're encouraged to wear them at night when you won't be able to vigilantly check for stains.
They're high waist and made of 95% bamboo viscose fibre, so should be fine with your incision. They're also quite durable, so as your postpartum bleeding reduces (to spotting) over the coming weeks, you can forgo pads entirely and wear just these. They're also seamless, so not limited to night use alone.
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