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What Is The Best Position To Sleep After A C-Section?

by Swati Sharma

Updated on :  
expertsExpert Validated By : Dr. Ankita Patel Tayal
What Is The Best Position To Sleep After A C-Section?

Choosing the right sleeping position is crucial when you begin the process of healing after giving birth, particularly if you had a cesarean section. A good night’s sleep is critical for the healing process following a cesarean section, and it is also important for your general health.

A wrong sleeping position, particularly one that puts direct pressure on the C-section incision, can lead to discomfort and pain. This can be one of the reasons for insomnia after a C-section.

This blog is dedicated to all the new mothers out there who are dealing with the difficulties of recovering from a cesarean section. In this article, we explore the optimal sleeping positions that enhance comfort, reduce discomfort, and facilitate the healing process of the incision site. Keep reading to learn the best position to sleep after a C-section.

What Makes Sleeping Difficult After A C-Section?

Getting a good night’s rest following a cesarean section (C-section) isn’t always easy. A C-section is a major abdominal surgery. This big surgery on the abdomen causes many psychological and physical changes that make it hard for a new mother to get a good night’s sleep.

Many women spend the first few days after a C-section in the hospital, which is not the best place to get a good night’s sleep.  Medical checks, noises, and uncomfortable hospital beds make it hard to get good sleep.

Studies indicate that mothers who undergo a cesarean section typically experience an average of four hours of sleep per night, with 34% reporting waking up during the night in the initial week after giving birth. 

After a C-section, you may find it difficult to sleep for the following reasons:

1. Pain and discomfort

The incision made during a C-section can be quite painful and uncomfortable. When a new mother is unsure of how to safely maneuver in and out of bed following a c-section, it can intensify the discomfort experienced at the incision site.

Performing simple tasks like turning, moving, or even attempting to find a comfortable sleeping position can be quite challenging due to the need for careful handling of the surgical site. It is important to know how to get up from bed after a C-section at home.

It is possible that falling asleep could be delayed due to a heightened awareness of the importance of keeping the stitch site intact. 

2. Restricted movement

To help the body recuperate after a C-section, there are certain motions that patients must avoid. Some restrictions after a C-section can make everyday tasks, like getting in and out of bed, more challenging.

Also, with limited mobility, sleeping, which usually includes changing positions many times, becomes a practical task. 

3. Anxiety and stress

The dual responsibility of recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn introduces a heightened level of stress and anxiety. The worry of not being able to fulfill the baby’s needs, along with worries about personal recovery, can create a mental weight that hinders the ability to relax and unwind. This might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

Related Reading: 11 Tips To Cope With Postpartum Sleep Deprivation

4. The ever-changing nature of a baby’s sleep routine

Newborns are known for their unpredictable sleep patterns. The baby requires frequent attention for feeding and diaper changes. It may be difficult for mothers to develop regular sleep schedules for themselves when their babies have such erratic sleep patterns.

The frequent disruptions add another layer of complexity to the already challenging task of getting sufficient sleep after a C-section.

Why Is Sleep Important For A New Mother? 

Why Is Sleep Important For A New Mother

Getting enough sleep is essential for everyone, but it becomes even more vital for new mothers who are dealing with the physical and emotional challenges of childbirth and taking care of a newborn.

According to our panel gynaecologist Dr Ankita Patel Tayal, it is recommended for new mothers after a c section to prioritize adequate sleep for optimal recovery. The amount of sleep needed can vary, but generally, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night is beneficial. Quality sleep contributes to a smoother postoperative recovery process.

Here are several reasons why sleep is crucial for a new mother:

1. Sleep helps to enhance energy level

  • It can be challenging for a mother to go about her daily life and give her baby the attention they need if she does not get enough sleep.  
  • Adequate sleep directly impacts energy levels1. The exhausting duties of caring for a newborn require a high level of energy.

Related Reading: Are You A New Mother? These Tips Will Help You!

2. Assists in a speedier recuperation 

  • Not getting enough sleep can make it take longer to recover after giving birth and make you more likely to have health problems. 
  • Sufficient sleep is crucial for the healing process, as it facilitates tissue repair and muscle recovery2.

3. Improves immunity

  • Quality sleep is crucial for a strong immune system3.
  • Insufficient sleep can hurt the immune system, potentially heightening the susceptibility to illness4.  
  • New mothers are more susceptible to infections, and adequate sleep helps the body defend against illnesses.

4. Sleep influences the quality of breast milk

  • Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress levels, triggering the release of stress hormones like cortisol5. Elevated stress hormones may alter the composition of breast milk.
  • The production of breast milk adheres to a circadian cycle6, exhibiting fluctuations in its composition during both daytime and nighttime. 
  • Regular and restful sleep contributes to optimal milk production and nutrient content7.
  • Lack of sufficient sleep may result in variations in milk production and potential alterations in the nutritional content of breast milk.

Related Reading: 12 Foods To Increase Breastmilk Supply In New Moms

5. Quality sleep helps regulate hormonal balance

  • Prolactin levels tend to rise during deep sleep8. Prolactin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the production of breast milk9
  • Quality sleep contributes to the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is essential for fostering emotional connections. Therefore, it aids in fostering a stronger connection with your newborn baby10.
  • Hormonal fluctuations after childbirth can impact mood and emotions, and quality sleep helps stabilize these hormone levels, promoting emotional stability.
  • Postpartum thyroid hormone changes are common, and sleep is linked to the regulation of thyroid hormones11.
  • Insufficient sleep is linked to an increased diabetic risk. Sufficient sleep promotes insulin sensitivity, which helps lower the chances of developing metabolic problems and promotes overall postpartum health.

6. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of weight gain

  • Lack of adequate sleep can also increase the chances of gaining weight. 
  • Women who experienced a decrease in sleep duration six months postpartum were more likely to have a higher weight one year after giving birth compared to their pre-pregnancy weight12.

Best Position To Sleep After C Section

Many new mothers who are accustomed to lying on their sides wonder, “When can I start lying on my side after a C-section?”

During the initial postoperative period, experts usually advise against lying on your side immediately after the surgery, at least for the first few days. They usually recommend lying on your back with your upper body slightly elevated, or on your back with a small pillow under your knees. This positioning helps reduce strain on the incision site and promotes optimal healing.

Following are some of the best positions to sleep in after a C-section:

1. Upright position

Lying upright with your upper body raised at a 30- to 45-degree angle is one of the most comfortable positions following a C-section. This is just a temporary sleeping position.

Sleep sitting positions after a C-section can be quite convenient when it comes to breastfeeding or waking up from sleep. For a more comfortable night’s sleep, consider investing in an adjustable bed or reclining chair.

2. Side – lying position

This position helps relieve pressure on the incision site. Placing a pillow between the knees can help reduce strain on the incision site and maintain proper alignment of the spine. A full-length body pillow or pregnancy pillow can also provide comprehensive support while lying on your side after a C-section.

Related Reading: 9 Signs Of A C-Section Infection To Watch Out For

3. Position of lying on the back

It is commonly recommended to rest on your back after a C-section to support the healing process of the surgical incision. This position is designed to promote optimal healing and minimize any potential complications that may arise from the incision site.

The abdominal muscles play a crucial role in various movements, including sitting up. Reclining the back helps alleviate stress on these muscles, which is vital in the early phases of healing when the incision site is still in the process of recovery.

Moreover, reclining on back promotes optimal blood circulation throughout your body, which includes the area where the surgery was performed.

4. Semi-reclined position

Place pillows behind your back to create a slightly elevated and semi-reclined position. Make sure the reclined position doesn’t cause additional discomfort or strain.

This position can improve breathing and promote better sleep, which can be particularly beneficial for new mothers who may be dealing with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you are not comfortable elevating the entire body, use pillows between the knees and under the hips. 

How To Sleep Comfortably After A C-Section (Tips) 

How To Sleep Comfortably After A C-Section (Tips) 

It’s important to give your body a chance to unwind and relax after a busy day of motherhood before hopping into bed and expecting to fall asleep. It might be helpful to establish a regular sleep routine following a C-section.

For improved sleep after a C-section, adopt a holistic approach that incorporates nutrition, exercise, and support. Engage in stress-reducing techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness to effectively manage stress and promote a calm state of mind before going to bed.

Find out some tips and tricks to sleep comfortably after a C-section:

1. Set up a comfortable sleeping space

Creating an ideal sleeping space helps both the mother and the newborn get a good night’s rest.

  • Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it quiet, dark, and cool. 
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Remove electronic devices that emit light.
  • Use blackout curtains or white noise if outside noise or light is disturbing.

Related Reading: 21 Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Mothers

2. Get into bed before you feel sleepy

According to experts, it is advised to spend 30-45 minutes in bed before actually falling asleep. Incorporating certain rituals into your routine during this time will help calm your central nervous system and prepare your brain for sleep13.

Although finding free time can be challenging when recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn, you can try the following tips before you feel sleepy:

  1. Box breathing

This is a breathing technique that can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve focus. On top of that, it will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. For this,  

  • Inhale: Slowly breathe in through your nose to a count of four.
  • Hold: Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Exhale: Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of four.
  • Pause: Hold your breath again for a count of four before beginning the next cycle.

Repeat the process for several cycles, focusing on the rhythmic pattern of the breath. 

  1. Meditation

Meditation before bedtime can be an effective way to promote relaxation and improve the quality of your sleep14. A few tools that can help with sleep meditation are:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Counting breath exercises.
  • Visualization.
  • Breathwork.
  • Body scanning.

3. Eat your meals early

Did you know that our digestive systems can impact the quality of our sleep? It’s true, as also proved by this source.

  • It’s best to avoid overloading your stomach right before you’re trying to relax and fall asleep. 
  • It can lead to a higher chance of experiencing acidity and other problems that can disrupt sleep.  
  • It’s a good idea to have your dinner at least three hours before you go to bed. 
Practice good sleep hygiene

4. Practice good sleep hygiene

Your daily routines and actions have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Developing good sleep hygiene practices can contribute to better and more restful sleep. Here are some habits and behaviors that can positively impact your sleep:

  • Try to stick to a regular bedtime routine, even though it may be challenging when you have a baby. 
  • Avoid stimulating activities, like using electronic devices, for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Establish a calming routine before bedtime. This might include activities like reading, listening to soothing music, etc.
  • It is advisable to refrain from consuming caffeine and high-sugar or high-fat foods within 30 minutes of going to bed.

5. Consider opting for low bed frames

Low bed frames are generally more convenient for individuals recovering from a C-section, as they facilitate easier movement in and out of bed.

Here are some reasons why low bed frames are considered beneficial after a C-section:

  • Having a lower bed height can help minimize the chances of falls or injuries while getting in and out of bed. Keep this possibility in mind since the new mother is likely to be weak or uncomfortable as she recovers from surgery.
  • Having a lower bed height can make it easier for carers or family members to assist with bedside care. It reduces the distance they have to reach when helping with different tasks.
  • Climbing onto a high bed can put a strain on the abdominal muscles, potentially causing discomfort or pain around the incision area. A lower bed allows for a gentler transfer, minimizing pressure on the incision site.

Related Reading: The 10 Do’s And Don’ts After A C – Section

6. Be patient when you get out of bed

Not only should new moms think about how to find a comfortable sleeping position, but they should also think about how to get out of bed safely.  

Here is a step-by-step guide for new mothers on how to safely get out of bed

  • Turn over on your side and bend your knees.
  • Gradually move into a sitting position by putting pressure on your arms. Ensure that your abdominal muscles remain relaxed.
  • Before getting out of bed, assume a fully upright seated position with your feet on the floor.

7. Take pain medications

If your healthcare provider has prescribed pain medication, take it as directed. 

  • Pain medications prescribed after a C-section help manage postoperative pain, reducing discomfort and promoting relaxation, which can facilitate better sleep.
  • Through efficient pain management, these medications can potentially lower anxiety levels, promoting restful sleep.
  • Pain drugs may make it simpler to get in and out of bed, change positions, and do other tasks, improving sleep quality.


The new mother can get a good night’s rest after a cesarean section if she follows these simple guidelines. Always remember to keep essential items like water, medications, and anything else you may need within arm’s reach to avoid unnecessary movements. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance with daily tasks, including getting in and out of bed. Having support can make the recovery process more manageable.

The content on parenting.miniklub.in is only for informational purposes and is NOT to be used as medical advice. Your DOCTOR is always the best person to guide you through your medical issues.

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