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Between getting ready for your upcoming cesarean delivery and the new baby, underwear may be one of the last things on your mind.

But when you’re packing a hospital bag, you’ll need to consider whether any of the underwear you have on hand is going to work with a cesarean incision.

You can find underwear online designed to fit comfortably around your incision. These specialty pairs reduce swelling and offer support as you heal.

Here’s everything you need to know about cesarean delivery underwear.

New moms might feel a whirlwind of emotions after giving birth. This is the case no matter how they deliver. But between the exhaustion and euphoria, moms who have a cesarean delivery also have to deal with the aftermath of major abdominal surgery.

The recovery from surgery will be on top of all the usual postpartum problems. These typically include mood swings, vaginal discharge, and engorgement.

Many women report feeling sore or numb at the site of the incision, which will likely be puffy and raised. It will also be darker in color than the skin around it. In the first few days after your cesarean, anything that puts pressure on the incision will likely be painful.

Unfortunately, going bare from the waist down won’t be an option for long.

Vaginal discharge, known as lochia, is a normal postpartum symptom. Even women who have a cesarean delivery should expect it.

There will likely be a heavy flow of blood for the first few days following delivery. This discharge will gradually reduce in the first three to four weeks postpartum. It will change in color from bright red to pink, or brown to yellow or white. Pads can be worn to manage this discharge.

Remember, nothing should be inserted into the vagina until you’ve had your postpartum checkup and your doctor has checked that you’re healing properly. This usually takes place four to six weeks after delivery.

You’ll be wearing pads to manage this postpartum symptom, but you’ll also need some type of undergarment. Many women opt for “granny panties,” or high-waisted underpants with elastic waistbands, immediately after delivery.

It’s a decent short-term solution, since the waistband should be high enough to avoid your incision. But traditional cotton underpants will lack any support as you heal. Once your incision has healed, meaning there is no scab remaining, it’s time to consider switching to cesarean underwear.

Underwear that is designed specifically for women who’ve had a cesarean delivery can offer benefits that cotton undies cannot. Depending on the manufacturer, these include:

  • Compression that is designed to reduce swelling around your incision and offer support to weakened tissue.
  • Supportive design that can help decrease excess fluids and help the uterus return to its before-baby size, while also flattening and smoothing the bulge of your incision.
  • Comfortable fit and material that can help reduce itchy skin as the incision heals, while also offering protection to the healing skin.
  • The use of silicon, which is recognized by the FDA to minimize the appearance of scarring.
  • A nonbinding, fluted waist design without the discomfort of elastic waistbands.
  • Adjustable support that allows you to adjust compression as you recover.

While you may not want to move a muscle after delivering via cesarean, that probably won’t be possible. Or is it a good idea. Moving around can speed recovery and reduce the likelihood of developing blood clots. It may also stimulate your bowels, which will make you more comfortable.

As you recover, take care not to overdo it. Begin slowly, and up your activity level slowly. Be sure to avoid heavy household tasks and heavy lifting for six to eight weeks. You should lift nothing heavier than your baby for the first few weeks following delivery.

Try to keep everything you need within reach. Speak with your doctor to get an idea of a recovery timeline that is specific to you.

No matter what you’re doing, the best underwear will keep you feeling supported, without causing pain or irritation. And regardless of which undergarments you choose to wear, remember to maintain good posture when you sit, stand, and walk.

If you feel an impending sneeze or cough, even if you’re about to laugh, gently hold your abdomen near your surgery incision for support.

These pairs of underwear are designed to provide support and comfort for women after a cesarean delivery.

Upspring Baby C-Panty High Waist Incision Care C-Section Panty: 4 stars. $39.99

Seamless, full-coverage underpants designed to reduce swelling and scarring around the incision. They also provide abdominal support, similar to a belly wrap.

Leonisa High-Waist Postpartum Panty with Adjustable Belly Wrap: 3.5 stars. $35

This high-waist postpartum panty with adjustable Velcro sides lets you adjust compression for a comfortable fit.

If you’re having a cesarean delivery, consider buying underwear that’s designed specifically for you. Toss in a few pairs of granny panties when you pack your hospital bag, and switch to cesarean delivery underwear when your incision has healed.

You’ll be very glad you did.