What to Wear After Cesarean Section

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Wondering what to wear after cesarean section? I’ve rounded up the cutest c section attire that will keep you comfy and supported throughout the 4th trimester and beyond.

C-section mamas, raise your hand! 

I’m a c-section mama, not by choice but by circumstance – after laboring for 22 hours, no less.

I didn’t choose a c-section delivery (or a c-section recovery) as part of my birth plan. But as the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Because I was totally convinced I was going to have a vaginal birth, I wasn’t super prepared for a c-section recovery. And that included what to wear during the birth, what to wear after a cesarean section and a c section hospital bag.

This resulted in some frenzied online shopping for comfy dresses, flowing postpartum PJs, and pants with a high waist, including a big collection of postpartum leggings. C section attire is all about being not irritating. You don’t want anything that irritates your c-section wound or incision site: super comfy (leggings, soft Ts), with loose, flowy stuff when you want to be a bit more stylish.

For me, it all worked out okay. However, if I’m honest, that’s time I really would have rather had to focus on my delightful but fairly needy newborn.

Just here for some quick recommendations? I got you. If you’re ready to load up on your fourth trimester wardrobe, there are a few brands I recommend for comfy yet stylish post c-section attire. Check out Kindred Bravely, Bodily, SimpleWishes, Anook Athletics, Hatch Collection, Undercover Mama, Love and Fit, and STORQ.

The Best Time to Prepare for Postpartum C-Section Recovery is Before You Have a C-Section 

I know not all mamas will prepare for their postpartum recovery in advance, and I get it. In those last few days and weeks of pregnancy, you’re so focused getting the essentials for baby – the baby bottles, nursing pillow, bathtub, a non-toxic crib and organic crib mattress – it’s easy to forget to get things ready for yourself. 

Thing is, post partum recovery is no joke. And while I can only speak about c-section recovery from personal experience, whatever type of labor you have, you’ll want to feel comfortable and supported in the days and weeks that follow. 

Whether you have a planned c-section, are in the recovery stage, or just want to be prepared for whatever the delivery room throws your way, I’ve put together this guide to give you an idea of what to wear after a C section.

My focus is on pieces that will support the healing process, are comfortable and functional for life as a mama to a newborn, and will make you feel stylish when you’re ready to venture out into the world.

If you’re nursing, remember to keep up your non toxic beauty routine during this stage, including using pregnancy safe eye creams, skin care, makeup, and other personal care items.

I hope it helps!

The Different Stages of Post C Section Attire

It’s worth nothing that what you want to wear after a C section in the hospital is going to be pretty different from what you want to wear 6 or 8 weeks later, when you’re venturing out in public, and need to figure out nursing in a baby carrier or restaurant! 

What to Wear After a C Section in the Hospital

If you’re a first time mama, know that the labor and delivery ward of a hospital is pretty hot – and I’m not talking figuratively. 

They literally keep the temperature cranked in there for the new babies and recovering mamas. And then of course you might experience postpartum hot flashes.  In other words, you want your clothes to be lightweight and breezy at this stage – even if you’re delivering in winter. Then be sure to have things like comfy cozy socks and a robe on hand on case you get cold (labor does weird things to you body!)

Lightweight PJs and gowns are a great choice for your hospital stay. When in the hospital, you’ll be at your most painful and vulnerable, and won’t feel like moving a ton. 

Choose items that give your healthcare team easy access to your scar area, so they can check on your recovery without you having to shift around too much. 

A labor and delivery gown is a good choice for these first few days. Delivery gowns typically have some sort of easy-open in the front, which will give your healthcare team the ability to check your scar, and will allow for skin-on-skin time with your newborn and easy breastfeeding. Some labour gowns also offer easy epidural access, which is a huge plus when it’s painful to move.

A product image showing the Kindred Bravely Universal Labour and Delivery gown on an African American model.
Kindred Bravely’s Universal Labor and Delivery Gown. Photo Courtesy of KindredBravely

Be sure to check with your hospital on this, as some may insist you wear a standard issue hospital gown at various stages of the process. If you have to wear a hospital-issued gown, you might want to get a labour and delivery robe for on top, like this one from STORQ or this Kindred Bravely option.

There’s also a lot of blood and discharge in those first days, so you might want to choose good postpartum underwear. That means high waisted underwear in darker colors or C-section-specific underwear, or use high-waisted period underwear with or without postpartum pads. For the first day or two, the hospital will likely have you in mesh underwear – if you want to skip uncomfortable disposable underwear, check out the Bodily Mesh Undies – an upgrade, for sure!

I used a belly binder/post-partum compression belt during the first couple of days post c-section, and found it really gave me the extra support I needed after major surgery, given my abdominal muscles were pretty shot and I had weakened pelvic floor muscles. 

Compression garments specifically designed for postpartum recovery could also work, such as the Knix Core Love High Rise Postpartum Underwear, Bodily C Section Underwear, or Kindred Bravely Bike Shorts.

Keep your mind open to different options and talk to your care provider ahead of time.  

What to Wear After a C Section For the First Few Weeks at Home

In the first 4 to 8 weeks after you’re discharged from the hospital, you’ll want to find a comfortable home outfit that works for life as a new mom and gives adequate support, without irritating your scar or impeding your recovery. 

If you decide to breastfeed, your baby will be on your boob a lot, and you’ll be confined to a chair or your bed for hours at a time for the feed, fall asleep while feeding, wake up to feed again cycle. Add to that, you’ll want to provide plenty of opportunities for skin on skin contact with your little one. 

Comfy clothes that are loose or comfortably tight to offer support, still not anywhere near your scar, and keep your boobs accessible is the name of the game during this stage of the postpartum period.

You’ll still want to stick with high-waisted underwear or C-section underwear, adding in a few comfy nursing bras (you can get sports nursing bras if you prefer) or nursing tanks for your post c-section underwear uniform. Some women have bleeding and discharge for up to 6 weeks postpartum, so high waisted period underwear or C-section underwear will be your best friend for at least a little while.

Loungewear staples like a loose house dress or tshirt dresses, robes, and high waist maternity leggings/sweatpants/compression shorts with comfy t-shirts or tanks are good choices at this stage.

High waist bottoms will give you a bit of belly support in the early weeks as you recover.

Generally speaking maternity clothes on the bottom and nursing clothes on the top work pretty well during this stage of recovery. While some of your pregnancy clothes might work at this stage, you’ll probably still want to avoid anything that grazes your scar. 

Kindred Bravely’s June Maternity and Nursing PJs are a great option for this stage – super soft fabric and well-thought-out seam placement, plus the waist band for the leggings sits comfortably at the belly button. For a dress option, the Eleanora is also great choice.

If you plan on breastfeeding, try to choose nursing clothes for easy access. It will make your life a lot easier.

A  caucasian model wears lilac colored KindredBravely June nursing pajamas against an isolated white background
KindredBravely June Nursing Pajamas. Image courtesy of KindredBravely.

Post C Section Clothes For When You Want to Look Stylish

Once you’re feeling ready to go out and see the world, I recommend sticking to maternity bottoms or postpartum support leggings, flowing nursing tops, and a cute nursing cardigan or sweatshirt, or dresses, until you feel you’ve made a full recovery. 

You can add in accessories like a breastfeeding infinity scarf (which doubles as a nursing cover) and jewelry to feel human again!  

When you’re finally ready to try jeans again, I’d start with your maternity jeans to see how they feel, before trying to get back into your pre-pregnancy pairs.

Post C Section Attire You’ll Actually Love to Wear

With all that in mind, I wanted to curate some specific pieces you might want to try. 

Of course, many of these pieces will work great for all postpartum mamas  – whether you had a c section or vaginal delivery. However,  I’ve specifically chosen items that will be supportive and comfy for C section moms.  

Happy shopping!

PostPartum Girdle or Belly Wrap

Okay – this isn’t exactly fit with the topic: post c section clothes you’ll love to wear. 

But, it’s an important one. I used a postpartum belly wrap, and I found it helped with pain, support, and posture. 

I get that not everyone needs or wants one, but I would recommend speaking to your doctor about this, or be prepared with one just in case. 

If you’re not familiar with the concept, a belly wrap or abdominal binder gives you gentle compression and support after a c section, basically subbing in for your abdominal muscles since they are pretty much shot after a c section.

If you don’t want to go full girdle, these postpartum support bike shorts are a great option. 

Best Underwear After C Section

You C-section incision will likely sit right around your bikini line – right where your everyday underwear probably sits. 

Because you won’t want anything rubbing against your scar, you’ll likely want to get some high waist underwear as part of your post c section attire. 

There are a few brands that make great Post C-Section Panties:

Bodily All In C Section Panties – Designed to support your postpartum and post-c-section tummy, these C section panties are made form super soft fabric and have a high waist to avoid irritating your scar.

Knix Core Love High Rise Postpartum Underwear – Everyone I know who owns anything from Thinx abso-freaking-lutely loves it, me included. Their bras, undies, and loungewear are super comfy and cute, and they work. The Core Love postpartum undies are super high waisted, and designed to hug your abdomen to give you the extra support you need. Even  better? They can absorb up to 4 teaspoons of blood, discharge, pee, or sweat. This is huge in the postpartum period when your uterus is contracting and shedding its lining. 

Kindred Bravely High Waisted Post Partum Recovery Panties – Kindred Bravely is a  gorgeous maternity and postpartum brand, with quite a few nice pieces (many of which you’ll find featured below in other sections). Their postpartum recovery panties are a great choice for a comfortable pair of post c section underwear.  Designed to sit just under the belly button, they are high waisted enough not to irritate your incision. Plus, they don’t look like granny panties, so you’ll feel comfortable and still cute too! Available in a 3-pack and a 5-pack

Hatch High Tuck Maternity Brief – Another nice option if you don’t want the absorbency of a period underwear, but want something that’s sleek and high waisted.

C Panty –  C Panty has a range of postpartum panties, including pairs that are designed for the post c section mama, and they get great reviews!

Thinx Super High Waist Period Underwear –  Unlike the Knix underwear,  these ones are simply high waited, rather than being designed to hug your abdomen for some extra support. Some moms might prefer one or the other, which is why I’ve included both. According to Thinx, this pair will absorb up to 4 tampons worth of liquid.

Postpartum Pyjamas and Loungewear

Personally, I like to have a combination of 2-piece and 1-piece (i.e. a gown/dress) PJs, and switch it up based on the weather and my current mood. 

In the early days of my recovery, I struggled to put on pants of any kind. It was just too painful to move in the way required to get them on, so I lived in lounge-style dresses.

Best Lounge Dresses for After a C-Section

Speaking from personal experience, I recommend getting a lounge-dress that you can hang out it and sleep in. Bonus if you can wear it out when you’re ready to take that next step.

I’m all for lounge dresses that you can also wear to the coffee shop. However, I totally get it if you want something that looks less lounge-y and more feminine or nightgown like.

Which brings me to …

Best Nursing Nightgowns for After a C-Section

Best C Section Pajamas (2-Piece Pajamas)

  • I really like the Kindred Bravely June Maternity and Nursing PJs. They consist of tight leggings (in a good way) and a nursing tank. The leggings offer super gentle compression and support for your abdomen, with the waistband falling comfortably around your belly button. The tank is loose and flowing, and gives your little one easy access for breastfeeding.
  • If you prefer loose pants, the Davy PJs also look cozy and comfortable. 
  • Another good 2-piece option is these super soft postpartum bamboo shorts (which rise high enough to not irritate your scar). Pair them with a nursing bra or nursing t-shirt for comfy sleepwear. 
  • Hatch Collection’s Pointelle Set is a great option for hot weather, in particular. 
  • Anook Athletics also makes a great pair of shorts. They work during maternity and postpartum life, and would be good for hanging out, working out, or sleeping! 

Finally, check out this 3-piece lounge and sleep set from STORQ. It’s made from buttery soft but still fairly heavy fabric. The set includes loose and flowing pants, a tank, and a short belted robe. The robe will look cute with jeans (once you decide to cross that bridge in the future!).

The Best Pajamas for Hospital After a C Section

What you’ll want in terms of in hospital pyjamas will be a bit different from what you might want at home. In the first few days after your C-section, you might want to stick with a labor and delivery gown that opens in the front, and gives access to your healthcare team (doctors and nurses who need to check your incision, and lactation consultants who might want to help with breastfeeding and latching). Pair it with a robe for extra comfiness!

Nursing Robes For Postpartum and Post C-Section Mamas

If you want a bathrobe, I recommend looking for one that ties above the waist. Look for an empire waist so it doesn’t irritate your incision.

Best Pants to Wear After C Section

I’ve already listed a few shorts options above in the loungewear section.  However, good postpartum support leggings are also worth a look.

When you want to look a bit more pulled together, a nursing tank/tshirt/dress plus postpartum leggings is easy and comfy. Throw a nursing cardigan for cooler weather.  

Here are some great shorts and pants for C-section mamas

Nursing Shirt / Nursing Tank / Nursing Bra

If you’re a “live in leggings” kinda mama, invest in a few nursing t-shirts and nursing tanks for on top. Kindred Bravely, Anook Athletics, Love and Fit, Hatch Collection and STORQ have some super cute options.

A Nursing Dress For When You Want to Get Fancy

If you want to head out for a mini-date with your partner, consider a cute nursing dress.

 It should last you throughout the 4th trimester and perhaps even beyond!

The Avoid List: What to Avoid Wearing After a C Section Delivery

A c-section is a major abdominal surgery. In addition to a baby, you’ll have a surgical wound that needs time and space to heal. And that means keeping anything that might irritate the surgical wound away from your  lower body and lower abdominal area in general. 

Your body is likely to guide this, as you might have incision pain for a while, which means you’ll naturally keep irritants away from it. 

  • Avoid pants or skirts with buttons, snaps, zippers, and elastic waist bands. Really, you just want to keep things away from your incision and scar while you heal. 
  • Low waistbands that sit near or below your panty line. Post C-section, you want bottoms that will sit high so as to not irritate the scar area. 
  • Tight waistbands. Remember that a Csection is a major abdominal surgery. Other than the belly band you’ll probably want to wear to offer some extra support in the first few days post surgery, you’ll probably want some loose and flowing clothes afterwards, and nothing that feels too constricting.

Final Thoughts About What to Wear After a C Section

Whether you’re preparing for a planned C section or simply want to be prepared for whatever labor throws your way, you’re definitely not alone if you’re wondering about post c-section attire. All of the suggestions above are great options for any postpartum mama. They’re comfy, cozy, and meant to support your body as you transition into #momlife.

I hope my suggestions are helpful. If you know a soon-to-be mama or a new mom, I hope you’ll share this article with them!

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