Whether it’s in your birth plan from the beginning or is unavoidable due to complications, around one in four women have a caesarean section.
Whilst some are elective (planned ahead of time), others are emergency sections (due to issues like labour failing to progress).
Either way, the misconception of them being the ‘easy way’ out’ is far from the truth.
“C Section scars go much deeper than the visible wound and it tends to be the deeper tissues that can take much longer to heal. So it’s normal for some women to still feeling deep pulling and slight pain from the deep scar for a few months post-op,” explains Physiotherapist Nikki Robinson. Because of this, jeans or underwear can dig into this area; leaving it painful and sore by the end of the day.
Thankfully, these scars will heal but many women find it much more difficult to say goodbye to another complication: the dreaded ‘pouch;’ a stubborn area of overhang that is often resistant to exercise or weight loss.
The good news is that with some clever dressing, you can feel like you again.
We quiz top personal stylists and mums in the know to help you get back your sense of style after a c-section.
1) Find the perfect pair of jeans
A good pair of jeans are a staple wardrobe item but what should you look for? Well, don’t chuck out those maternity jeans just yet says stylist Lauren Jobling.
“Some mums find jeans difficult as some rises might dig into the scar. I would recommend wearing your maternity jeans for as long as possible for extra comfort, she adds.” If you do want to purchase a regular pair, founder of The Style Guide Joy Gregory suggests switching from low to high waisted. “Low waisted styles will rub and chaff whilst high-waisted items will be more comfortable to wear,” she adds.
We love: Sophia Maternity Jeans, £49, Lily and Ribbon
The perfect maternity jeans with a super comfortable waistline and flattering cut.
2) Invest in good underwear
Opting for high waisted briefs that are a size or two bigger can keep your scar covered and protected but make sure you think about the material too. “Opt for natural fabrics such as cotton in the early days as synthetic items may cause irritation around your scar and even prevent healing,” adds Joy.
We love: High Rise Period Pants, £10.50, Cheeky Wipes
These high waist pants will comfortably sit above your scar, are made of breathable fabric and are ideal for lochia (postpartum bleeding).
3) Opt for looser fits
A loose, lightweight blouse is every new mum’s best friend. They skim over the tummy area and the buttons provide easy access for breastfeeding. Opt for slightly oversized, longer styles that will also prevent your maternity band from peeking out underneath! If you’re looking to dress up, looser fits can still be fashionable for the evening. The current trend of midi dresses with a higher, relaxed waistband are ideal C-section evening wear since they glide over the pouch area and don’t dig in at all.
We love: Maternity and Nursing Layered Stripe Peplum Shirt, 49, Lily and Ribbon
The relaxed layered fit is perfect for with jeans.
4) Amazing all-in-ones
Dungarees are jumpsuits are firmly back on the fashion map and, thankfully, they’re perfect for busy mums, too. These styles tend to be adjustable (sometimes through buttons on the side), sit higher than trousers and offer maximum comfort. Just throw these on over a t-shirt and you’ve got something that ticks both the fashion and function box; taking you from day to night.
We love: The Sienna Jumpsuit, £41.99, Sienna Apparel
Specifically designed for new mums, this 100% cotton jumpsuit sits comfortably above the waist and the zip design makes breastfeeding in public a breeze.
5) Sparkle with accessories
You might find you live in loungewear in the early months so splashing out on some accessories can brighten up your style and your mood.
“Accessories are a great way to turn any outfit stylish. Look for statement earrings, scarves and headbands to add a touch of style” suggests Lauren. Headbands are also perfect for disguising unwashed hair whilst a long-layered teething necklace not only divert away from problem areas but also helps with the nightmare teething days.
We love: Freya-Black and Marble: £15, Mama Knows
This minimalistic style will go with everything and no one will ever know it isn’t a normal necklace.
6) Overhaul your working wardrobe
When it comes to returning to work, your maternity leave staples probably won’t cut it.
“It’s hard to work out what to wear after having had time off with your baby. When you’ve had a caesarean, comfort is key” explains founder of Mumala Club Hester Grainger, whose had two sections herself. “High waisted trousers work well and a flat panel trouser will be flattering, especially with a shirt tucked in. Elasticated midi skirts also look great and are super comfortable, I’d recommend not wearing overly pleated skirts but instead a high waisted one that flows over your scar.”
We love: C Section Trouser: £100, Sarka London
Sarka London’s capsule pieces are all specifically designed for the postpartum period. The control panel waistband supports the tummy whilst still being smart enough for the office. The side ties allow you to adjust to your changing shape and there’s even a hidden pocket for your mobile.
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