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You can ace your Bradley Method class and hire all the doulas you want. But if complications arise--and trust us, it happens after even the most run-of-the-mill pregnancy--you might find yourself on an operating table.

If that happens, don’t worry: Everybody will be fine. But you, our friend, will need lots of extra TLC--so whatever you do, don’t do any of these things:

guilty

Feel Guilty About It

Yes, that candlelit water birth would have been nice. But this is what your doctor thought was the safest way to bring your munchkin into the world, and there’s no going back now, is there? Enjoy your baby, focus on recovery and don’t think you have to explain yourself to anyone.

laughing

Laugh, Sneeze or Cough

You just had major abdominal surgery, so maybe don’t invite your most hilarious friends to visit you in the hospital. Laughing, a sudden coughing fit or anything but the daintiest “ah-choo” will translate into shockingly sharp lower-abdomen pain.

underwear

Turn Your Nose Up at Mesh Underwear

Nurses will offer you hideous disposable underwear. They look like huge Band-Aids. But they are the softest, stretchiest, least painful thing you can wear right now, so consider them your new favorite underwear and maybe even ask for extra pairs to take home.

spanx

Lose Your Belly Band

If your hospital doesn’t give you one of these wide, elastic bands to wear under your clothes for a few weeks, you can buy one similar to the popular Belly Bandit. They’re kind of a pain to put on, but they’re nice for supporting your semi-numb, saggy-feeling stomach and encouraging it to look and feel more normal, faster.

Scar

Ignore Your Scar

Keep it clean and dry, right? That might be all your doctor tells you to do, but some C-section mamas swear by a self-massage technique that can help your surgical scar heal without painful and potentially dangerous organ adhesions. Just be sure to get your doc?s blessing before you try it.

carbs

Go On an All-Carb Diet

Not to put too fine a point on it, but you’re going to need fiber. A lot of it. And water. A ton of it. Go for raspberries, pears, salads, beans and a huge cup nearby at all times--get one with a straw to make sipping easier and spills less likely.

Bedrest

Take To Your Hospital Bed

It can be tempting to lounge--you just had major surgery, for Pete’s sake--but the best way to help your body get back on track is to move around. Start with short, slow walks on your hospital floor. Take them several times a day, and increase the amount of time as you’re able. It’s not easy, but it’s essential.

chores

Rearrange Your Furniture

That said, it’s not smart to overexert yourself. Don’t even think of tackling laundry, putting away dishes or climbing stairs (except as necessary) for at least a week after you get home. You may feel a burst of energy, but it’s likely to disappear as quickly as it came on--so save your strength for cuddling your baby and other wonderful things, like showers.

mom

Send Your Mom Home

See above. You’re going to need a lot of help, so if anyone’s offering, say yes. Just be clear about the kind of help you really need (cooking healthy meals and tidying the house are lifesavers; “reorganizing” your kitchen and hovering as you and your husband try to master diaper changing are not).  

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