Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcomed another addition to their family on Jan. 3, daughter Esti Maxine Stephens. Teigen and Legend have two other children, daughter Luna, born in 2016, and son Miles, born in 2018.
Teigen is staying true to herself by portraying her postpartum life as authentically as possible. In the TV personality's most recent update, she shared a photo of her in what first appears to be a pretty put-together look with a slip dress and heeled boots. But after closer inspection, it's clear she's leaking milk with an additional stain lower down on the dress, likely the result of her C-section. The 37-year-old captioned it, "omw to bandage together both my wound and 3.8 second clips of Beyonce performing in Dubai until I get a full hbo special."
Fans rushed to the comments to commend Teigen on her transparency and to share similar experiences. "The soggy stage . . . everything is soggy," one person wrote. Another said, "The milk spots add an extra layer of authenticity to this."
This isn't the first time Teigen has brought attention to her C-section. Earlier this month, in an Instagram post celebrating the birth of her daughter, Teigen wrote, "She's here! Esti Maxine Stephens — the house is bustling and our family could not be happier 💕 Daddy sheds nightly tears of joy seeing Luna and Miles so full of love, and I am learning you still need diapers with a c section!? We are in bliss. Thank you for all the love and well wishes — we feel it all! X."
Reflecting on her recovery from a C-section, Teigen raised a question about birth that many expectant parents may not consider — needing a diaper (for mommy and baby). And not just for vaginal deliveries, but C-sections as well.
Labor delivery nurse and founder of Mommy Labor Nurse Liesel Teen, BSN, RN, says underwear — and yes, diapers — are an essential part of postpartum recovery, regardless of your delivery method. "I highly recommend C-section mamas stock their cabinets with C-section underwear and/or diapers for the postpartum period," she says.
Why You May Need a Diaper After a C-Section
C-sections are a major surgery, involving an incision made in the abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby, Mayo Clinic says. But no matter how the baby is delivered, the postpartum parent will experience some vaginal discharge, Teen says. Known as lochia, this discharge "is your body's way of ridding itself of leftover blood, bacteria, mucus, and tissue" after giving birth, Teen says.
The lochia flow is generally heavy in the first three to four days after birth and generally tapers off over the course of a few weeks, before finally stopping after six weeks, Teen adds. It's a completely normal (and healing!) part of recovery.
During this time, many people use menstrual pads, in addition to opting for underwear and diapers particularly suited to C-section recovery.
Finding the Right C-Section Diapers or Underwear
There are quite a few options for postpartum underwear and diapers, but for a C-section, it's important to consider how the underwear will interact with the healing incision.
"In the days and weeks following your C-section, you will want to make sure you avoid wearing anything that is too tight or anything that rubs your incision; this includes underwear," Teen says. When choosing your underwear, Teen says, the most important consideration is finding one that comes fully over the incision or fully under it to avoid any rubbing or irritation. Additionally, Teen recommends choosing a garment that's breathable, comfortable, and made of a stretchy material like cotton.
For strong absorbency and comfort, postpartum diapers like Always Discreet Boutique Postpartum Underwear For Women ($17) are a great option, especially because they look and feel like regular underwear.
Regular adult diapers can work, too, as some women have found that they are most comfortable and catch more blood and discharge than pads — in addition to helping with incontinence, which many people experience after giving birth. The advantages of regular diapers are primarily comfort and absorbency, both important during the early (and heaviest) days of lochia discharge and as the incision heals. LivDry Ultimate Adult Incontinence Underwear ($37) with a high waistband or TENA Overnight Incontinence Underwear ($47) are both highly rated options that are disposable and boast high absorbency.
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, you can look for underwear that offers compression to reduce the incision's swelling and help flatten the bulge of the incision. Compression can also help support the abdominal area, which is weakened during the procedure. High-waisted compression underwear like Leonisa's High-Waisted Postpartum Tummy Control ($60) come with an adjustable belly band that gives you control over the level of compression and will fit well over the incision line to avoid irritation. However, Teen cautions that with this type of underwear, a pad will still be necessary until bleeding fully stops.
— Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte