Gift robe for post-hysterectomy ?
July 21, 2013 6:05 PM   Subscribe

My mother-in-law is having a laparascopic hysterectomy soon. I understand that her abdomen might be swollen for a while after. I'd like to get her a nice nightgown and robe, but am not sure of the size. She's extremely petite, so sizing up might not work. Maybe a maternity robe?
posted by yarly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It won't be that swollen and then only for a day or two. They get you up walking pretty quick to get rid of the air. Maybe a robe or gown one size up would do.
posted by tamitang at 6:07 PM on July 21, 2013

Gynecologist here...

Her abdomen shouldn't be swollen after her surgery. If you want to buy her a nightgown/robe, choose her normal size. Avoid something tight and you'll be in good shape.
posted by stuboo at 6:09 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Really? She was told she would be swollen, and I thought some abdominal swelling was common after the surgery for several months. Glad to know otherwise.
posted by yarly at 6:10 PM on July 21, 2013

The swelling will go down pretty much right after surgery She'll have weird pains in her stomach for
days, and lifting anything (even a box of milk) will hurt. Get her room service.

Only half-kidding. That gallon of juice she has in the fridge? Not gonna happen. Treat her to small (tasty, healthy!) stuff she can serve herself without hurting her aching muscles. You'd be surprised how much your stomach muscles help you in everyday chores. Put it all on the I can reach-this-without-bending shelf in the fridge. She'll thank you every time she gets peckish.
posted by dabitch at 6:15 PM on July 21, 2013

I had a different laparoscopic procedure in the same abdominal area, and while I was swollen for three weeks, I wasn't hugely swollen. Basically, I didn't notice a significant difference looking in the mirror, but attempting to put on my jeans or work slacks was an exercise in hilarity. My normal exercise pants and pajamas were perfectly comfortable. (My procedure was more minor, but they still pumped me full of CO2 gas and rooted around in there.)

The thing I appreciated most was having a family member come stay and help out around the house. I felt pretty good even just a couple of days later, but I wouldn't have been up to grocery shopping or cooking for myself, I couldn't bend over to pick up after the dog, driving or sitting in the car was pretty uncomfortable even a week later, etc.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:20 PM on July 21, 2013

Give her a small pillow - about a foot square or so, to hold against her tummy when she stands up or sits down or bends over. When I worked in a hospital, we called them teddy bear pillows - they make a lot of difference for anyone who's had abdominal surgery, even though laparoscopic abdominal surgery isn't terribly painful to get over. She'll be delighted with a gown and robe, I'm sure, but think about the pillow, too. Her recovery time will be short and she'll feel better than she's felt in years.
posted by aryma at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Give her a small pillow - about a foot square or so, to hold against her tummy when she stands up or sits down or bends over.
Also for when she coughs or sneezes or laughs. I did not know that for my first c-section.
posted by artychoke at 7:11 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think swollen is more in the sense of "a little bloated". She's not going to want tight waistbands, for example, but she's not going to look like she's into the second trimester or anything.

That may mean you want to find her a robe with a toggle or button up a little high - more of an empire fastening than a waist belt. Bathrobes always feel weird if you don't tie the belt tight, which she's not going to want to do.

She might also appreciate some knee-length or longer t-shirt-y nightshirts that don't look too lingerie-ish. Pants, in the first few days, are difficult to bend down and pull up, but you need something butt-covering to wear among the general population of your house.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:13 PM on July 21, 2013

Give her a small pillow - about a foot square or so, to hold against her tummy when she stands up or sits down or bends over.

I had a laprascopic surgery in the same general anatomic area (ovary instead of uterus) and I second this like whoa. She will need this to support her ab muscles when she stands, sits, bends over, but also sneezes, coughs, or laughs. (Ask me what it was like to share a cab ride home from the hospital along with a father AND a boyfriend who both had the impulse to crack jokes when they're nervous about something. Go ahead, ask.) In fact, this is not only the right size, it's darn cute.

I don't recall having swelled up so much that I couldn't fit into my own clothing. I wore things loose for a while, but that wasn't a matter of fit so much as it was "owie I was just sliced open and I'd rather not have something binding in that exact spot thank you". So a nice nightgown or robe is fine, but you can get the regular size; just maybe go with something with a bit more ease in that size.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

A nightgown is definitely a good idea! Something with a high waist, empress or a similar cut.

I also have had laprascopic surgery. (Endometriosis cauterization, woo, fun times!) I was out of the hospital that day, went and got lunch at Panera, then collapsed on my couch for the next two days.

The abdominal swelling was more like bloating, and was very much secondary in my mind to the abdominal INTENSE PAIN. Later, I developed a weird cough and a pain in my shoulder they had warned me about. My stomach might've been swollen; I didn't put enough fabric near it to really find out. Sweatsuits were my friends, and low-rise pants. A nightgown/nightshirt would've been greatly appreciated.

Anesthesia can be absolutely awful, surgery itself is rough on the body. A pillow to brace with, and whatever else comfort measures she might need...
posted by RainyJay at 7:47 PM on July 21, 2013

I don't have a suggestion, but... a maternity robe for someone who just had a hysterectomy? I feel like that could appear a little insensitive.
posted by number9dream at 7:58 PM on July 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Definitely a small pillow - aside from the bracing, she'll be able to use it up put between her knees if she sleeps on her side, which helps stop the stitches pulling and makes it easier to get out of bed (I made the mistake of sleeping on my back the first night out after laprascopic surgery and I was like a tortoise, stuck on my back until I managed to wake my mom up via her cellphone in the guest room downstairs)

The swelling for me was more bloating but I didn't wear trousers or anything with a waistband for a couple days because of the three different sets of stitches - big night dresses or loose dresses. The referred pain from the C02 bouncing off my diaphragm was The Worst though, my right arm would just go dead and I'd lose any grip but it didn't last too long, thankfully.

If you can put things she'll need in places that she can reach without bending, you will have done a very nice thing.
posted by halcyonday at 2:41 AM on July 22, 2013

A zip-front robe rather than one that ties would be nice. These often are sort of dowdy, but very comfortable and not at all binding.
posted by jeoc at 5:32 AM on July 22, 2013

I had a laparoscopic hyserectomy and they gave me a compression thingy to wear. But I didn't have much swelling, or pain or much of anything except a desire to snooze away for the two weeks of my recovery.

A billowy gown in her size should be fine.

I was on my own after my surgery because of a death in the family. I was pretty comfortable but I would have liked to have a full fridge of easy to prepare stuff.

Here are things I craved: Red Jello, Mac and Cheese, Applesauce, coke, McDonalds Hamburgers and chocolate shakes. That's it. I didn't have much of an appetite and stuff that was easy to eat was most appreciated.

The most pain I got was some gas, which Phillips Caplets solved quite nicely. I probably got this from not eating much and not having enough liquid.

I was pretty weak and pretty sleepy, the effects of the anesthesia wearing off.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:29 AM on July 22, 2013

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