Recovery after a C-Section
Some caesarean sections are planned and some are unplanned. For all of the expectant mothers out there, it’s good to be informed about c-sections and what to expect for your recovery, even if a caesarean isn’t part of your birth plan.
What is a C-Section?
A caesarean section (C-section) is a surgical procedure in which your baby is delivered through an incision made in the mother's abdomen and uterus. This procedure is typically performed in cases of babies that appear large on scans, foetal distress, multiple pregnancies, certain medical conditions or simply by choice.
During a C-section, the mother is given anaesthesia to numb the lower half of her body (in extreme cases the mother may be given a given a general anaesthetic), and a surgeon makes an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus. The baby is then carefully delivered through the incision, and the uterus and abdominal incision are closed with sutures or staples. The recovery time for a C-section is typically longer than for a vaginal birth, and there are risks associated with having a caesarean, as with any surgical procedure, including infection, bleeding, and damage to nearby organs.
What to do to help your recovery
Recovery after a C-section can vary depending on a number of factors, including the mother's overall health, the reason for the surgery, and the type of incision used. After having a c-section, most new mother’s stay in the hospital from between 2 days to 1 week.
After a C-section, there are several things you can do to promote healing and ensure a smooth recovery, including:
Rest Rest Rest
We know it is hard to rest with a newborn, but it’s important for your recovery to rest as much as possible after having a c-section. Avoid overexerting yourself during the first few weeks after a caesarean and aim for plenty of rest and sleep to allow your body to heal.
Keep on top of your pain management
Your Dr will likely prescribe pain medication to help manage any pain or discomfort associated with your surgery. Be sure to take your medication as directed to stay ahead of the pain.
Make sure to keep the incision site clean and dry in order to prevent infection. Gently clean the area with soap and water and keep it covered with sterile gauze. Make sure to not wear tight clothing over your wound and invest in some quality post-partum underwear, like Partum Panties Disposable Postpartum Underwear (link) that won’t rub against your incision, making you uncomfortable.
Going for a slow stroll can help to promote healing and can prevent blood clots from forming. Your Dr or healthcare professional my encourage you to start walking for short distances around the house or hospital as soon as possible after surgery.
Maintain a Healthy diet
A healthy diet with plenty of protein, fiber, and fluids can help promote healing and prevent constipation, which can be a common side effect of pain medication.
Keep on top of your appointments
Attend all postoperative appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your recovery and address any concerns or complications.
Recovery time can vary from woman to woman and may take up to six weeks. If you have any concerns or questions about your recovery after a C-section, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider.
What not to do to after a c-section
After a C-section, there are certain activities that you should be avoid during the recovery period to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications. Unsure of what you shouldn’t be doing? See below.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Lifting heavy objects can put a strain on the incision and abdominal muscles, which can slow down healing and increase the risk of complications. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for at least 6-8 weeks after surgery.
No Strenuous Exercise
Strenuous exercise can strain the incision and abdominal muscles, so it's important to avoid activities like running, jogging, and intense aerobics for at least six weeks after surgery.
It is recommended that women avoid driving for the first few weeks after a C-section because the incision site and abdominal muscles can be tender, making it difficult to drive a car safely.
Avoid Sexual activity
As with a vaginal delivery, women should wait until they have been cleared by their healthcare provider to resume sexual activity, which is typically around six weeks after giving birth.
No swimming or soaking in water
Submerging the incision in water can increase the risk of infection, so it's important to avoid swimming or soaking in water until the our c-section wound has fully healed and your healthcare provider gives you the okay.
Remember that recovery after a C-section can vary, so always follow your healthcare provider's specific instructions on what activities to do, what to avoid and how to take care of your incision.