Cesarean delivery, commonly known as C-section, has a huge impact on a new mother. It can be mentally and physically exhausting for a longer period than vaginal birth.
There are a lot of things that one can do to recoup from a C-section. It involves surgery on the stomach to pull the baby out. Mostly it is done when there is a life-threatening cause for baby or mother or both. Many women prefer C-section to avoid pain during vaginal birth.
It is important to understand how your body will recover itself in the coming months. Caring for yourself should be your utmost priority and you need to reasonably understand your limitations during the recovery period.
Every person is different so the recovery period varies as per your medical conditions. If you are a healthy individual, you should recover well in 4 to 6 weeks. However, a few symptoms like pain around the incision may develop even after 6 months of delivery.
All you need is an understanding partner and a trustworthy doctor to get back on your feet as soon as possible. We have compiled a brief list of things that you can expect after a Cesarean delivery and how to have a faster recovery.
What to Expect During and After the C-Section?
Usually, before a C-section, a woman receives either general anesthesia or epidural or spinal block. This is to numb your body to be able to perform the surgery. But you stay awake during the actual process.
Depending on what your doctor has used, you may have to wait a few hours to start feeling your body. You may also have a catheter attached for urine as you might not be able to stand or walk. If you undergo a gentle C-section then as soon as the baby is pulled out, he or she is placed on your chest or given to your caregiver beside you while the doctor stitches the incision.
First Day: The initial 24 hours of a C-section comes with a similar set of issues as a vaginal birthing. A new mother will adjust to parenthood, attempt breastfeeding while meeting visitors. While a normal delivery can let you leave the hospital in a day, a C-section delivery may keep you back in the hospital for 2 to 4 days depending on your health.
Blood Clots: It is very important for a woman who has undergone a C-section to stand up and move around as soon as possible. This prevents the formation of blood clots in the legs. Blood clots are a major risk involved in a C-section. Its formation is of a high chance in overweight women or women who do not move around quickly.
Infection: After a cesarean, the doctor monitors your incision for infection. Vaginal bleeding is also monitored. It is vital for the uterus to shed all the waste inside as quickly as possible since nothing is removed during the surgery. The postpartum bleeding can last for 6 weeks and is heavy in the initial days.
Cramps: You may also feel some pain where the incision was done. This is common during the first couple of days. You will also feel intense cramps like menstrual cramps, these are due to the shrinking of the uterus.
8 Tips for Faster Recovery
We know that every woman is different and every C-section is bound to be different. The recovery differs depending on whether the surgery was a planned one or was performed due to an emergency.
Other factors like health problems during and before pregnancy, infections or problems with incision can extend the recovery period. Therefore it is important to talk to your doctor and inform them of all the symptoms. They will guide you accordingly and take care of you as per the procedures.
You can follow a few tips mentioned below to speed up the recovery after C-section.
1. Take Rest:
After every surgery, you need to take plenty of rest. But since you have a newborn with you, rest may seem impossible. You will have irregular sleep cycles and will not be able to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. You should sleep when the baby sleeps and ask your partner or family to take care of the baby during the day to take a small nap. Put away tasks that are not important instead sensibly sleep for as long as you can.
2. Take Help:
Babies are demanding and caring for them can be exhausting if you do it all alone. With a major surgery, it becomes even more difficult to manage everything by yourself. Ask for some help from your partner, family member, or a friend.
3. Listen to Your Emotional Needs:
Many people consider the C-section isn’t giving birth to a baby. All these kinds of talks can affect your already emotionally unstable mind. Emergency during delivery or traumatic birth can be very difficult for a woman who had hoped to deliver normally. A lot of women start feeling guilty or shame if something does not go as planned. Talk to someone who understands you emotionally or get help from a therapist to avoid getting into postpartum depression.
4. Do Not Over-Exercise:
It is recommended to avoid intensive exercise during the first few months after a C-section delivery. But you can start enjoying regular and short walks to get your body in a routine. Walking daily is also a good option for a healthy mind. It will reduce any risk of blood clotting in the body after the surgery. You can also enjoy some time alone while someone else takes care of the baby at home or take your little one out with you for a stroll in a stroller.
5. Pain Relievers Help:
The body pain can sometimes be excruciating after a C-section both due to the surgery and demands of the baby. Ask your doctors to subscribe to safe pain relievers if the pain becomes unbearable. If those medicines do not work, contact the doctor for other solutions.
6. Take Proper Diet:
The hormonal changes in the body, weaker pelvic and stomach muscles, and immobility can cause constipation. If you apply too much pressure, the risk of injuring the incision becomes higher. To avoid this drink a lot of water and take a doctor prescribed stool softener. Include fiber-rich foods, fruits, vegetables to prevent constipation.
7. Breastfeeding Support:
C-section incision makes breastfeeding a challenge. You might not be able to feed the baby immediately due to which you may face difficulty. A lactation expert can help you overcome this issue. Applying pressure on the area of the incision can be very painful. You need to sit in a comfortable position that does not cause inconvenience. Sit on a reclined chair with a specialized breastfeeding cushion for support. You can also lie down on the bed sideways and nurse the baby.
8. Look Out for Infection:
Your doctor will give you advice on how to take care of your stitches. They may also ask you to monitor your temperature every day. Any signs that are uncommon must be noticed. If you experience swelling, chills, sharp pains or cramps, then inform your doctor immediately.