Each woman’s pregnancy, birth, c-section recovery, and motherhood experience is as unique as she is.
A c-section is a surgical birth; an obstetrician makes an incision in a woman’s lower abdomen and removes the baby through this opening.
A C-Section is a very different process from a vaginal birth experience. Because a c-section is major abdominal surgery, the recovery is quite different from a woman experiences after a vaginal birth.
Women who have unplanned or emergency c-sections following a trial of labor may experience more challenges after their babies’ births than those who had scheduled c-sections in advance.
We’ve put together a C-section recovery guide to help you understand what to expect during your C-section recovery and how to make it go as smoothly as possible.
C-Section Recovery and Discomfort
There are varying degrees of discomfort for women during the c-section recovery period.
In general, it takes women a longer time to recover from c-sections than from vaginal births.
There are two incisions which need to be closed. Typically the inner incision – the one in your uterus – is closed with stitches that will dissolve away. The outer incision – the one you can see on your skin – is closed with stitches or staples. Stitches will usually dissolve on their own, but staples must be removed by the doctor.
When to Seek Medical Attention After a C-Section
If you notice anything strange about your incision, call your doctor immediately:
The incision feels warm or painful to the touch,
If it is getting more red and tender,
Or if it is leaking any sort of fluid,
These are signs that you could have an infection. Call your doctor immediately.
Post C-Section Recovery Symptoms
1. You May Feel Nauseous
Immediately following your c-section, you may feel nauseous. In fact, you might even vomit.
Nausea is a common side effect to anesthesia, so your nurses will be ready for this reaction.
If you feel up to it, hold your baby as soon as you can to facilitate bonding. The first two hours after your baby is born is a magical time to connect with your newborn!
Babies are remarkably alert during this time, so it is a natural opportunity to spend private time with your child and your birth partner. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, ask the nurses to help you get started in the recovery room.
Many women will want or need to take a prescription pain medication to manage the pain associated with the early stages of their c-section recovery. Sometimes women going through a c-section recovery find it hard to breastfeed. This is because it is challenging to position your newborn correctly at the breast when your abdomen hurts!
Though it can be difficult, if you want to breastfeed after your c-section, you can do it!
Make sure you have support available to you. Lactation consultants and postpartum nurses make wonderful teachers and helpers in those early days of your baby’s life. They can show you how to use pillows to ease some of your discomfort as you nurse your baby.
What Happens 24 hours After a C-Section?
After the first 24 hours, you will be encouraged by your nurses to get up and walk around. Gentle movement like this helps jump start the healing process by increasing your circulation.
Chances are good that you had a catheter inserted during surgery to collect your urine.
Sometime in the first 24 hours after surgery the catheter will be removed and you will need to practice using the bathroom on your own before you can go home.
As crazy as that sounds, using the bathroom can be tough for new moms, no matter what type of birth you had! Because your abdominal wall has been significantly affected by your pregnancy and the surgery, you may find it difficult to move to a sitting position from lying down. Rolling over, laughing, and crying may also be painful for a while, too.
Does wearing a Postpartum Girdle help with my C-Section Recovery?
One of the best ways to ease your discomfort after a c-section is to use a postpartum girdle for c-section, an abdominal binder, c section recovery belt, or compression girdle.
Some OB/GYNs will recommend a post maternity girdle to new moms when a c-section has been scheduled. Compression is a post-operative option for many types of surgery because it speeds the healing process.
By increasing circulation to the area under compression, the damaged tissues experience a better immune response and receive more blood, nutrients, and oxygen.
Bellefit offers the best medical grade postpartum compression garment that is perfect for women who are going through c-section recovery. Some key features of Bellefit Postpartum Girdles are:
The abdominal binder speeds healing.
It also supports the lower back by holding in the abdominal wall.
A postpartum girdle improves a woman’s posture, which can be very poor during the initial postpartum period.
How Soon Can I Exercise and be Active After C-Section?
Most of the time, women who have had c-sections should stick to light exercise during the first six to eight weeks after their babies are born. If you’ve had a C-Section, keep these recommendations in mind:
Light walking is fine, as long as you feel up to it.
It is important that your doctor check your incision area and clear you for moderate exercise before you resume your workout program.
The most important thing to do as you recover from a c-section is to take it easy for a while.
Let other people do your housework, and try not to lift anything or anyone heavier than your newborn.
Be patient with yourself as you recover, too. The process is sometimes slow, but if you do too much too soon, you will only exhaust yourself.
Do your very best to enjoy your brand new baby and just allow yourself to heal!