C-section Recovery Struggles and Tips
Recovering from childbirth is a long and painful journey - particularly if you are recovering from a cesarean section. In this article we will discuss what to expect with your C-section recovery, the struggles you may experience along the way, and some tips for healing faster.
What is a C-section?
A C-section, also known as a cesarean section, is a type of abdominal surgery designed to extract the baby from the uterus. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, approximately 30% of pregnant women end up having a cesarean section. A doctor will perform a C-section for a number of reasons. They can be scheduled, or happen in an emergency - depending on the circumstances.
In addition, during a cesarean section the surgeon will make an incision on the mother’s abdomen and open up the uterus. They will then take the baby out of the uterus and then close everything back up. Recovery after a major abdominal surgery, such as a C-section, can be a painful and long process. Many women struggle with their C-section recovery on top of their new duties as a mother.
C-Section Recovery Struggles - What to Expect
What can you expect with your C-section recovery process? After giving birth a mother will experience a wide variety of struggles. Some of these struggles include: adjusting to parenthood, learning to breastfeed, and taking care of yourself. These are not unique to a mother who went through a cesarean section, however there are some struggles unique to women who had a C-section.
First Couple of Days
If you have a C-section you will likely be kept in the hospital for 2-4 days for observation. Doctors will observe you and make sure you know how to properly care for your incision. In addition to this you will experience vaginal bleeding and cramps. These occur as the uterus sheds its lining and shrinks back to its original size. On top of this, your doctor will want to monitor you to watch for infection at the incision site and signs of blood clots in the leg.
First Few Weeks
In the first few weeks of your C-section recovery struggles you will need to monitor your incision and check it for infection. Infection is most likely to occur in the first few weeks after a C-section delivery. Similarly, you will need to monitor your blood loss. It is possible to hemorrhage in the first few weeks. As your uterus shrinks and your incision heals you will probably experience some pain. Talk to your doctor about what pain management options are available to you and if you have any concerns bring them up at your check-ups. You should not be driving, exercising, performing labor-intensive tasks for the first 6 weeks of your recovery.
Long Term Recovery
Recovering fully from a cesarean section can take years. You may experience some sensitivity or pain at the incision site for a while after your surgery. In addition, your C-section scar may not heal for a while after your surgery and can leave you feeling frustrated and insecure. You may even struggle with urinary incontinence due to your weakened pelvic muscles. Make sure you discuss any concerns with a physician.
C-Section Recovery Struggles
There are many struggles for a new mom, but there are some unique struggles women who gave birth via C-section may experience. These can include:
- Difficulty getting out of bed. In the hospital there are beds that raise and lower to help you maneuver out of bed easier - at home you may not have this luxury. It can be difficult to get out of bed, and this can cause problems. Particularly as you run back and forth to your newborn to breastfeed them at night. The best way to overcome this struggle is by rolling onto your side, swinging your legs over to the floor and then pushing yourself up into a sitting position. This prevents you from using your healing abdominal muscles.
- Pain Relief. Just like with any surgery you skin, your tissue, and your muscle all have to heal from the trauma they endured. Your incision site can be sensitive and bruised for a few weeks so make sure you have some pain relief medication. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you talk to your physician first as a small amount of the medication can make it into the baby’s breastmilk.
- C-section Scarring. Your body will naturally heal and your scar should be mostly healed by six weeks postpartum, but that doesn’t mean it is fully healed. Some women lose feeling in the area for months after their surgery. Similarly, it will take a while for your scar to fade. There are multiple C-section scar healing techniques designed to reduce your scarring. You can check those out here.
- Blood Clot Prevention. Women who went through a cesarean section are at an increased risk of blood clots. Oftentimes by the time you leave the hospital you shouldn’t have to worry about clotting, but if you are at an increased risk your doctor may send you home with blood thinning medication.
When to Contact a Doctor
You will have to check your C-section incision for infection every day. If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention.
- The incision is red, swollen or leaking discharge
- You have a fever
- You have heavy bleeding
- Your pain gets worse
C-Section Recovery Tips - For a Faster Recovery
Your body will not be physically fully healed for about 6 weeks after a C-section. After the six weeks it can be tempting to jump right back into your pre-pregnancy routine, but this is usually not wise. Your body is still recovering. You may feel physically fine, but your body may still be healing from the entire pregnancy and labor experience. In order to get back to your pre-pregnancy routine quicker, we have a little list of C-section recovery tips.
Seek Help for Long-Term Problems
During your C-section recovery struggles you may discover minor inconveniences. Therefore, you can later turn into long-term problems. This can include long term pain, muscle weakness, incontinence, and even depression. Don’t suffer alone and don’t put up with it. There are often underlying causes that can affect you even after you have healed. Seek help for those problems as soon as you can.
Take Regular Walks
You are not recommended to participate in intense aerobic exercise and strength training immediately after giving birth, however you should still get your body moving as much as possible. Walking helps to prevent blood clots. It is great for your mental health, and it can get you out and about with friends.
Use a Postpartum Girdle
A postpartum girdle is a great solution to many of your C-section recovery struggles. Postpartum girdles - designed to stabilize your core and provide medical-grade compression that promotes healing. Bellefit designed postpartum garments for women who have experienced a cesarean section. Postpartum girdles ensure you don’t get your stitches caught on any fabric, help prevent diastasis recti, and help you feel less pain. It’s easy to see why so many of our customers love this product.
We hope this has been an informative and helpful article and that you have everything you need for a health C-section recovery.