Recovery after a Caesarean section or C section recovery takes some time. Delivery of the baby by C-section involves an incision through the abdomen and another one through the uterus both of which take time to heal. Complications are rare and you will be released from the hospital 3 to 4 days after delivery if everything seems to be OK. While in the hospital, you will receive pain relievers and be encouraged to walk as early as 24 hours after the C section. Getting up and walk so soon after the surgery can be very painful but it is highly important to follow your medical team’s instructions and walk even if in great pain because moving around significantly reduces the risk of potentially dangerous blood clot formation and helps prevent constipation. You will be most likely also encouraged to try to breastfeed your baby while still in the hospital. You may have difficulties finding a comfortable position but you can always ask the hospital staff for advice or to assist you in finding the best breastfeeding positions.
When released home, C-section recovery continues for a few weeks because the incision takes about 4 to 6 weeks to heal completely. Your medical team will provide you all the necessary information about C-section recovery, how to manage the pain, how to breastfeed your baby, signs of complications, etc. However, it will not hurt to go through the basics of self-care after having a C-section.
The most important of all after having a C-section is to take it easy during the first weeks. It is normal to feel some pain and discomfort at the incision area as well as to get tired sooner. Rest as much as you can and accept help from family and friends.
Just as important is to force yourself to walk in order to reduce the risk of blood clot formation and constipation. Increase the amount of walking every day, however, avoid strenuous activities and lifting anything heavier than your baby. You should wait with exercise and sex at least 6 weeks after delivery or until your doctor approves. When in pain, you can take pain relievers as directed by your health care provider.
The C section incision does not require any special care other than keeping it clean and dry. Wash the incision area every day with warm water and soap, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Also, support your abdominal area when sneezing, coughing or laughing with your hand or a pillow to relieve pain from abdominal straining.
Eat nutrient-rich foods to provide your body the necessary nutrients to speed up the recovery as well as to meet the nutritional requirements if you are breastfeeding. Also, increase the amount of fiber-rich foods to reduce the risk of constipation and be sure to drink plenty of liquids to replace the fluids lost during delivery and breastfeeding as well as to soften the stools and prevent/relieve constipation.
The C-section is a routine procedure, while complications are very rare. Nevertheless, it is highly important to watch for signs that may indicate a problem. Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if having:
– signs of infection such as fever, warmth, swelling or redness near the C-section incision or a discharge from the incision
– foul-smelling vaginal discharge
– severe abdominal pain, swelling or tenderness
– pain in the leg or leg swelling which can signal blood clot
– heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking more than one pad per hour) or passing large blood clots
– sudden chest pain or difficulty breathing which may signal pulmonary embolism
– trouble passing stools
– painful urination