C-Section Recovery
Recovering After Cesarean Section Delivery

Recovering after a cesarean section

C-section recovery belt

C-Section Recovery

Contents

What Happens After Cesarean Surgery?
Recovery Tips For Home
Complications: When To Call a Doctor
What Are C-Section Recovery Kits?


Giving Birth
For an overview, see:
Guide to Childbirth

What Happens After Cesarean Surgery?

The IV drip remains in place for another one to two days. To control soreness as the anesthetic wears off, you may be given a pump that will allow you to adjust the dose of IV pain relief medication. The usual hospital stay after a C-Section delivery is 3 to 4 days. You will be encouraged to walk around as this helps recovery by preventing you from becoming constipated and developing blood clots in your legs. Your stitches and incision will be monitored to ensure healing. Your appetite and fluid intake will also be monitored as well as bladder and bowel functions.

Breastfeeding may be difficult for a few weeks due to abdominal tenderness. Ask your hospital's lactation consultant for some tips on how best to support your baby until you are more comfortable and checkout our breastfeeding guide. Any pain relief medications you are prescribed will take into account the fact you are breastfeeding.

Recovery Tips For Home

In general it takes about 6 weeks to fully recover from a C-Section operation. After this time you can usually resume most normal activities again.

• In the meantime, you may experience exhaustion, excess gas and some lower back pain. This is all quite normal. Between 4 and 7 days after delivery and childbirth, the staples from the incision will be removed. Life will be busy with a new baby in the house, but try to be kind to yourself. Take things easy, and avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby. Arrange for friends and family to help out for a few days, cooking, doing housework and looking after any older children. Sleep as much as you need and take regular naps.

• If you are breastfeeding it will be difficult to lay the baby across your abdomen in the traditional manner. Instead try the 'football hold'. That is, position the baby under one arm at the side of the body so that he/she does not rest directly on the womb.

• Avoid Intercourse for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Wait until your doctor or healthcare worker gives you the go ahead. See, postpartum sex for details.

• Start breathing exercises, your healthcare worker will be able to show you how.

• Walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day, this will aid blood circulation and prevent constipation.

• Drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder regularly. This will help prevent nasty urinary tract infections.

• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, the vitamins and nutrients will help your body heal faster.

• Consider Physical Therapy if you are still in some pain after 6 weeks or pulling at your scar. This process involves pain and rehabilitation medicine offered by centers throughout America. In Physical Therapy you can work with experienced physicians, acupuncturists and even psychologists.

Complications: When To Call a Doctor

You will be scheduled for a postpartum checkup at 2 and again at 6 weeks to ensure that your body is healing properly. In the meantime, if any of the following occur, call your doctor, OB/GYN, or healthcare worker immediately:

• If you see any sign of infection: redness, swelling or discharge from and around the incision. Or if you run a fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C).
• Vaginal discharge which looks unusual or smells foul.
• Pain in the breasts accompanied with fever or redness.
• Painful urination which could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
• Bleeding that contains large clots or soaks a maxi pad within an hour.
• Any swelling or pain of the legs.
• If you experience postpartum depression: severe moods swings, inertia or overwhelming tiredness.

See our article: How many cesareans can you have?

What Are C-Section Recovery Kits?

These are commercial kits which are available online or in some pharmacies. A regular recovery kit includes a soft cotton 'bikini belt' which can be worn during pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks, and immediately after surgery to offer comfortable support for the lower back and tummy area. Belts can be purchased separately, or in a kit which may also include a skin brush to help prevent ingrown hairs around the incision and a DVD or booklet on recovery massage techniques. Companies who sell these kits state that they can help accelerate recovery by repositioning the internal organs (uterus, bladder and intestines), protecting the vulnerable incision from infections and promoting muscle memory. By preventing unnecessary tears and strain on the incision, they help insure that the final scar you are left with is as small as possible.

Belts should be opened for 20 to 60 minutes a day, a few times a day. You should wash your belt every couple of days in cold water and leave to hang dry. It is usually worn for about 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

Belts are offered in various sizes from petite, small, medium, large, and extra large. A belt costs on average between $50 to $60. A kit, which includes a belt, brush and DVD averages between $65 to $85. If you are budgeting, this should be factored along with your prenatal care costs.

The most popular brand of recovery kits are made by AbdoMend. There seems to be very little scientific research to support claims for these kits. However despite this, they certainly offer a neat alternative to spandex undies which many women resort to in order to 'hold it altogether' after surgery. AbdoMend offer videos on their online store which show how best to use their products.

Related subject: Maternity wear - still useful for the first few weeks after childbirth.

  Related Articles on C-SECTION RECOVERY

For more childbirth and delivery, see the following:

• Natural Birthing Methods: Home Birth and Waterbirths
• When Baby Needs A Little Encouragement: Labor Induction
• Pain Reduction Injections: Epidural Pain Relief / Is An Epidural Safe?
Natural Labor Induction Methods

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