C-Section Recovery

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For a major surgery like a C-section, a woman has to be mentally prepared. After the operation comes even more crucial phase for a new mom – C-Section recovery and aftercare.

Every delivery comes with a risk of a C-Section. A vaginal tear can be a small or a third-degree tear. But nothing compares to a C-Section. Cesarean aftercare is mandatory for your vaginal health and fertility. Not taking proper care after a cesarean can lead to infections and uterine abnormalities.

You cannot expect to learn about the dos and don’ts after C-Section post delivery. Some women voluntarily get a C-Section. Others may end up getting a cesarean against expectations. Vaginal birth after cesarean has a risk of becoming a second C-Section. It is a bit difficult to get C-Section but not at all impossible.

C-Section Recovery
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C-Section Recovery

What is a C-Section?

A C-Section is an incision along the uterus to the abdomen to take out the baby. When the mother becomes unconscious, or baby ejects fecal matter a C-Section is essential to save lives.

The journey of C-Section recovery is not easy. You have to take special care of the stitching and avoid bathing. Physical activity is minimal and dietary restrictions strict. When the bleeding continues for days together, and there is so much to deal with postpartum depression sets in.

Don’t feel discouraged. One of the reasons why natural birth is better than a cesarean is because of the consequences of getting a C-Section. It is not uncommon to get a C-Section, and many women get it every day. Statistics say that about 33% of women in the US have a C-Section. Every year more than a million C-Section happen around the globe.

Some of the risks of C-Section include blood loss, infections, and injury.

What happens during a C-Section?

Before every C-Section a mother gets enough time up to 24 hours to push out her baby. After pushing and trying for so long exhaustion is natural. The baby goes under stress, and it is life-threatening. Your doctor will take your consent or your birth partner’s consent to do a c section.

A pregnant woman now shifts to the operation theatre. Anesthesia specialist will judge the amount of anesthetic you need. She will give you an anesthetic injection that will induce deep sleep. Your doctor will make an incision to take out the baby. The shape of the incision can be linear or a T in severe cases. After that, the umbilical cord is cut and placenta removed.

What happens after a C-Section?

After a C-Section your doctor will not allow you to eat anything not even fluids for hours. It can be 12 hours or more. After that, you will get a glucose drink or juice. You will have a catheter to collect your urine in a bag. Walking up stairs or moving a lot is not advisable after C-Section. Bed rest for a month ensures complete recovery. You will have to wait for the right time to take a bath. The scar will take longer to heal. Do not scrub it or use any product without informing your doctor.

If your cut was put back using staples, the doctor would remove them before you leave. Generally, you have to stay in hospital for four days. You can ask for painkillers to allow yourself to sleep & ease C-Section pain.

Bleeding after C-Section

Postnatal bleeding is heavier than a normal delivery. The bright red blood coming due to involution of the uterus has a distinct smell. Involution of the uterus is returning to normal size as before pregnancy.

What is Lochia after C-Section?

Lochia after C-Section is the bright blood that comes for a few weeks as the stitches heal. Subcutaneous stitches do not leave a mark and are better. Your dressing changes after the fifth day. Unless your doctor asks you won’t need another dressing after that. Lochia smell is unpleasant, but it can get worse with infections. Be vigilant of any soreness or red patches in the area. You might not want to see the cut so you can ask your partner to help out.

How long does lochia last?

Lochia can last for six weeks or less. The amount of blood coming out reduces with time.

How long do you bleed after a C section?

If this is your first C-Section and the incision is small, the bleeding will last for a month. Bleeding for a month does not mean that you will have a flow throughout. Over time the bleeding will turn into spotting. If you breastfeed then your period won’t start after C-Section. It will give you enough time to rest and enjoy natural contraception. After a few weeks, your doctor will allow you to indulge in sex and wearing tampons.

How long does a C-Section take?

The time before you get a C-Section is long. Once you decide to get a C-Section, then the steps are quick. The process of taking out the baby is only 10-15 minutes. After that step, either your cut gets staples, glue or stitches. The reversal can take half an hour depending upon the expertise of the gynecologist.

How to recover from a C section?

It is essential that you are confident and patient for recovery after C-Section. Our bodies can heal from any injury provided we have the will power. Following a simple, healthy diet and doing gentle exercise can prevent other problems. If you don’t move enough, then you will have constipation. First postpartum poop can be as painful as another labor. That’s the reason your doctors want you to go to the loo once within 24 hours after C-Section.

C-Section pain

You can take painkillers from the same drip that conducted epidural.

How long does pain last after C-Section? The pain will not last for long on a continuous basis. But at different times you will feel the pain getting more and less. Like sneezing after C-Section can make you shriek out a cry. As the effect of anesthesia will leave your body, you will feel the pain. Doctors recommend painkillers that you can take even while breastfeeding.

Sex after a C-Section

You have to wait to have sex after C-Section because your vagina is not ready. Lowered libido is not strange when you have a lot of blood coming out of the area. Over time lochia turns darker to brown and then becomes pale as yellow or orange. Once the bleeding is over, you can have sex. Breastfeeding mothers don’t have to bother about using contraceptives. The high levels of prolactin will give you natural contraception for months to come.

First period after c section

The first postpartum period can come back within 6-7 weeks if you are not breastfeeding. When a woman nurses the levels of prolactin suppress the other hormones and stop ovulation. Thus, there is a temporary suspension of the period. Even in that case, many women get their first period after C-Section within six months.

Bath after C-Section

The wound shows like a bright red swollen bump out of your bikini line. You have a blood bath after delivering.

How long after a C-Section can I take a bath? Once the bleeding stops, you can take a shower. Until then you must avoid getting in tubs. For bathing after a C-Section merely let the water flow over the wound and wash it off. Don’t scrub the area and gently pat dry. Make sure the soap you use is for sensitive skin. Your pubic area will hurt when the hair grows again. It will become sensitive and itchy. Select the right vaginal wash for it.

Dos and Don’ts after C-Section

There are a few things that you must do after C-Section. A mother who had a natural birth can do certain things that you can’t.

Dos after C-Section

  • When coughing, sneezing, or getting downstairs keep a hand under your belly.
  • Wear the postpartum belt and braces to support your tummy.
  • Consume lots of fibers, fluids, and energy-rich foods but don’t go overboard with the quantity.
  • Walk around and take little strolls to help digestion.
  • Keep your incision area dry and clean. Use a fresh pad every time you go to pee. Change pads often.
  • Tell your doctor if you feel that there is soreness or redness in the section area.
  • Be careful while breastfeeding your baby as your nipples can hurt.
  • Relax and enjoy doing whatever you like such as reading and sleeping.
  • Seek medical attention if you have any a headache or abdominal pain that is getting severe.
  • Take help while standing, breastfeeding or even when you remove the catheter for urinating.

Don’ts after C-Section

  • Do not douche or use tampons to control the bleeding. It is essential that the blood flows out entirely. Tampons can block the flow.
  • Sexual intercourse is not safe as it can open up the resealing cut.
  • OTC painkillers or laxatives without doctor’s consent are a complete no.
  • Avoid going to public washrooms, swimming pools.
  • Wait for having a bath until you stop bleeding.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes that can rub against your private parts.
  • Don’t use scented products to cover up lochia smell.
  • Speak about your feelings and do not bottle your thoughts. They can cause a breakdown and lead to postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Don’t hurry for any weight loss programs and allow yourself to rest.
  • Stop over thinking and worrying. Do not compromise your recovery to take extra care of your baby.

How to recover from a C-Section quickly?

Positive thinking can heal you quicker than mothers who give natural birth. You have just brought a new life on this planet. What more do you need to assure yourself of your capabilities?

Here are top 5 tips to heal quickly after C-Section

1) Rest without guilt & limit physical strain

Don’t try to work when the baby sleeps. Sleep with the baby and if you want to sleep more ask someone to assist. If you are living alone, then make sure you have everything handy. Avoid walking up and down getting things as you need. Keep diapers along and have enough stock. Do not try to get things done beyond extremely essential. Everything can wait, and your recovery is a priority. 

2) Control appetite

After the traumatic experience, your diet can voraciously increase. Don’t hog on unhealthy junk or snacks. Even if you are hungry do not eat more than sufficient portion. Take in lots of fiber-rich food to avoid constipation. What food should be taken after cesarean delivery? A healthy diet with lots of veggies, fruits, and fluids is recommendable. If you are breastfeeding, drink fresh smoothies. Make some preggo poppers which have healthy nuts. Replenish all lost nutrients and have dairy or meat products. Do not cut down on everything your body desires. Suppressing appetite can lead to severe mood swings.

3) Use OTC medicines after consultation

Some over the counter painkillers are for pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you have a lot of pain, you can ask your doctor about taking some painkillers. Similarly, do not take laxatives or sleeping pills until your doctor prescribes them.

4) Ask for help

Do not lift any heavy stuff. When you are not feeling well ask for help in taking care of the baby. Never think that you can raise something quickly instead of waiting for someone to come. You can have your MIL, mother, relative or friends cook your meals, or hire a maid. If you have a long scar, then you may need a wet nurse or babysitter to help you. More than physical pain you need to ask for emotional support. A woman can have postpartum anxiety after C-Section. Never hesitate in talking about what you feel with your doctor.

5) Maintain hygiene

Do not use tampons for lochia. Cover the wound with maternity pads. It is critical to keep the scar dry to avoid getting infections. You will not be able to bath soon after C section. Sponging with warm water and washing the incision will keep it clean.

How to clean C section incision? Never scrub the wound or use any soap for it. For cleaning the incision, use a pH neutral soap and gentle flow of water. Do not direct showers towards it. Change the dressing every day. Use a thick pad to soak sweat and postnatal bleeding.

When to call a doctor after C-Section?

After a c section tour body takes longer to heal. Healing mothers can encounter many problems. If you experience the following after C-Section consult your doctor:

  1. Heavy bleeding as if there is an internal hemorrhage
  2. Fever more than 100°F
  3. Rashes or unbearable itching
  4. Dizziness

How do I know my C-Section is healing?

You will see the scar become visibly lighter. Bleeding will stop after a few weeks. There will be no smell of lochia, and you will not feel the shrinking of the uterus. The levels of hormones will come back to normal.

 If you are not breastfeeding your first period after c section will come sooner. How long does it take for c section to heal? Usually, women take up to 8 weeks to successfully recover from a C-Section.