Giving birth to a child is never easy. But if you’ve had a C-section, whether it was planned or unplanned, the postpartum period can be very challenging. Apart from caring for your newborn, you are also going to heal from a major abdominal surgery.
The recovery period from C-section is very different for every mom and can even feel different from one birth to the next – but there are a few things you can expect when you recuperate from the C-section.
After the C-section
Usually, a new mother who’s had a C-section has to stay in the hospital for three days. Even after you’re discharged, you need to take it easy after the C-section. Most moms take four to six weeks to make a full recovery. Here’s what to expect during that time:
1 Day Later: A new mom is encouraged to walk around within the first 12 hours after delivery to help relieve gas buildup in the abdomen, and to eat something light in the initial hours.
2 Days Later: You will now be allowed to shower as usual. It may take some time for your bowel movement to get regular after surgery, which is very common and doctors will recommend a stool softener. Eating fiber-rich foods and drinking water will also help.
3 Days Later: Sometimes, it may take up to 3 days for your milk to come in after a C-section as compared to a normal delivery. The mature milk should be in by about day three or four, after the colostrum has come.
1 Week Later: You may be feeling better physically at this point of time but it is important not to exert yourself too much. Remember not to list anything heavier than your baby. Try to get enough rest to aid healing faster – sleep when the baby sleeps.
4 to 6 Weeks Later: You may not feel too much pain around your stitches at this point. You’ll be able to do a little more strenuous activities as compared to before, like driving and exercise. However, do it only after you get a go ahead from your doctor.
Dealing with the pain of C-section
After your C-section, your doctor will give you painkillers or an anti-inflammatory to help with the pain. You may need to take painkillers every four hours around the clock to try and stay ahead of the soreness. If the pain is extreme, talk to your doctor about giving you a stronger painkiller. Hold a pillow over your incision when coughing or taking deep breaths, or use a postpartum support belt to reduce the strain in your abdominal muscles.
Caring for your C-section incisions
It is important to care for your incision after you’ve had a C-section. Be sure to clean it with warm, soapy water and keep it dry for the rest of the time. Doctors recommend patting the incision gently with a towel after bathing. This helps avoid infection. If you experience increased pain, swelling, warmth or redness, red streaks leading from the incision, pus, swollen lymph nodes or fever, call your doctor immediately.
Vaginal Birth after Delivery
Unless you’ve had any other complication previously or currently, you’ll be able to have a normal birth – also known as vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) – in the future. If a woman has had a C-section without any known complications such as extension of the incision or uterine rupture, and there are no complications for the second pregnancy (like placenta previa), there’s no reason not to consider labour the next time around.
To know more about what to expect after C-section, talk to our experts at KIMS cuddles.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.