C Section Recovery

Whether you are planning on having a Cesarean delivery or simply want to be prepared in case you end up having a C-section, it is completely normal to have questions about your recovery period. Common questions include wondering how uncomfortable you will be, how long your incisions will take to heal and what positions will be best for breast-feeding your child. Here is some information to help you know how to properly recover and take care of yourself during your C section recovery.

How Will You Feel after C Section?

After your C section, you will be both recovering from the procedure as well as your pregnancy. Here are some things you should expect during this recovery process:

Vaginal Discharge

You should expect a heavy and bright flow of blood for several days after your C-section and this will eventually taper off. You should ideally use pads instead of tampons during this time.

Contractions

It is possible to feel contractions in the form of after pains for several days after your C-section; these are often similar to menstrual cramps.

Sore Breasts

It is possible that your breasts will be engorged for a few days after your C-section and this will make them feel swollen, tender and firm; to relieve the feeling, nurse or express milk or apply ice packs.

Leaking Milk

It is possible for your breasts to leak between feedings and you can wear nursing pads to protect your shirt.

Skin Changes and Hair Loss

During your pregnancy your hair will have gotten fuller due to hormone levels but after you give birth all the excess hair will begin to shed; this usually stops within 6 months.

Mood Changes

Some new moms experience mild depression (known as baby blues) but this usually goes away within a week or two. You may also experience anxiety, sadness, irritability and mood swings.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can lead to loss of appetite, a lack of joy in your life and overwhelming fatigue after childbirth and you should talk to your doctor if you think you have it.

Weight Loss

It is normal to feel out of shape or still look pregnant after your C-section but the weight will gradually drop beginning with around 10 pounds or more during birth.

How to Speed up C Section Recovery

1. Take Care of the C-section Incision

Remember that it will take between four and six weeks for your C-section incision to heal. During this time you should take care of your incision by doing several things.

  • You should take it easy and rest as much as possible; this means keeping needed items close by and not lifting anything that weighs more than your child.
  • You should also try to support your abdomen using good posture and by holding it if you make any sudden movements such as laughing.
  • You can take pain relief medication as you need it and your doctor may recommend one such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • You should also drink a lot of fluids as these will prevent constipation and replace those that you lost during the delivery as well as from breast-feeding.

2. Watch out for Infection

You should keep an eye on your body in general to make sure the incision from your C-section does not become infected. Signs of an infection include increased pain near the incision, a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or more and if your incision is leaking, swollen or red.

3. Find a Proper Holding Position

Although you can start breastfeeding right after your C-section, many moms find this uncomfortable. To speed up your recovery and stay comfortable you can try finding the right holding position that works for you. The two best options are the football hold and the side-lying hold (where you lie down on your side and support your baby).

4. Eat and Drink Properly

You should be sure to eat and drink whenever you feel thirsty or hungry. Be sure to eat plenty of foods rich in fiber and drink lots of water as this will prevent constipation. If you have a pain from trapped wind, try drinking some peppermint water.

5. Wear Loose Clothing

Be sure to wear loose clothing as well as cotton underwear after your C-section. You should either borrow a pair of boxer shorts from your partner or wear underwear that is one size larger. You can also get special underwear from the National Childbirth Trust that is made of stretchy gauze that fits over your scar.

6. Wash the Wound Daily

To speed up your recovery process, be sure to wash and dry your wound every day. You can do this in the bath or shower and it is okay to use soap on your wound but always be sure to thoroughly rinse it off afterwards. You can also choose to use a flannel that is freshly washed. When cleaning, be sure to pat the wound instead of rubbing it and the same is true when drying it as well.

7. Move Slightly

A great way to help your C section recovery is to make small movements whenever possible. You should not do anything too strenuous for several weeks after the surgery but you can try flexing your feet, stretching your calf muscles or wiggling your legs. These movements work even when you are lying down to recover. Once you feel a bit better, try slowly walking around your house.

Here is a video to give you more tips on how to speed up your C section recovery process:

 
 
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