Like any major surgery, C-section takes a toll on your body. While you may be busy attending to your new bundle of joy, you need to focus on yourself too. Recovery could take about six weeks. But, it isn’t an easy process.
Here are the things you need to know after your C-section.
1. There Will Be Pain. Even After The Big Day
The truth is there will be pain even after C-section, sometimes lasting for weeks. Not just in and around your scar, but it could pop up as pain from gas, abdominal pain, and it hurts to even sit up. You would be prescribed painkillers to give you relief. Because of the pain, you might find it difficult to get into a comfortable position for breastfeeding. You could stack up a few pillows to give you that lift to feed your baby.
While sleeping, find your most comfortable position in bed. Pillows will be your best friend during this tender time. Ask your partner for help. It does get better soon. Just hang in there.
2. Bathroom Breaks Will Be Uncomfortable
If you feel like you constantly need to pee and your bladder just doesn’t get relieved, this is perfectly normal. Don’t be alarmed when your pee sometimes burns. It’s common after birth. Pooping is not exactly a field trip, either. If you have been getting bouts of constipation before delivery, there are chances of it happening again. In fact, a common side effect of painkillers is constipation. Another reason is because your hormones have been through several changes.
Keep yourself hydrated and eat plenty of high fiber food. If nothing helps, you could use stool softeners to get things moving. Also, you don’t have to worry about your stitches tearing open while you’re pooping.
3. It Could Hurt To Cough And Sneeze
Even the slightest movement could get you caught rolling in pain. That means it’s probably not a good idea to catch a cold. Coughing and sneezing can take a toll on your back and lower body. It helps to place a pillow on your abdomen to get you through coughing. The pain will be at its peak during the first week post birth.
4. Your Scar Could Get Itchy
While it may seem tempting to dig your nails around your C-section scar, it could aggravate your skin. The itching is just part of the healing process. Also, you might feel numbness in the area because your nerves could have got ruptured during surgery. It could take months for the lack of sensation to fade away, but for some mothers the numbness could be permanent.
5. There Will Be Blood
Postpartum bleeding is not just part of vaginal delivery. Plenty of women experience it after a Cesarean section. This is because your uterine wall undergoes a lot of changes after your baby is delivered. The thick lining responsible for protecting your baby needs to break down, and your hormone levels stabilize and dip. The uterus needs to heal itself. The bleeding isn’t heavy and it could last for a month.
6. You Need To Go Easy On The Physical Activity
Your body needs to heal itself and it takes time. This means no lifting or pulling anything remotely heavy. This includes not driving as well, at least two weeks after delivery. Give yourself a break from chores and cleaning up. Walking can help you cope during this time.
7. Don’t Be Surprised To See Your Feet And Hands Swollen
Swelling is a normal part of the healing process. Your feet, legs, hands, and even face could swell up after your delivery. This is because, during pregnancy your blood volume builds up to support your baby. One study claims your blood volume goes up by 50%!1 The swelling could take a few weeks to reduce. Walking and drinking plenty of water helps.
8. Say Hello To Your C-Section Shelf
Several women hold a C-section shelf after delivery. It’s an extra fold of skin that looms over your C-section scar. It’s a result of doctors stitching up the layers of skin they had opened up during surgery. You need a combination of diet, exercise and compression to tackle it.
9. Vaginal Birth Is Still A Possibility In The Future
A Caesarean section is typically done to meet a medical emergency, like in the case of breech. But it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to have a vaginal birth in the future. Vaginal birth after caesarean or VBAC is safe. A very rare case is when the uterine wall ruptures at the scar during delivery and this would need an emergency C-section.
|↑1||HYTTEN, FRANK. “Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy.” Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey 41, no. 7 (1986): 426-428.|