How to heal from a C-section

Caring for a newborn can be overwhelming, and if you delivered your baby by C-section, it can be even more difficult as you try to heal. Knowing what to expect can help in your first days and weeks of becoming a mother.

If you follow your doctor’s instructions, recovering from a C-section can be relatively easy and painless. You can expect the healing process to take six weeks, as opposed to four weeks after a vaginal delivery.

First days after birth

When you have a C-section, you will likely stay in the hospital for a day or two. This is when the discomfort from your surgery will be the greatest, and the nurses and doctors will regularly check your vital signs and monitor your pain levels.

Some women only need ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and some may need stronger medications. If you experience discomfort that feels excessive, please speak up so your doctor can adjust your medication.

Healthcare providers will also check your incisions for infection. And they will massage the uterus to check for firmness, proper tone, and proper contractions, all of which indicate proper healing.

As soon as six hours after surgery or as soon as you feel comfortable, you will begin to walk around your hospital room or hallway. This speeds recovery by:

  • Increase blood flow and oxygen to tissues.
  • Decreased risk of blood clots
  • releasing endorphins
  • Boost intestinal motility
  • Reduce the risk of constipation

Two weeks after birth

Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your incision once you go home, and these will vary depending on whether stitches, staples, or glue were used. To promote faster healing, you should:

  • Keep the incision clean and dry to prevent infection. That means no toilets or swimming.
  • If you are taking narcotics as part of your recovery, restrict driving.
  • Eat well.

Signs to watch out for:

  • fevers
  • Shaking chills
  • Night sweats
  • Heavy bleeding, defined as soaking through more than one sanitary pad in an hour
  • Redness or drainage from the incision

All of these point to an infection at the surgical site., and you should call your doctor. You could be battling endometritis, an infection in the uterus, or another problem that requires medical attention.

Above all, listen to your body. If the pain feels unusual or the pain reliever sent home is not adequate, call your doctor.

You should also have a follow-up in the office a week or two after your C-section to make sure everything is going well.

six weeks after birth

You will probably feel better, but you still need to be careful. Avoid climbing stairs if possible, as this movement increases abdominal pressure. But staying in bed slows healing time and increases the risk of developing a blood clot in the legs or lungs. The answer is to find that balance between light activity and nothing.

Now is a good time to have a family member or friend visit and help you around the house, whether it’s fetching items from upstairs or simply limiting your physical load by not lifting. just over 20 lbs. Don’t try to be a superhero and overdo it, which could delay healing.

If you experience swollen extremities, shortness of breath, fever, or excessive vaginal bleeding, go to the emergency room. Drainage or a foul odor from the incision site warrants a visit to your OB-GYN.

Signs of preeclampsia, which can appear anytime within six weeks of delivery, include:

  • persistent headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Abdominal pain

Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder, and if left unchecked, it can damage the kidneys and other organs.

For most women, healing is over by about six weeks. One last visit to your OB-GYN is typical at this time. A clean bill of health marks the end of your pregnancy and delivery journey.


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