- Women's Health
C-Section Advice:How to Care for Yourself After a Cesarean Section
Cesarean Section Recovery
Cesarean Section - Not too long ago the term would strike fear in many expectant mother's hearts. There were so many risks involved with the surgery and not to mention a ghastly scar that stretched the length of the torso. Today, however, C-sections are being performed almost as much as natural births. In fact, many physicians allow their patients to choose whether to deliver naturally or via C-Section. This may be due to the increase in celebrity trends or because women are having babies later in life and advanced maternal age comes into play when making the decision. Regardless of the increase of this type of delivery, one thing remains true, it is surgery and the body needs to recover and heal properly.
Cesarean Section Recovery Tips
The human body needs time to recover from any invasive trauma it endures. Surgery, although a controlled event in a controlled environment, is no less stressful on the body than a car accident or a bad fall. As a mother of four I experienced childbirth naturally and also with two cesarean sections. The first two natural deliveries I experienced every bit of pain. As much as my husband wished, I am not a marine and I could not Semper Fi through another delivery without pain meds. The doctor however gave me the option of a cesarean section due to my age and my children's shoulders so I jumped at the chance. I thought it would be easy compared to labor and delivery. Ha! In my silly mind I thought the epidural with be the hardest part of a C-Section. I knew the risks of the surgery and what could or couldn't happen, however, I did not anticipate the post surgery experience being more painful and drawn out than a natural birth.My second C-Section recovery went much smoother because I followed my own set of guidelines. I hope anyone who is about to have a cesarean will read these and follow them to ease in their own recovery process.
Postpartum care after Cesarean
- Rest as much as physically possible. If someone offers to watch the baby for an hour take them up on it. Do not try to play hostess, walk the dog, pay the bills and mow the lawn. Your only concern is You and Baby! Conserve your strength for them.
- Do not lift anything heavier than your baby. This is not always possible if you have other small children, but if you were not lifting a certain weight while you were pregnant than don't lift it now. You risk doing significant damage if your stitches rip open.
- Do not climb stairs more than 2 or three times a day. Stairs can be unavoidable. Try going up them backwards. It may look silly, but it is so much less painful.
- Limit your social activities. Mornings are usually the time when your energy is at it's peak. Save social visits and appointments for mornings. Everyone wants to see you and the new baby, but your energy may be low. Don't try to please anyone or feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
- If your insides feel too jiggly that it becomes uncomfortable to move wear a light support undergarment, Spanx or a Belly Band to help the excess movement. I would actually become nauseous from the excessive movement. Some believe this hinders your muscles from strengthening back up, but my doctor explained that this would be impossible to happen unless you were wearing a corset like garment.
- Avoid bending over to pick items off the floor from a standing position. Not only will your equilibrium be off slightly, your core strength is so diminished that you may topple over as you stand back up.
- Follow your doctor's advice as afar as driving. In some cases you do not have an option. I had to drive to the drugstore the day after I came home from the hospital due to a flu outbreak in my house. It was challenging, but I was careful not to exert myself or make any sharp moves. I also did not take any pain medicine before I went because that can also impair your driving making you a hazard to others.
Other post partum care issues
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water or more especially if you are breast feeding. Water is essential to healing from any surgery. It flushes out everything and aids in proper digestion
- Make sure you attempt bowl movements as they come. The cramping from gas and constipation can be excruciating for many women.
- Eat as balanced a diet as possible. Something from each food group each day.
- Stick to what the doctor prescribed for pain management.
- If you develop a fever above 101 F once or 100.4 F two times in four hours call a doctor. You could have an infection and it must be treated immediately.
- Keep on schedule with hygene. As long as your doctor has permitted it, showering daily helps you heal spiritually. Use the time to get to know your unpregnant body. It's exciting to see those toes again!
- Follow your doctor's orders for cleaning your incision.
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