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C-Section Recovery

Your Body & Your Baby

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How is the c-section recovery?

Six Days Post Cesarean

Photo © Riggs
Your Incision

Don't be afraid to look at your incision, it's actually very important that you do so. The first day it may be covered by gauze, and some women may have special drains to help remove fluids that are collecting on the inside. There are different types of external incision, that may not match the incision on your uterus, make sure to ask the doctor who did your surgery about the uterine incision. The area may look bruised, red, and irritated. You will notice that there are staples or stitches. These will usually be removed within a few days of the surgery or will dissolve on their own like the internal stitches. Looking at the incision now will allow you to be able to report changes that may indicate infection to your doctor at a later date.

One thing that surprised many women including me, was the numbness and itching. This is supposed to go away within a few weeks but doesn't always. It doesn't indicate that there is something wrong.

The best advice that anyone can give you, whether your at home or in the hospital, is to rest. Rest is very important after any birth and particularly true when you add the surgical aspect, even if you did not labor. Ask that visitors wait for awhile, enlist the help of hospital staff at keeping them to a minimum. Be sure to ask for help from your friends and family who offer. And sleep whenever possible.

Your Baby After a Cesarean

Your baby may need special care, particularly if that was the reason for the cesarean. So he or she may spend extra time in the nursery. If this is the case ask that your bed be wheeled to the nursery or a wheelchair as soon as you are able.

If your baby is doing well after the birth and is healthy, you may be able to hold your baby through the entire recovery room period, bringing the baby to your postpartum room with you. Even if you are feeling sleepy or in pain, your family members can help you with the baby while in your room.

Breastfeeding is also still possible after a cesarean, although the positioning may be a bit trickier with your incision. Pain medication can help relieve some of this and there are also great tips on positions to be had from the hospital lactation consultant, breastfeeding educator, or your local La Leche League.

Side lying is a great position to nurse in because it takes so little effort on your part and the baby avoids the incision. The football hold is also great, prop up with a lot of pillows for this one.

Emotions After a Cesarean

Your emotions, as with any new mom, will probably be all over the place for the first few days. In addition to the new mom feelings, you may have certain feelings about the birth.

You may have been afraid when told that you needed a cesarean, that something was wrong with you or your baby. That may have ended with relief as a healthy baby was born, or more fear if your baby had to go to the special care nursery. You may feel disappointed for the way things went or that certain things didn't happen, like a vaginal birth or breastfeeding your baby in the recovery room. It's okay to have these feelings or questions.

The questions can be asked of those who were around, your doctor or midwife, your partner, the nurses. get explanations, which will explain why the surgery was necessary. It's important to realize that these feelings need to be dealt with just as much as the physical healing.

Some women don't feel negatively about their cesareans, and that's one part of the range of normal as well. It's neither right nor wrong to feel either way, but it's important to remember that each side of the fence is valid and that we must be supportive of this mother, no matter how she feels.

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