A cesarean always seems scary; especially with the first pregnancy. If you have had a C-section, or going to have one, and you’re wondering about how is the recovery going to be like post C-section, here is a guide on what you can expect and how can you cope up with it.
Pain along the line of the incision made for the surgery:
This is by far one of the most common symptoms experienced by the mother who has just had a C-section. The pain felt will be similar to what is felt after other minor abdominal surgeries, or maybe an appendix removal. The doctor usually prescribes some medicines in order to bring this pain under control, and usually 3 days after the surgery, the pain and discomfort start subsiding.
However, if it does continue for weeks, as it is in some cases, you have to inform your doctor. This may not necessarily mean anything serious, as a lot also depends on the pain threshold of the woman. Your doctor in such situations usually prescribes another dose of pain-killers which when used for a few days, can greatly help you cope up with the pain.
Also the doctors’ usually prescribe those pain killers which do not pass in the colostrum and milk, and hence you can be assured of your baby’s safety if you’re breast-feeding. Also the application of any oils or creams over the incision line, unless prescribed by your doctor, is not recommended. It is important to not panic and understand that the surgery incision is also like any other wound on the body and will take its due course before fully healing and becoming normal.
Weakness and exhaustion:
This is another common post surgery experience. The best way to cope up with this is taking adequate sleep and nutrition, which are anyway very much needed at this stage.
Nausea and vomiting:
Many women do experience nausea and/or vomiting after the cesarean section. Your doctor may then put you on some anti emetics, which are also safe to take in case your breastfeeding. If you have had some abdominal surgeries before, in which you had experienced nausea and vomiting post surgery, do inform your doctor about it. In such cases, there are also pre operative anti emetics given so that after the surgery, the mother is more comfortable.
Removing the urinary catheter:
A catheter is put in place post surgery to help the mother to urinate. This is because it may be difficult for the mother to start using the toilet immediately after the C-section. A short while after the surgery and once the mother is feeling better, the catheter is removed. The mother may experience some continued difficulty in urinating, which subsides with time. In case the problem is severe, and the mother is not able to pass urine, the catheter may be reinserted.
Slowly getting up from the bed:
Usually after around 8 hours post surgery, or after the catheter is removed, the doctors advise the mothers to start moving around. This may be difficult initially. Try getting up slowly from the bed. Take support with both hands, and slowly placing your legs on the floor, try to stand up. You may experience giddiness initially, which is normal. It gets better with time. If you do continue to experience giddiness and are uncomfortable in moving around even after 3 days, inform your doctor about it.
Rooming-in with the baby:
Do not be afraid to lift your baby. Even a woman who has had a C-section, unless advised otherwise by the doctor, is capable of lifting the baby up. While feeding the baby, place the baby above the line of incision so that there are no accidental injuries at that site. The bond between the mother and baby is important, and the very pleasure that you get in holding your baby will provide you with encouragement to move and feel better.
Starting with exercises:
Some doctors do advise mothers to start with mild exercises after around 3 days post surgery. These include flexing of the foot, wriggling of the toes or simple hand stretching exercises. These ensure that blood circulation is not jammed and blood flows freely to all parts of the body. All heavy exercises are avoided and also as a safety precaution, the mother should refrain from lifting any heavy objects till the wound healing at the incision is complete and sutures are removed.
Starting with normal diet:
After the C-section, the earlier you return to normal diet, the better it is. Some doctors even believe that food should be started as early as 4 hours post surgery. This is helpful as it provides nutrition to the mother’s much exhausted body and also helps to start with the normal bowel movements. Some other doctors’ believe that the mother should be on intravenous fluid for the first 24 hours.
Talk to your doctor during the planning of your C-section as to what would be best for you. Also, do not jump into eating heavy fatty foods from day 1. It has to bland and easy to digest food, with adequate amounts of water and fruits to maintain the hydration. Your body does take time to return back to normal after deliver, so go easy on it with simple diet for the first few days.
Due to the surgery incision line, as well as constipation, you may experience some abdominal discomfort in the first few days after delivery. The constipation may be as the anesthesia during surgery does slow down bowel movement. Maintaining a simple diet, avoiding heavy and oily foods and incorporating fiber rich fruits is the key to treating such discomfort. In severe cases, do inform your doctor, who may advise you medicines for acidity, or laxatives to combat constipation.
Removal of sutures:
Some suture materials are resorbable, while some are not. If the non-resorbable variety has been used for you, depending on the type of material, you may have to go for removal of stitches usually after 7 days post surgery. Inform your doctor in case you have any itchiness or redness in the area of the stitches.
Also, very importantly do not forget to spend time with your baby. Feel encouraged to cuddle with your bundle of joy, and involving the father too can be a big help in speedy recovery after the C-section.