5 Tips for Recovering from a C-Section

The days following the birth of a baby are often filled with joy and excitement. But they can also be challenging. This is especially true for mothers who delivered via cesarean birth.

All mothers need to take some time to rest and heal following childbirth. Mothers who experienced a cesarean delivery (C-section) may need to take a few extra measures. Recovery from a C-section often takes longer than recovery from vaginal birth.

Follow these tips to ensure a healthy, happy postpartum period.

Talk About Pain Management

While you’re in the hospital, talk with your doctor about how to manage your pain when you get home. Let your doctor know if you’re open to medication or if you’d like to avoid drugs.

If you are interested in medication, let your doctor know if you plan on breast-feeding. Ask about the medication’s side effects for you and the baby.

If you would like to avoid medication, ask about drug-free options, such as guided imagery or breathing techniques, to help ease your pain.

Limit Physical Activity

Keep your physical activity light and easy after giving birth. You may need help getting out of bed for the first day or two.

While you’re in the hospital, take slow walks with your doctor’s OK. This can help relieve some of the gas that comes with abdominal surgery.

Once you’re home, take it slow. At first, it’s best to avoid housework. Be careful not to lift anything heavier than your baby. Keep diapers and other commonly used baby supplies within easy reach.

Increase your activity level only when your doctor says to do so.

Let Your Uterus and Abdomen Heal

To speed healing, avoid the following activities until your doctor tells you that they are safe:

  • Exercising, lifting heavy objects, or repeatedly walking up stairs

  • Having sexual intercourse

  • Swimming in public pools or hot tubs

  • Taking baths

  • Using tampons

Know When to Call Your Doctor

Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

  • Headache that comes on after giving birth and doesn’t go away

  • Hives or rash

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (bleeding that soaks a sanitary pad in an hour)

  • Feelings of depression or severe anxiety

  • Sudden pain in the abdomen or at the incision site

These may be signs of a medical emergency.

Ask for Help and Take Your Time

Don’t expect to do everything yourself! Women who have had a C-section often need extra help. Reach out to friends, family members, and your health care team to get the support you need. For example, call a lactation consultant if you’re having a hard time breast-feeding.

It’s completely normal to feel drained after giving birth. Confide in close friends and other supportive people in your life.

Be patient as you get back to your old self. Take as much time as you need to recover physically and emotionally. Caring for yourself now will help you become a stronger mother.


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