When recovering from a Cesarean delivery (C-section), there are some special considerations to keep in mind. After major abdominal surgery, it takes an average of four weeks or more for the incision to heal. In the meantime, you can gradually resume your normal activities, as long as you listen to your body and follow your doctor’s advice. Here are some tips for getting through the first few days after your C-section.
At the hospital:
Be prepared to spend about three days in the hospital. Sleep when you can, because being well rested will speed your recovery. However, try to walk short distances and move around frequently.
Keep your fluid intake up, since you lose a great deal from delivery and breastfeeding. Drinking fluids is also important in order to avoid constipation.
You can take medication for soreness or effects from the anesthesia. An IV or pills are common and should not inhibit breastfeeding.
Ask for help with feeding your newborn if it is uncomfortable.
Take care of your physical and emotional needs. The smallest daily tasks may feel completely overwhelming, so ask for help from others. Maintain your energy by eating healthy foods, but keep your diet bland if you have an upset stomach.
Avoid pressure on your abdomen, and use a support when holding the baby. Be careful when coughing or sneezing, holding a pillow over your abdomen to protect the incision. Keep the area clean and watch for signs of infection, such as discharge or swelling.
Call your doctor in case of fever higher than 100.4 degrees F (38 C), or for problems with the incision. Excessive vaginal bleeding or breast pain should also be reported to your doctor.
Talk with someone if you experience symptoms of postpartum depression, such as extreme tiredness, sadness or sudden mood swings, loss of appetite, or thoughts of hopelessness. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after delivery, along with the demands on your body, can wreak havoc with your emotions. Many new mothers feel guilty about not being overjoyed all the time, but talking with a medical professional or another mother can help you realize that your feelings are not unusual.