3 Truths and Tips about Recovering from a C Section

Be prepared for all eventualities and know how to look after yourself once baby arrives. 

Written By Geraldine Walsh – Award Winning Parent Blogger - Over Heaven’s Hill www.overheavenshill.com
 
I naively assumed that I would glide out of the hospital a day after the birth of my first child, full of happy hormones as we proudly clipped baby into the car. I blatantly ignored the notion that complications do in fact happen, and refused to even consider that my birth plan may in fact go wildly out the window. After a failed induction and heavy bleeding I was rushed to theatre where the birth of our daughter was taken out of our control. She was born by Emergency Caesarean Section on a wet and dreary October day and I knew nothing about how I would feel once the epidural wore off. I quickly learned. But recovering from a C Section doesn’t need to be a terrifying experience. Be prepared for all eventualities and know how to look after yourself once baby arrives.  
 
It Hurts but Get Walking
Of course, childbirth in general hurts so we never believed this was going to be easy but no one told me just how bad the pain in my abdomen would be. The morning after the C Section, I was hoisted out of bed by a petite midwife who said “Go slow, you’ll be tender for a while.” Tender! Oh tender is not the word. The crippling pain was agonising and I’ll be honest, a bit of a fright. It was impossible to stand up straight in those first few moments and taking steps was completely out of the question. I hobbled for a while until
You are encouraged to walk and get mobile 24 hours after the surgery which seems incredibly daunting as the pain burns but it genuinely helps and does get easier the more you move about. Walking prevents blood clots and constipation so do your best to get out of the bed. By day three I was walking around the ward with almost full movement. Remember to pace yourself. A C Section is major abdominal surgery and there is no sprint to recovery. It can take up to four weeks for the incision to heal. Slow and steady wins the race.
Take Your Medication
And since the pain is near impossible to ignore, you will be very grateful for the abundance of medication offered to you after your section. I distinctly remember my obstetrician sitting on my bed after surgery saying “take everything they throw at you.” And I second that. You can’t and shouldn’t do it without medication.  
Believe it or not, but taking medication doesn’t simply mask or ease pain, it encourages the healing process. If you know you’ve missed a dose, ask for it. I managed relatively ok with the pain after about day three or four but those first few days are painful, plain old painful. Take those happy popping pills and you’ll be ok. Remember to pick up your prescription on the way home from the hospital as you will need them when you get home.
Protect Your Abdomen
Lifting is off limits. Picking up baby is near enough all you will be able to manage in the six weeks post surgery, and let’s be honest, that’s all you’ll really want to do as you recover and soak up those baby cuddles. With a Caesarean there is always the risk of damaging the wound which takes that little bit longer to heal.
Lifting or applying any pressure to the scar runs too high a risk, so avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a while. The same goes for exercise, cycling, sit ups, and weight lifting. In fact, if you need to sneeze or cough, ideally hold a pillow over your abdomen. Trust me, it helps to support your stomach and reduces any discomfort or pain.
Needing to protect your abdomen gives you the perfect excuse to stay put and enjoy those first precious few weeks of babyhood. 
 
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