What To Expect During A C-Section Recovery
While there are a few different ways a baby can be delivered, a c-section is one of the more popular options if last-minute or even well-known complications arise. In fact, c-sections are performed so often now that they are relatively safe for both the mother and the newborn.
Having said that there is a lot that mothers and anyone involved in the process should know about when it comes to having a c-section. The process is different and so is the recovery. This is because the baby is delivered in a completely different way than natural childbirth. Here is a full guide on what to expect during a c-section recovery.
What Is A C-Section?
A c-section is fully known as a Cesarean Section or C-Section. This is the process where instead of natural birth by delivering a baby vaginally, the baby is delivered by a surgical procedure in which incisions are made in the abdomen.
There are several reasons why a doctor may recommend a c-section delivery over a vaginal. However, doctors usually only recommend it in necessary situations.
Reasons For Having A C-Section
There are a few different reasons why you may be advised to have a c-section and they all have to do with limiting health risks to the baby and mother.
This list includes but is not limited to the following reasons:
Sometimes a baby will either still be in or put themselves into the breech position. This is when the baby is flipped upside down and will not be able to be delivered head first.
Some conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or a chronic condition, can cause too much stress to the mother’s body while delivering.
Any kind of vaginal infection like an STD would require a c-section because these infections can be transmitted to the baby through vaginal birth.
Sometimes an overly large baby cannot move through the birth canal and must be delivered by c-section.
The Baby’s Health
Some illnesses for the baby can make it too stressful or difficult for them to travel through the birth canal.
Being overweight or obese by an extreme amount can pose serious health risks for the stresses that come from labor.
As you get older your odds increase for a c-section because of potential health complications you may have picked up as you got older.
Twins or More
Sometimes twins or any multiples of babies need to be birthed by c-section because of complications.
Sometimes the placenta can block the opening of the birth canal and cause health risks for delivering the baby naturally.
What should I expect after a C-Section Surgery?
Depending on the complications of the surgery, will depend on whether you are awake or not for the surgical procedure. For the most part, women are awake during their c-section and can hold their newborn right after giving birth.
There are several side effects and things you should expect after going through this procedure.
Cramps and Discomfort
Because you will experience vaginal bleeding in the aftermath you will also experience menstrual-like cramps. This can be uncomfortable because the narrowing of the blood vessels is what causes cramps. The purpose is so that you don’t lose too much blood.
Vaginal Discharge and Bleeding
For several weeks after delivering your baby, you will be shedding the lining of the uterus and getting rid of the tissues and blood that was built up during your pregnancy. At first, it will feel like a heavy period with bright red blood but then it will turn pink to brown and eventually clear before stopping.
Just like your breasts get tender and sore during your pregnancy and during your time of the month, they may also experience swelling and tenderness in the weeks after as well. This is because they will start to swell and fill up with milk. Pumping the milk out helps reduce the swelling as well as putting cool cloths over your breasts.
Some women may feel like if they rub their breasts it will help ease the comfort but actually, that helps them make more milk. But wearing a supportive bra when you are not breastfeeding can also help.
Postpartum Hairless is a normal symptom after giving birth because of the dropping levels of hormones. You will also notice stretch marks on your belly and breasts along with possibly weaker nails.
Possible Mood Swings or Sadness
You can experience mood swings or sadness with any baby delivery. This is because hormones drop. It is normal to feel sadness and depression. Some cases are more serious than others but baby blue can last for a few weeks or months after the baby is born.
C-Section Recovery Tips
All the above is going to require some extra care for yourself because there is a good chance you are going to be in a lot of discomforts. The following tips and tricks can help deal with the side effects that come with giving birth and c-sections.
- Over-the-counter medicine: Check with your doctor first, but taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help with cramping or discomfort. Heating pads can also provide some comfort.
- Take vitamins: Taking vitamins that have biotin and using ingredients that target healthy skin, hair, and nails can assist with the effects of hormone drop, hair loss and body changes.
- Keep It Clean: Make sure you don’t allow any room for infections where the stitches and staples lie around your stomach. Make sure also to brace yourself for any sneezing and coughing. To not aggravate the healing area.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids to help your body recover and stay hydrated is important to keep your immune system up.
- Rest: Some moms (most moms) feel a little restless at one point or another. It’s important to keep resting and not do too much with your body because a c-section is an invasive surgery that requires a good amount of rest to heal properly.
C-Section Recovery Care
Your c-section recovery care is slightly different than the tips to deal with some of the effects you get. Having said that some advice is along the same lines. Your care process is what will heal you up in the quickest and best way possible
Here are the common care instructions a doctor will send you home with. However, each woman will have a different set of standards to a degree.
Specifically, regarding the incision:
- As long as the cut and incision are closed then your doctor will most likely allow you to remove the bandages and shower. Water will help clean the cut area which can help avoid infections.
- If you can take showers you want to let a very basic soap and water run over the area. You should not scrub the area down as this could possibly reopen the area and cause the area to later get infected.
- You will not be able to soak in baths or go swimming until the doctor approves this.
- As mentioned, using over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by your doctor can help manage the pain.
- Also mentioned, a heating pad can help with any remaining cramping.
C-Section Recovery Risks
C-sections are so common now that they are practiced often and are deemed to be relatively safe with minimal risks for the mother and very few risks for the baby. Here are some of the risks you may encounter upon having a c-section birth.
Major surgeries always post the potential issue of blood clots forming in the mother’s pelvic area or legs. When the blood clots break off and travel to the lungs it is called pulmonary embolism. This is the most commonly feared issue with c-section procedures.
Another risk that can happen is the mother losing too much blood. This can be an emergency during labor or through the cutting and incisions made during a c-section.
While this is minimized if the mother has received anesthesia before however for those who haven’t it is always possible to have an allergic reaction.
It’s possible to develop an infection as noted if the area isn’t properly cared for after the cut is secured by staples and stitches.
Injury During Surgery
While unlikely it is possible to have an injury to your bladder or intestines during the operation.
Potential Risk For Future Pregnancies
C-sections may pose complications for future pregnancies if you were to experience one of the other risks such as hemorrhaging, surgical injury, etc.
Risk For The Baby
The risk for the baby compared to the mother Is minimal. Some include the possibility to develop breathing issues or the potential for small surgical injury.
C-Section Recovery FAQs
Even with all the tips and tricks to recover for your c-section, there is so much that a mother would like to know before their body goes in for this type of surgery. Some mothers may even want to know how much or little control they have in whether they can or have to get one.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to c-sections.
What Are Some Of The Things You Can Do To Prepare For C-Section?
There are so many great things you can do to start preparing for your c-section if you know it’s coming. In the event of an emergency c-section, you won’t have the opportunity to prepare. The first step, however, is reading like you are now!
Here’s what you should be doing.
- While your doctor will tell you this, no solid foods eight hours before the scheduled c-section. You also should refrain from liquids. This can help reduce any vomiting that may occur.
- The night before a doctor may recommend showering with a special soap. It will help kill bacteria and help with preventing infection after the surgery.
- Do not shave. This can open nicks up to any possible infection.
- Take your vitamins! This can get you a head start on managing your hair, skin, and nails for post-delivery.
Are C-Sections Something I Can Request?
Doctors will always recommend vaginal birth for those who have low-risk pregnancies because of the risks that can come with a c-section surgery. C-sections can also complicate future pregnancies so if it is not necessary doctors do not recommend it.
When Is A C-Section Scheduled?
This depends but most doctors and health care providers will recommend having a c-section planned for after 39 weeks because before can cause an increased likelihood for complications.
This may be surprising to mothers considering a baby is full-term after 37 weeks.
The most important part of understanding c-section recovery is reading and learning about what you need to do to prepare and what you need to do for the aftercare. A c-section is an intense surgery and for you to recover quickly.
Understanding that your body will have pain and cramping just like you would when having an intense period is important. Especially knowing that it can take the body several weeks to get rid of the fluids built up during pregnancy.
Things like heating pads and over-the-counter medication approved by your doctor can make the aftercare process a lot more comfortable. Once the cut has closed you can take warm showers with mild soap to help keep the area clean and prevent infection. However, you are not allowed to go swimming or relax in the bath quite yet.
These are just some of the little things you should know that can have a big impact on your recovery.