A cesarean delivery is one when the baby is delivered by a surgical procedure with an incision made in both the mother’s abdomen and uterus in order to remove the baby as easily as possible. It is considered major abdominal surgery and a six-week healing period is suggested.
What are ways to help with the healing process?
- Rest daily, if possible. Do not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first two weeks.
- Make sure to support your abdomen and hold your abdomen near the incision when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
- Use pain relievers if in pain. A heating pad might help and keeping a pillow on your lap protects your incision and also insulates the area. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are fine to take to relieve pain and you can take them and still safely breast-feed your baby.
- Plenty of fluids. Drink lots of fluids (especially water) to replace the water you lost during delivery, to help with breast-feeding and to reduce the chance of constipation.
When should I contact my OB/GYN?
- If your incision is red, swollen, leaking or feels hot.
- If you have a fever of 100.4F or higher.
- If you develop pain or have increasing pain at your incision.
What else can I expect during pregnancy recovery?
- Even with a c-section, you will have a vaginal discharge (called lochia). It will be a bright red heavy flow for the first few days, and it will gradually change to pink, brown, yellow or white. It should be gone after the first month post-partum.
- You will also experience contractions – or after pains. They can feel like menstrual cramps and they compress the uterine blood vessels to help prevent excessive bleeding.
- Sore breasts. If you are breast-feeding, nurse use warm washcloths or ice packs on your breasts. If you are not breast-feeding, wear a very supportive, well fitting bra to help stop milk production.
What about breast-feeding after a C-section?
Breast-feeding your baby can start right away. To help with discomfort you might want to try the following:
- Football Hold: Just like it says, hold your baby in the crook of you arm with your elbow bent. Use your open hand to support your baby’s head. Keeping a pillow on your lap may make this more comfortable.
- Side Hold: Lie on your side and hold your baby facing your breast. Using your free hand, guide your breast to your baby’s mouth.
- If you are having difficulty or concerns, always consult a lactation specialist. Your OB/GYN should have resources for you.