The Healing Process After Delivery
With today’s modern medicine options, there are many ways a woman can deliver a baby safely. In some cases, a cesarean delivery (c-section) is the best option for keeping both mom and baby safe and healthy. C-sections are extremely common, with almost one-third of women having the procedure each year. While sometimes a lifesaving option, the surgery, like any other procedure, requires recovery time.
Focus on rest
Resting after a c-section can be challenging for many moms because there is suddenly a new baby to take care of. But a c-section is a major surgery. Just like any surgery, rest is critical for proper recovery. After the procedure, most women will recover in the hospital for 3-4 days afterward, or possibly longer if there are any complications or health concerns. Women should expect to continue resting for up to 6 weeks after that to allow the body to heal.
Walk when you feel up to it
Women should not resume intense exercise routines for at least 6 weeks after a cesarean. If a woman feels able, however, doctors may recommend taking gentle walks. Walking can be a mood booster and can help prevent blood clots. Some moms may enjoy meeting up with friends and pushing the baby in the stroller. This can provide social connection as well as mood improvement and physical exercise.
Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable
Women can start breastfeeding immediately after a c-section. However, the process may be a bit awkward at first. In addition to consulting with a lactation specialist, some positions that usually work well include the football hold and the side-lying hold. In the football hold, the baby lays on mom’s forearm. In the side-lying position, mom and baby both lay on the side facing each other. These strategies can be a bit more comfortable when healing from a cesarean delivery.
Recovery is emotional, too
C-sections are often lifesaving interventions that keep both mom and baby safe. While this is a good thing, some moms can feel emotional after having an unplanned c-section. Women should not ignore these emotions. Processing the birth experience with a trusted friend, partner, or counselor can make a big difference in a woman’s recovery. Women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Caring for a newborn is an overwhelming task and the help of family members and friends goes a long way.
Bringing home your baby
Bringing home a new baby is an exciting, joyful, and often overwhelming time. Healing after a c-section takes time, both physically and emotionally. Women should consult with a healthcare provider regarding healing and recovery after labor and cesarean delivery.