Coming Home After a C-Section

Coming Home After a C-Section

29 May 2023

Let’s get real: When it comes to childbirth, there’s no easy way to have a baby.

But if you had a C-section, whether it was planned or unplanned, the postpartum period may prove to be even more challenging. After all, you will not only be caring for a newborn, but you’ll also be recovering from major surgery.

So mama to be, here’s what you can expect after your C-section:

  • Vaginal bleeding. Yup, even if you didn’t experience vaginal labor, some vaginal bleeding is totally normal. This is actually part of the healing process of the uterus. However, if you’re not bleeding, or if you’re bleeding through a pad every few hours for several weeks after birth, let your doctor know. What shouldn’t bleed is your incision. It should take up to six weeks for the wound to heal and during this time, it will likely be tender. Be sure to call your doctor if you develop a fever or if the skin surrounding the incision turns hard or red, starts oozing green or puss-colored liquid, or becomes painful, as these could be signs of infection.
  • Swelling in the face and extremities can be chalked up to the IV fluids during surgery and post-pregnancy hormones. This should subside after a week or so.
  • Keep it under control by taking your prescribed pain medications or it will hit you like a ton of bricks. There’s no gold star for avoiding pain meds!
  • A combination of hormonal shifts, weaker stomach muscles, and spending lots of time lying down can lead to constipation. Drink plenty of water, eat fiber-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, or ask your doctor for a stool softener if the situation persists.
  • Breastfeeding difficulties. Having a C-section is linked to a higher risk of breastfeeding difficulties. A lactation consultant could be of help here.

Taking care of yourself post-birth is as important for the baby as it is for you. You’ll be sore and your mobility will be reduced, so small things like an extra-long phone cable can make sure mum doesn’t have difficulty when reaching for her phone, whilst a long bendy straw means she can drink without having to sit up.

Buy comfortable high waisted cotton pants that are high enough to cover your C-section wound before going to hospital, and get a few maternity bras – you may find these more comfortable than underwired bras, whether you plan to breastfeed or not.

Also, stairs might be a problem too, so decide beforehand where you and baby will be sleeping. And see to it that baby items are close to your bed so you could reach them without having to get up.

Be sure to prioritize your recovery by getting enough rest. True, this could be nearly impossible with a newborn, but accept (and ask) help from family and friends. Line up a meal train and freeze whatever you can to make mealtimes easier. Schedule visitors to watch the baby while you take a shower. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to hold (and smell) a precious baby for a while?!

Good luck on this incredible journey!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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