Nervous about a second c-section? Or is this your first? Make no mistake, a cesarian or a c-section is major abdominal surgery and you need the best tried and tested recovery tips to bounce back!
I had two c-sections within two years and surprisingly, both experiences were unique. Yes, just like every human being is unique; every parenting style is different, so will the experience of pregnancy and childbirth as well.
Reasons for the C-sectionYour pregnancy may end with a c-section birth for these reasons:
- Baby's weird position.
- Placenta refusing to work as expected.
- Medical reasons such as heart disease, Herpes, Hepatitis-C or HIV.
- Labor too long/slow.
- Unsuccessful use of forceps or other instruments during vaginal birth.
- Umbilical Cord comes out first during vaginal birth.
- Distressed vaginal labor - what happened with me!
How will you feel after a C-Section Delivery?
After C-section, you may spend 2-4 days in the hospital for recovery.
Since c-section is major surgery, they don't offer solid food four hours before and after the surgery but compensate with fluids. Although the sugars in your body are more or less regulated with the fluids, your mouth is dry as a desert! My first c-section night was full of acidity terrors. Apparently, they forgot to give me an antacid before the surgery.
With spinal anesthesia or an epidural (which is also administered in the spine), you have to lay down straight for 12 hours, after the surgery. No sitting or turning on the side for 12 hours! This may trouble you for breastfeeding on the first day, but it doesn't make breastfeeding impossible. You can successfully breastfeed from DAY 1, within the hour of surgery even! The nurses help you change baby’s diapers, so all you have to do is lie down, rest, and breastfeed. Yay :)
Day 2I felt a little apprehensive about my stitches bursting open if I moved even a teeny bit, but that was just all in my head. Don't give in to those fears! Hope you also meet an upbeat, smiling, and encouraging physiotherapist who can guide and help you with:
- How to turn on your side
- Get on/off the bed
- Walk a couple of steps
- Exercises for your toes and legs - to do them every hour while you lay on the bed.
How can I get my C-section to recover faster?Since I knew what to expect with my second c-section, I was mentally prepared to win the DAY 2 battle. With credit card debts, no bank balance week 3 of the month, most times, we had no savings at the time. I prayed about this money problem a lot and God provided again! I healed quickly, made me walk tall and be comfortable in my surgery stitches on Day 2. The hospital bill EXACTLY the amount allowed on the insurance too! Read my article on how you don't need a bank balance to have children!
What happens in the First Few Days of c-section surgery
- Day 1 you are on a liquid diet.
- The next day you progress to semi-solid and then solid food.
- Day 3 they remove the urinary catheter so you can walk independently and take your first dump. Oh, how glorious that first dump would be!
- Day 4 pack up and leave! … unless advised otherwise.
- Put both your hands on your c-section scar area, every time you laugh, sneeze or walk.
- Faint Period-like bleeding, but may not be as heavy as a vaginal birth experience.
How painful is c-section recovery?
It won't be when you get plenty of rest. Resting doesn't necessarily mean sleeping all day, but you can laze around. Don’t get back to your daily chores immediately. If you have no help, doing the dishes, cleaning your house can wait. Enjoy your baby while you nurse and recover.
- A rich healthy diet and plenty of rest help to keep away the baby blues.
- Remove the dressing from your c-section scar within 10 days.
- Expect light bleeding for about a month - if it’s heavy bleeding then inform your doctor at once.
- Mood Swings.
How long can I walk after C-section?Traditionally, you won’t be allowed by traditional-good-intentioned family members to step out for a month or more. I would say, listen to your body, if you feel like going out for a walk, do it. If you feel like being alone in your room, do that. Want to see your friends? Call them over or go see them! If you want to recover soon and get back to normal life, you need to pray that God gives you the strength, and the will, to do it. Push yourself... but not too hard is all.
Feeling emotionally overwhelmed to be around many people.
All the hustle and bustle with the neighbors, friends, their kids, their questions, the smiling the nodding, the retelling of the birth story over and over again was overwhelming for me. That’s when I realized there could be some truth to what the elders were saying. Some said not to step outside because your body is vulnerable to “evil spirits”. No, I never believed that.
Feeling physically taxed to be out and about.
Breastfeeding burns 300-600 calories a day. That's why they say don't step out for 40 days after childbirth; think about it. Without adequate calorie intake, even a quick stroll around the park or the mall can get very tiring for you. So give yourself some space and time to recover right after childbirth. Use your discretion.
A quiet walk with fresh air did me a lot of good just a week or so after my c-section surgery. I took my new baby out too. Babywearing saves your sanity! More on this coming soon! Make sure your baby and you are dressed right for the weather.
Do and don'ts after C-section Delivery
- Wear a tummy tucking belt from Day 2 and wear it as long as you can (except during meals and bath time). I didn't bother with one after my first c-section and my belly remained big and flabby throughout the year! My baby belly #2 is going down surprisingly fast with a belt this time. Yay.
- Go for walks as permitted by your physiotherapist and doctor. You need the movement to help you recover faster.
- Sip on warm water. For the simple reason, that warm water never satisfies your thirst (like cold water does!) so you end up drinking more water. Drinking a lot of water is great for c-section recovery, breastfeeding or even otherwise!
- Consume hot and soft foods for the first 40 days, at least. It’s comforting and healing. Eat 3 full meals and 2 snacks, a day.
- Take your painkillers on time. I missed mine a few times right after I came home and that was a terrible, terrible mistake.
- Continue to take your prenatal vitamins - especially calcium and iron. You need them, particularly if you are breastfeeding and especially if you don't want to lose too much postpartum hair!
- Listen to your body and your intuitions MORE than what your mother or anyone else tells you.
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