How to Heal Well From Your C-Section

How to Heal Well From Your C-Section

In 2020, nearly 32% of live births in the United States were delivered through cesarean section (aka C-section). Although vaginal birth is usually preferable, sometimes it’s not medically possible.

In the past, once you had a C-section birth, all subsequent births had to also be by C-section. That’s not the case anymore. In fact, in 60-80% of cases, women can have a vaginal birth after C-section.

If you do need a C-section, however, you must take extra care of yourself after your birth. Even though C-sections are safe, they’re still major surgery that causes trauma to your body. 

At Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, our expert OB/GYN, Dr. Rafiq Mian, and our entire team want you to heal well and fully from your C-section. Below, we share a few tips to help you do so.

Prepare for the long haul

Recovering from a C-section usually takes about six weeks in total. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll feel as fit and vigorous as you did before your pregnancy. It just means you’ve healed enough to return to most daily activities.

During that six-week period, it’s essential that you refrain from any kind of sexual activity, heavy lifting, vigorous workouts, and household work. Don’t try to work from home, either. Healing takes a lot of energy, and you’ll need it all for your recovery and your baby.

Stay in the hospital for a few days

When you give birth vaginally, you usually return home within a day or so. But a C-section is more traumatic for your body. Your doctor and the hospital staff must monitor your condition to be sure that you don’t develop an infection and that your incision is healing on schedule.

Expect to stay in the hospital for 2-4 days. Don’t worry, though: You get plenty of time with your baby. In fact, while you're in the hospital, the nurses can help you learn how to breastfeed your infant.

They also help you take your first postsurgical steps. It’s important to take it easy and rest after surgery, but it’s also important to be mobile as soon as possible. Gentle walks actually help your body heal.

You also get the pain management you need while in the hospital. Your abdominal muscles will be weak and tender due to your incisions. 

Get help for the first few weeks

You won’t be able to do any housework or even much baby care, other than nursing, for the first few weeks. Make sure you arrange for friends, family, and other caretakers to make meals, clean the house, and help with the baby.

Spotting and light bleeding is normal. Wear sanitary napkins to catch blood and blood clots. If you soak through a pad every hour, however, or pass clots larger than a golf ball, contact us immediately.

Be sure to walk around as much as you can, without lifting anything heavy. Use over-the-counter pain medications and a heating pad to handle any discomfort.

Also be sure to keep your incisions clean and dry. Follow our aftercare instructions carefully.

Even though your focus may be on your baby, be sure to “mother” yourself, too. Eat healthy, whole foods and drink plenty of water to stay nourished and hydrated.

Come for your postpartum visits

About two weeks after you’ve returned home, you come to see us so Dr. Mian can inspect your incision site. However, don’t wait for a visit if you have symptoms such as:

Your full recovery will take at least six weeks. You’ll probably need assistance with your baby and with household tasks until then. And be sure to come to all of your follow-up appointments. 

Also let us know if you feel down or blue. Postpartum depression is common, but it can be a serious complication. 

Let yourself recover

Even though you may consider yourself strong and healthy, give yourself the full six weeks to recover before attempting to return to your normal routine. That means taking time off from work and from housework.

Also, don’t blame yourself or feel discouraged if you need longer than six weeks. Each person heals at a different rate. A cesarean is not an easy or quick surgery to recover from. 

We let you know when it’s safe to return to activities. However, if you don’t feel quite up to speed, it’s OK to slow down. Just be sure to take your daily walks, eat healthy food, and listen to your body.

Do you think you might need a C-section for your delivery? Contact us by phone at our office in Silver Spring, Maryland, or use our online form to book a consultation today. 

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