As wonderful as childbirth is, it takes a heavy toll on your body, particularly if you delivered your baby via C-section. A C-section is major surgery because your OB/GYN must cut through skin, muscle, and your uterus itself to deliver your child, and you may require up to eight weeks to heal from it.
Rafiq Mian, MD, an expert and compassionate OB/GYN, has delivered hundreds of babies safely through C-section. He and our entire team at Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, want your C-section recovery to be as smooth and uneventful as possible.
Prepare yourself mentally for a recovery period so you can better deal with the physical discomfort and the emotional upheaval, too. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for recovery after a C-section.
Prepare for a hospital stay
If you have a C-section, you and your baby remain in the hospital for 2-4 days to be sure you’re strong enough to go home and don’t develop an infection. They also help you get out of bed and start walking as soon as possible to prevent blood clots.
The hospital staff ensure that you’re eating and drinking enough to regain your strength. Staying hydrated is particularly important, because you lost blood during your operation.
Best of all, the nurses give you time with your baby for bonding. They also help you with breastfeeding, showing you comfortable positions that put the least stress on your incisions.
Give yourself permission to heal
Most of your recovery takes place at home. You may feel frustrated at how long your recovery period is, but your amazing body is doing the important work of healing your incisions.
You may want to arrange for help with housework during your entire recovery period. If your partner can’t help, make arrangements with family and friends to step in, or hire a caregiver. You need assistance with meals, housework, self-care, and baby care, too.
Avoid excessive activity, including sex, until we tell you it’s safe to do so. You‘ll need to let someone else drive for the first few weeks after a C-section.
Even though your incision may be fully healed after two months, you could still experience some soreness or stiffness for weeks or months afterward. Listen to your body and gradually add in strengthening and stretching exercises that help you regain full mobility.
Expect a few side effects
You may experience vaginal bleeding, sore breasts, and cramps during your recovery period. However, if you soak through more than one pad per hour or if you pass large blood clots, contact us right away.
You can take over-the-counter pain medications to manage any discomfort you have. Try to avoid making twisting movements, which puts stress on your incisions.
Don’t lift heavy objects. Have someone help you pick up your baby or put them in your arms until you can pick them up comfortably. Wear an abdominal binder to help you feel more comfortable and give your core extra support.
Take care of your incision
Keep your incision clean and dry. You can take a shower as soon as the hospital releases you to go home. Gently wash your incision with mild soap and water. Be sure to gently pat and dry your incision with a towel. Don’t take a bath, go swimming, or use a spa until we give you the all-clear.
Don’t be surprised if you’re blue
You may be disheartened that you feel depressed in the weeks after giving birth. The “baby blues” are a normal stage that many women go through as their hormones shift.
However, if you feel excessively sad you may have a serious mental illness called postpartum depression. Contact us immediately if you have thoughts of self-harm or of harming your baby, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
See us regularly
Be sure you keep all of your postpartum appointments. During your consultation, we evaluate your health and your baby’s health, too, and answer any questions you may have about self-care and baby care.
Between appointments, call us if you experience:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Excessive pain
- Large blood clots
- Extreme depression, sadness, or hopelessness
- Pus or bleeding at the incision site
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or breast pain
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Painful or swollen legs
With care and preparation, your C-section recovery should go smoothly. If you have questions about your pregnancy or about post-delivery C-section care, contact us at Mian OB/GYN & Associates. Call us or use our online booking form.