In recent years we’re seeing more and more women having a c-section. According to CDC statistics, the number of cesarean deliveries in the US in 2019 was 31.7% of all childbirths. In contrast, in 1997 the proportion was about 21%. What is it about?
First off, there are situations when C-sections are mandated, such as prolonged labor, abnormal positioning, fetal distress, repeat caesarian, etc. Besides, some women choose to give birth this way. In the case when there are no medical reasons, it is called elective caesarian, and women choose it when possible because it allows them to have more control over childbirth. Some also feel that it is simpler, safer, and pain-free.
Whatever is the reason, you must know that it is a major surgical procedure, and there are big differences between postpartum care after classical childbirth as well as after cesarean section care. We received a lot of questions about it and decided to research as much as possible about c section postpartum care.
What Happens During a Caesarian and How Should It Heal
We are sure that most of you out there know that Cesarean or C- section is a surgical procedure designed to take the baby out of a mother’s belly. The surgeon/obstetrician first makes a little incision on the abdominal wall. The next step is to open a uterus. This cut breaks the amniotic sac which surrounds the baby. When this is ruptured, the surgeon can take out the child, remove the placenta, and cut the umbilical cord. After the initial exam, the baby is given to the mother for first skin to skin contact.
The procedure usually lasts about one hour (typically 45 minutes), depending on whether there are some complications or not. Usually, women are released from the hospital after two to four days, but the whole postpartum recovery after C-section can take up to 6 weeks. During this period, there are plenty of dos and don’ts after c section that women need to know about.
Main Dos and Don’ts
While in hospital, doctors and nurses often give more or less clear guidelines on restrictions after the cesarean section. Sometimes though, many women and their partners find it challenging to memorize everything they are allowed to do and what not to do after c section. Plus, there is a mix of stress and excitement after the delivery. That is why we decided to make this list of dos and don’ts after c section, which will provide you with all the necessary information.
Recovery from C-section is not going to be easy. Since it is a surgery, you need to be prepared to make all sorts of adjustments for several weeks, sometimes even months. In the first few days after the procedure, you will be advised not to move, and the catheter will be inserted. After two or three days, you will be allowed to walk a bit.
- Walk slowly and for a short period of time. It’s better that your partner or friend accompanies
- Take pain medications whenever you need them
- Try to pass gas as much as possible
- Make sure that you lift your baby and nothing else. If you want to be sure about proper c section incision care, then don’t lift anything heavy for several weeks, at least
Products That Can Help
After any abdominal surgery, including the cesarean, it is expected that you feel quite a bit of pain (some studies found that 60% of women have some pain in the incision even 6 months after delivery). There is no need to endure it – take pain medication whenever you need them. Doctors most commonly prescribe Motrin, which contains Ibuprofen, which proves to be an excellent pain killer. For those who are looking for natural alternatives, we recommend that you try Arnicare tablets.
Logically, you will want to come back to your activities after childbirth. But, bear in mind that even after vaginal birth, it is not so simple, let alone after a C-section! Let’s see what you should and shouldn’t do in the first weeks!
- Spend time with your little one, holding them while sitting comfortably
- Try to go for short but frequent walks as this prevents the formation of blood clots
- Shower as usual
- Avoid any kind of exercise except walking during the first six weeks, at least
- Don’t use tampons! Try using postpartum pads
- Don’t have sex until your OB/GYN tells you its okay
Products That Can Help
It is quite likely that you will have a hard time going to bed and getting up from the bed. If you don’t want to bother your partner each time you want to move, the best thing is to get a support pillow. That will make everything much simpler for you. Additionally, to function as comfortably as possible during these first weeks, consider purchasing a maternity belly wrap and girdle.
Many mothers don’t think about diet after c section at all. However, there are a lot of things that you should not eat after c sections because they cause gas and constipation. Let’s see foods that are good for you and those that you need to avoid.
- Low-fat dairy products, beans, dried peas, sesame seeds, etc., are an excellent source of proteins and minerals
- Whole grains are packed in carbs that provide you with the energy you need during the day. They are also rich in fiber, folic acid, and iron
- Veggies and fruit that are rich in antioxidants
- Easily digestible foods, such as soup
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Limit caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid pickles, dal, chickpeas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions
- Avoid ice cream and other cold foods
- Avoid junk food
Products That Can Help
It can be frustrating when you drink only water for weeks. But you don’t have to limit yourself only to water. You can drink herbal tea or coconut water instead.
- Cover the incision with something fluffy and soft when you cough or laugh
- Make sure that the incision is dry and clean
- Wash it carefully with soapy water each day. Make sure to dry it well
- Purchase good quality maternity underwear
- Don’t use shower gels or creams
Products That Can Help
Sometimes you additionally may want to protect your scar. Your doctor can help you, explaining how to use ScarAway strips. This is an excellent part of a postpartum care kit because they are made with skin-friendly silicone fabric, and can protect the scar and stimulate healing.
Babywearing After C Section: Essential Tips
- Before deciding on babywearing, consult your doctor
- Then follow your instinct. You know how you feel and when you are ready to carry the baby in a carrier
- Start by doing it for a short time in the beginning and then gradually increase
- Try different carriers to see which one is more comfortable
- Don’t force yourself
When to Call the Doctor?
Pregnancy and giving birth brings a lot of changes to the body and mind. Therefore it’s perfectly normal to feel all the things you are feeling after birth, and particularly after something like a C-Sec. Still, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms below, consider consulting your doctor:
- Depression, sadness, hopelessness
- Fever or other signs of infection
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Severe belly pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Worsening vaginal bleeding (fresh blood, or blood clots)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Opening of the incision
- Difficulty peeing and pooping
We know that all these restrictions after c section can be quite annoying. However, it is critical to take proper care of yourself after childbirth. That is why we believe that you should try to memorize this list of dos and don’ts after the c section and try to stick to it for the first six weeks, at the very least.
- 1 What Happens During a Caesarian and How Should It Heal
- 2 Main Dos and Don’ts
- 3 Babywearing After C Section: Essential Tips
- 4 When to Call the Doctor?
- 5 Conclusion