After a Caesarean Section

Caesarean birth — also known as a C-section — is the birth of a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Although C-sections are sometimes planned due to pregnancy complications or previous C-sections, most first-time C-sections occur unexpectedly. C-Section patients typically stay five days in hospital before going home. You may find your recovery after a caesarean slower than that of other mothers. This recovery is similar to recovery from any major abdominal surgery.

The First Few Days

You may feel groggy and possibly nauseated right after surgery. Nausea can last up to 48 hours, but your doctor / nurse can give you medication to minimize your discomfort.

If you plan to breastfeed, you can start in the recovery room right after surgery. Ask the nurse to show you how to feed in the side-lying position or using the football hold so there won’t be pressure on your incision.

You may feel numbness and soreness at the incision site, and the scar will be slightly raised, puffy, and darker than your natural skin tone. Your doctor will keep a close check that the wound is healing properly. As the incision site continues to heal, your scar will become closer to your own skin colour.

C-section scars are usually very low on the abdomen. A low-lying scar will eventually be hidden by your pubic hair and probably way below the waistband of your underwear or bikini bottom. It might be itchy while it’s healing.
Soon after the C-section, you’ll be encouraged to walk with assistance. Getting up and moving around can speed your recovery and help prevent constipation and potentially dangerous blood clots.
In three to four days, your doctor will probably remove your sutures or staples. This takes just minutes, and you may feel a small pinch but no pain. After that, if all’s well, you’ll be sent home.

Some tips to help you along your recovery

  • Constantly check your incision. It’s important to keep it clean and keep a close eye on it so as to catch any inflammation, redness or discharge early.
  • As your abdomen will be tender from your incision, the stomach muscles will be of very little use to you for the first few weeks following your operation. You may need to use several pillows to support your body while resting. Holding your baby may also be difficult. Try resting your baby on a pillow on your tummy, as this can help reduce the pressure on your incision.
  • Take things slowly and don’t rush yourself as your body needs adequate time to heal properly.
  • Allow family and friends to help you with chores and caring for the baby.
  • Eat nutritious foods and high-fiber choices. The digestive system slows down post-surgery and it’s important not to become constipated.
  • Drink lots of water and urinate frequently.

Call your doctor if you have signs of an infection, including warmth, redness, or swelling at the incision site.