Recovering From a C section

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What is a C section?

A Cesarean delivery, or C section, is a medical procedure where birth takes place by way of an abdominal incision rather than vaginally.

After the surgery, the mother is wheeled into a post-operative recovery room and monitored until the anesthesia wears off which can take from two to four hours. During this period, her vital signs are carefully monitored and the firmness of her uterus is periodically checked. She may be given pain medication through an IV during the first 24 hours of recovery.

Recovering from a C-section once leaving the recovery room is not as easy as recovery from natural childbirth. After a C section delivery, mothers may be kept in the hospital for 3 to 5 days, or sometimes as long as a week, depending on how well they respond to the medical care.

Home Recovery

If you have had a C section, expect a hospital stay of up to one week or until your pain has lessened and you are comfortable and secure walking without assistance. This does not necessarily mean that you are completely recovered and can pick up your regular activities. There is still a period of about two to three months of recovery during which you should limit certain activities.

During this time, you need to continue taking any prescribed medications as you may still be quite sore incision site and your uterus is still in need of healing. She may also experience varying degrees of weakness which can last for several weeks.

Oxycodone is usually the pain medication given to mother immediately following a Caesarean birth. As the need for Oxycodone lessens, Hydrocodone is usually prescribed. Both thse drugs are addictive for both you and baby, and your doctor will advise you to move on to Ibuprofen quickly, especially if you are breastfeeding. Acetaminophen, also a safe drug for breast feeding mothers, is the final drug prescribed in the post-operative tapering-off process of medications.

You should abstain from sexual intercourse and strenuous activities for at least the first six weeks following your return home.The incision will still be tender, and you may experience menstrual cramps and bleeding as your uterus contracts. You will also need to avoid lifting, especially things that are heavier than your baby.

You may find that you need extra help around the house during this time, especially if you have other children to take care of. The doctor will advise when can return to return to the hospital for removal of any staples or stitches, usually after about a week at home, unless stitches that dissolve were used to close the incision.

Unusual Symptoms

Some mothers recovering from a C-section may experience unusual symptoms. You may experience extra vaginal bleeding long after it should have stopped. If the bleeding appears to be heavier or bright red after four to five days, you should contact your doctor. There may also be signs of infection, like fever, or increased redness at the incision site. Red, swollen, painful calves could be signs of blood clots. If any of these symptoms are prolonged or severe, contact your doctor or seek medical help immediately.


baby center

Recovering from a Cesarean Delivery.


What to Expect After a C-section