C-section patients typically stay in the hospital for several days before being discharged. Once you arrive home, you will be tired and sore; therefore, you will need help taking care of the baby and yourself.
There are two types of C-section incisions in deliveries. One is a traditional cut, made just below the navel and down close to the pubic hair. The cut is generally six inches down and one-eighth inch wide unless the baby is a big bundle of joy. The other cut is called the “bikini” cut. This is a four-to-five-inch horizontal incision made over the area where the pubic hairline begins.
While hospitalized, a woman is treated with prescribed pain medications. Your C-section will feel numb and sore. The incision area will be puffy and angry looking. But you will feel better each day you spend in the hospital.
Nurses will come by and instruct you on how you should laugh, cough or sneeze. You will be encouraged to get out of the hospital bed and move around to move your legs and feet. These instructions are required to help your circulation and to prevent the development of blood clots.
Always Ask for Help
First, you will need the help of family, friends, or a home-care assistant. You will be sent home with a pain medication prescription if you are not breastfeeding.
Basics of C-Section Recovery Care
Your incision will remain tender for several weeks. New moms must keep their cut area clean and dry. Surgical cotton pads are best to use, along with antiseptic ointments suggested by the doctor.
Your physician will inform you about symptoms that could occur related to your incision. This includes swelling, oozing, extreme pain, a fever that lasts longer than a day, an odor, vaginal discharge, and/or a urinating burn or blood in the urine.
Do not wear clothing that will squeeze or fit atop your baby-scar. Wear loose undergarments and outer garments. Rest is important for your recovery, but your physician will also encourage you to walk occasionally in the presence of someone.
You will notice that your incision site is shrinking from one-eighth inch to one-sixteenth of an inch. You can tell you are healing because your abdomen will start to itch. Your abdomen will remain tender, so lifting anything heavy is frowned upon.
Can I Breastfeed?
Can you pick up the baby? Yes, but gingerly. Your recovery will take anywhere from six to eight weeks before you can start a routine. If you are breastfeeding, hold the baby like a football, or lie down with the baby.
A football hold is placing the baby at your side while supporting the baby’s head and its back resting on your forearm.
Feeding the baby on the side means that mom should lie on her side with the baby facing her so that the baby can latch onto the nipple. Remember, if you are too tender, call on the people around you to help.
Look for Signs
Further symptoms may appear while you are recovering at home. Some contractions, like cramps, may occur. These are called “afterpains.” Not to worry, this is normal.
Another symptom is that your breasts will be tender whether you are breastfeeding or not. If you are breastfeeding and your breasts are too tender or enlarged, consult with your medical specialist.
What is important to remember is that you will likely experience postpartum depression. No matter the method of birth, the new mom will traditionally go through this phenomenon for a few days.
You Will Heal—That’s a Promise
Adding to the changes that your body has gone through, you will not be in tip-top shape for several weeks. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up that you must depend on others to help you and the newborn. Be patient, and before you know it, you will be running around the house changing diapers, handling feedings and enjoying your new baby.
It is very important for mom and baby to keep all their scheduled appointments. Mom, at your consultations, tell the OB/GYN everything and ask questions as the doctor is examining your incision, vagina, uterus, your emotional health, your sleeping habits, and more. After all, if mom is not happy, the baby will not be happy, and no one will be happy.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.